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What to highlight in your cover letter when applying for a remote job

You might not have had a remote job before, but you’ve probably had some experience where you demonstrated what it takes to be a productive remote worker.

What to highlight in your cover letter when applying for a remote job
[Photo: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock]

If you’re just over office life, or you need to be home more to take care of an aging parent, or you don’t want to deal with a commute, then applying for a remote job might just be your best option.

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Problem is, you haven’t had a remote job before.

You shouldn’t let your lack of remote work experience stop you from applying for a remote gig. You can redesign your resume so that it highlights your ability to work remotely, but don’t stop there. Your cover letter is what can really seal the deal in order for you to get a callback for a job interview.

When you’re applying for a remote job, here’s what to include in your cover letter:

Your remote work experience

So we’ve already established that you might not have remote work experience. Or do you?

Think back to the various times in your professional (and personal) life in which you performed some sort of remote work. It might have been the time you volunteered for your child’s school and did fundraising from home. Or it could have been when you freelanced and wrote a story for your local newspaper. All of that counts as remote work and should definitely be included in your cover letter.


Related: Remote work is the “new normal” 

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Your ability to self-motivate

Think about what it takes to successfully work from home, and use your cover letter to discuss how you possess and/or have mastered these skills and traits over time (as long as that’s true!).

For example, if you’re very self-motivated, highlight that. In a home office environment, you may not have colleagues or a boss looking over your shoulder, reminding you about deadlines all the time. So you need to assure the employer you’re the type who won’t slack off when nobody’s watching.


Related: When remote work backfires, this is usually why 


Your communication skills

One of the biggest factors in being a strong remote job candidate is your ability to communicate frequently and effectively. So beyond staying in contact with a potential employer during the job interview process, you should highlight your communication skills in your cover letter.

Here you don’t need to cite remote job experience specifically; just offer a couple of instances that spotlight those strong communication skills. An employer wants to know that the job candidate he’s going to hire for a remote job won’t go MIA or be reticent to communicate, and by showing that you are a proactive communicator, that can go far in helping you land the job.


Related: This is what remote workers need most from their bosses 

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Your ability to problem solve

The thing about remote work is just that…it’s remote. Meaning there’s no boss there to stroll past your cube to check up on you, or find out ahead of time if there’s a problem brewing between you and another colleague. That’s why you should use your cover letter to show how you’ve handled problems at work in the past; maybe the company’s choice of software was sluggish and you did some research to find a better program that helped everyone’s efficiency. Mention a couple of instances in one short paragraph to help convince an employer that if a problem were to arise working remotely, you’d be able to solve it on your own, and if not, you’d be the first one to communicate the quandary to your boss.

Some job seekers simply regurgitate their resume in their cover letter, but that’s wasting a golden opportunity to truly convince an employer of why you’d be a great remote employee. So use that one page to show all the soft skills you have that make you an ideal candidate for a remote job, the experiences you have as well as the transferable skills, and that job could be as good as yours.


This article originally appeared on Remote.Co and is reprinted with permission. 

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