How I Got a Full Time Remote Job in Two Weeks

In 2016 I decided to travel the world with a work and travel program similar to Remote Year. At the time I was working in an office but had convinced my manager to let me work remotely and travel with the program. With a remote job promised, I paid a $5,000 down payment for the program that would start in January 2017 and last for 12 months.

But toward the end of 2016 I became painfully bored with my job. I had also started a relationship with someone in my department that went south and it made teamwork uncomfortable. To escape the boredom and discomfort, I made a decision that many thought was irresponsible. I left my job without having another remote job lined up.

Leaving a current job without having a new job lined up is not unlike me. At the time of this writing I recently left another full time (remote) job before securing a new one. But the difference between now and then is that, in 2016, I had an expensive trip planned and didn’t want to abandon it. So I had to get a remote job fast. 

This new remote job would have to be interesting enough to inspire me and legitimate enough to fund my trip that would cost an additional $2,000 per month—plus expenses for food, drinks, events, and side trips that were not included in the program. To get a remote job like this as soon as possible I had to rethink my traditional approach to getting jobs. 

It usually took me about three months to get a legitimate non-remote job but it was already November. My trip was going to start soon. I couldn’t wait three months to get a full-time remote job. I only had a little money saved up and wanted to avoid a breakdown from financial stress and joblessness during my trip.

To get a remote job before my trip started, I took time to research the remote job market and used my skills as a direct response copywriter to optimize my resume and cover letter for interview conversions. This research and series of optimizations resulted in a simple remote job hunting process that I still use to this day to get remote jobs fast. I’ll show you how to copy that process in this post.

Note

In this Google Sheet (shown below) you can see that I started my full time remote job search on November 4, 2016 and accepted an offer just 14 days later.

How to Get a Remote Job Fast

Prerequisites

Before getting started it’s important to know why you want to work remotely and what kind of remote job you want to get. Having a good reason for wanting to work remotely—such as my reason for wanting to travel while earning a stable income—will motivate you to get a remote job as fast as possible.

An example of a reason that’s not motivating is cutting down on commute time. Working remotely is not for everyone so if you merely want to cut down on commute time you can apply to jobs closer to your home. Or you can find a good podcast to listen to during your commute.

As for knowing what kind of remote job you want, it’s important to only apply to one type of profession. For instance, I’m a content marketer so I only apply to content marketing jobs now. In 2016 I spent hours applying to non-marketing roles and convincing the hiring manager I was a good fit. Despite this effort, I never got an interview for a non-marketing job.

The point is this: pick one job title, be patient, and stick to it.

Action Step

Discover a motivating reason for wanting to get a full-time remote job. Choose a single job title to apply for.

Step 1: Find remote jobs

In order to get a remote job fast you’ll probably have to completely rework your resume and cover letter. You’ll also need to spend hours upon hours applying to remote jobs. To motivate you to do this it helps to see that full time remote jobs are actually available for your line of work. By browsing remote job boards at the start of your job search you can start envisioning yourself working remotely with a cool company.

As for tracking which remote jobs you’re interested in I find it’s best to use a simple Google Sheet. You can also update this Google Sheet with the status of your applications when you begin applying.

Action Step

Make a copy of this job tracking sheet. To make a copy, select File > Make a Copy. Then change the title of the sheet using your name and desired job title.

Where can you find full time remote job opportunities? Below are some of my favorite remote job boards that I’ve used to land full-time remote jobs.

Important

Don’t apply to jobs yet. Only do this after I show you how to create a compelling resume and cover letter in the following steps.

Action Step

Add at least five remote job opportunities to your job tracking sheet.

Step 2: Create a two-column online resume

To get a full-time remote job as fast as possible I knew I had to change my resume. Before applying to remote jobs in 2016 I was using a single-column resume that I created with Microsoft Word. It followed the best practice of being one page but it was plain and didn’t properly showcase my accomplishments and personality. You can view that resume here.

After moving my resume to an online service called VisualCV, not only did I receive more interviews but I started receiving compliments about the layout of my resume. The two-column template I used made my resume more engaging and easier for hiring managers to scan. The resume I use today is similar to the one I used to land my full time remote job in 2016.

Here is what makes this resume more effective than traditional resumes:

  • The two-column format makes it easy for hiring managers to scan.
  • It uses testimonials from my previous managers for social proof.
  • Employer names link out to pages like this that elaborate on my experience.
  • Many accomplishments link out to live projects I’ve completed.
  • I add direct links to samples of my work.
  • Most importantly, I focus on results rather than soft skills.

This last point is the most important because it was the reason I was able to get a full time remote job so fast in 2016. When I asked the startup founder who hired me why he chose me, he said it’s because my resume focused on results.

Action Step

Sign up for VisualCV and create a one-page resume using the guidelines in the bulleted list above. You can also use my resume for inspiration.

Step 3: Create an idea-first cover letter

The type of cover letter that gets me interviews at remote companies is not the type of cover letter I was taught to write in school. Hiring managers, especially those at remote companies, are looking for something different.

Every remote company that has hired me—including the one that hired me in 2016—is a company I sent an “idea-first cover letter” to. This type of cover letter leads with original, specific ideas about how you’d improve the company. It takes more time to create but increases your chances of getting an interview.

This is a show vs tell situation. For instance, an idea-first cover letter shows you are a creative thinker. It’s more powerful than saying “I’m a creative thinker.” It also shows you took time to research the company, which is important.

Here’s an example of messages you can expect to receive in response to idea-first cover letters:

I received this email from Austin, the CEO of a cool remote software startup, during a different remote job search.

You can view the email (i.e. cover letter) I sent to Austin here. However, the cover letter I sent to Austin is a bit long. Austin should have only needed to read it once. The cover letters I send now are shorter and more direct. They usually consist of two ideas for how I’d grow the company.

Below is the cover letter template I currently use. It’s shorter and even better at getting a response.

I recommend spending ten minutes on each cover letter. This should give you enough time to come up with two ideas. Maybe not great ideas, but that’s okay. What matters is that you’re differentiating yourself from other applicants.

Action Step

Apply to some remote jobs you added to your job tracking sheet using this idea-first cover letter template.

Note

I recommend writing your cover letters in Google Drive. Simply copy the cover letter template each time you write a new cover letter by clicking File > Make a copy.  Then rename it the following way: “Cover Letter – [Company Name]”.

Another Note

Write custom cover letters for jobs you’re really interested in. For jobs you’re only somewhat interested in you can use a generic cover letter. I’ll show you how to create this in the next step.

Step 4: Quickly apply to remote jobs

There are two platforms I use to quickly apply to remote jobs: Indeed and LinkedIn. I used these platforms in 2016 to gain a lot of initial traction in my remote job search and win interviews.

With these platforms you create a profile and then apply to remote jobs using your profile instead of your resume, usually in one or two clicks. Unlike job listings on remote-only job boards that take you to external application sites when you click on them, Indeed and LinkedIn let you find and apply to remote jobs on a single platform. This saved me a lot of time in 2016 and still does to this day.

With Indeed

To find remote jobs on Indeed, enter “Remote” in the location field. Then, in the search results, look for jobs with the snippet that says Apply with your Indeed Resume.

Click on the job listing, then click Apply Now.

Some job listings will require you to add a cover letter. Depending on your level of interest in the opportunity, create an idea-first cover letter or use a generic cover letter. If a job listing gives you the option to add a cover letter but does not require it, simply upload a generic cover letter.

For my generic cover letter I like to create a short bulleted list of my key accomplishments instead of five boring paragraphs. You can use this generic cover letter of mine as inspiration.

Action Step

Create a generic cover letter using mine as inspiration.

Action Step

Create an Indeed resume (i.e. Indeed profile) and apply to remote jobs that allow you to quick-apply with your Indeed resume.

With LinkedIn

To find remote jobs on LinkedIn, enter “Remote” in the location field on the Jobs page. Then, in the search results, look for jobs with the snippet that says Easy Apply. You can also use the filter so you only see remote jobs with the Easy Apply feature.

Select the remote job listing you’re interested in, then click Easy Apply to apply to the job. It’s really that easy.

Action Step

Complete your LinkedIn profile (here is mine) and apply to jobs with the Easy Apply option.

Important

Don’t add jobs you quick-apply to to your tracking sheet unless you 1) create a custom cover letter and/or 2) receive an interview request from the hiring manager. Not adding every job you quick-apply to to your tracking will save you some time.

Step 5: Apply to remote startup jobs on AngelList

AngelList is where remote-friendly startups list open jobs and information about their funding rounds. Because working remotely is more accepted in the startup world, there are hundreds of remote opportunities on AngelList.

Below I’ll show you how to use this job board and introduce yourself to founders, CEOs, and other hiring managers on the platform. I used AngelList to land a different full time remote job while traveling in 2017 and I’m confident it can work for you too.

To get started, sign up for a free account on AngelList and complete everything you possibly can in your profile. Use the same text you use in your resume when possible to save time. Here is my AngelList profile.

When you complete your profile, go to the Jobs page. In the left-hand sidebar of that page, select Actively Interviewing from the list of job search options under your name. This will let hiring managers at startups know that you’re open to talking about new opportunities.

In the job search bar at the top of the Jobs page, select a job title from the first dropdown menu that most closely matches your desired job title. Then select Remote Only from the other dropdown.

AngelList remote job search options

You can use additional search features to find remote work that matches your job requirements (e.g. minimum salary). You can also filter results by newest so you can be one of the first people to apply to new remote job listings. Applying early will increase your chances of getting an interview.

As for applying to remote jobs on AngelList, simply click the Apply button on the jobs results page and use the ideas-first cover letter template we used in Step 3.

Action Step

Create a free AngelList account and complete your profile using the same text you did for your resume. Then, find and apply to some remote jobs!

Get Flexible, Full Time Remote Work

I created a free remote job coaching service and community called Flexers that helps aspiring remote workers get hired as fast as possible. It includes a 12-lesson course, access to a private LinkedIn group, personal support from me, and more.

Learn more and sign up here.

4 thoughts on “How I Got a Full Time Remote Job in Two Weeks

  1. You neglected to mention a Significant Difference between now and 2016 in that we were not having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This in itself has had a huge impact on the job market. Although it appears to have resulted in many employees working entirely from home, given the number of furloughs and people who have lost their jobs, the pandemic doesn’t appear to have caused an increase in available remote job opportunities to say the least. What say you?

    1. Hey Marty. Thanks for bringing this up.

      I have not noticed a difference in the amount of remote job opportunities available now versus in 2016. But it’s not what you might expect. The difference is that there are many more remote job opportunities now due to companies making the switch to a remote workforce.

      Based on the conversations I’m having within my local community and with friends (I don’t pay too much attention to mainstream news), many employees being laid off or furloughed are in the service industry which is not remote to begin with. There are other industries like travel and dating that are affected. I mention some others here: https://igotpassion.net/remote-work-questions/coronavirus/

      That article will also give you a good idea of the types of companies that are aggressively hiring due to their business models that benefit from people working from home and using the internet more.

  2. Hi Robert,

    Thanks for the reply. On another note, in looking to apply for a job, I am wondering whether online websites like indeed.com, ziprecruiter.com, etc. are actually worth using simply because of the competition (allegedly very high in the hundreds if not more) and automated process often used to weed out job applications in narrowing down the number of applications/resumes that actually get to the person hiring much less read. As for alternative options, what do you think about perusing websites of a company that posts its job openings or careers on their site whereby one is able to apply directly to the company doing the hiring. Moreover, since most companies provide a contact phone and email address, a little research or a phone call may help to find out the name of the party in charge of hiring thereby allowing the applicant to personalize their resume cover letter with the actual name of the party who will presumably be reading their resume.

    1. Hey Martin! I love the way you are thinking. I have had a lot of success with Indeed but not ZipRecruiter. I definitely recommend using the former. I have received multiple interviews at some great companies for high-paying roles. I also recommend using lists of remote-first companies and applying directly on the company website. I just started putting a list like this together. You can view it here: https://igotpassion.net/remote-work-resources/remote-companies/. In terms of how to best use Indeed, I have some content on that here: https://igotpassion.net/remote-work-resources/.

Leave a Reply