Work from Home

The Six Steps You Should Do to Get Hired Online

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You’re ready to take the leap! You decided you want to work at home. You have some killer skills under your belt. Now you’re ready to land a virtual job and start making some money.

So you start hunting for a work-from-home job that fits exactly what you’re looking for. You scour social media, blogs, and freelancer websites.

Then you find the one you’ve been looking for. And you’re ready to apply to your virtual job.

But wait! Do you know the six key steps you must do before you hit the application button?

If you don’t, no worries! I have your back on this.

Throughout my past years of in-person and virtual management, I’ve sifted through lots of application emails. As soon as I would post a job, emails would start flowing in.

Let me tell you: It takes a solid, well-written email to jump out at me and make me want to take a second look. Whether you’re applying for a basic work-at-home job for a handful of hours a month or for a full-time virtual management position, your first application email needs to steal the show.

So what’s the secret to applying to jobs that will make a manager perk up and move your email to the Heck, Yes folder?

Read on for the six imperative tips that make the difference between you getting hired within days of applying…or getting a “thanks, but no” email back instead.

1. Read the entire job posting before you start to apply.

I get it! You read the first line or two of the job posting, and it’s exactly what you’re looking for. YES!

So you skim over the rest of the posting before shooting an email over to the company’s contact email.

Don’t do that.

Please don’t.

One of the worst things you can do when applying to a job is to ignore a key part to the job posting. If you’re skimming, you’re sure to miss something important.

So be sure to read the ​entire job posting. And then read it again (even a third or fourth time won’t hurt). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an application email where the person didn’t even address their email to the right person. And then went on to skip over some of the important questions I had included in the job posting.

Sometimes employers will put a word in a job posting and ask applications to include that word in the email. It’s a simple way for managers to tell if an application will take time to read ​and follow instructions. (You’d be ​shocked how many people don’t add that word in their email!)

I know, it may seem a little rude that employers are trying to set a “trap.” But what it really does is help weed out the applicants who don’t pay attention to details and are likely to make preventable mistakes. That’s definitely not something you want your prospective employer to think about you.

Even if there aren’t specific questions for you inside the job posting, check to see if there are unwritten questions.

  • Does the job posting talk about specific hours of availability needed?
  • What skills are required?
  • Is a personality type mentioned (outgoing, diligent, etc.)?

If an employer has taken time to mention qualities or skills they are looking for in an applicant, it means they are important. Be sure to address how you meet those qualifications in your email. With that one step, you’ve made it super easy for your prospective employer to see exactly how qualified you are for the job!

Pro tip: Sometimes you will have questions you would like to have answered about the job posting. Don’t include your questions during your initial application. You don’t want to come across like you’re demanding info right off the bat. Send in your email as well as you can with the information the posting provided. Then add something like, “I’m excited to learn more about how I can help in this position!” before you close off the email. If the manager feels like you might be a good fit, they will provide opportunities for you to ask questions.

2. Write your application email specifically for the job posting.

If you followed the steps in the first point, this one should be super easy!

You don’t want to write a copy/paste-style of email. You know, the one where you’ve written that email to a few other jobs and have reused it over and over again.

It’s fairly obvious to catch.

An impersonal “Hey!” to start the email off with, instead of calling the recipient by name.

Talking about completely different topics in your email than what the job posting was about.

Very generically referring to the company — or even referencing a completely different company altogether.

Eesh.

That’s a surefire way to have your application immediately getting dumped in the Nope folder.

Look at it this way: if you are unwilling to take extra time (or detail) to personalize an email, you’re showing the employer you are unlikely to take extra effort if you were to get the job.

It ​does take some additional time to write a well-crafted email, especially if you are applying to several job postings. Sometimes applying to jobs can be an all-afternoon project. But consider this perspective. Which would you rather have? An afternoon of effort resulting in potential years (and ​thousands of dollars) at a job you love? Or knocking out several applications by “efficiently” copy/pasting over and over again…but never getting any results?

It’s an obvious choice! So buckle down, take some time, and put together a well-informed email that show you care. It’s worth it.

3. Be enthusiastic!

If you’re excited about the virtual job you’re applying for, don’t be afraid to show it in your application.

Pro tip: If you aren’t excited, don’t apply! You’re starting a new virtual career: be passionate about what you’re going to be doing! There are thousands of other jobs available online. Keep hunting until you find the one you are enthusiastic about.

A manager can receive an application email that mentions all the points in the job posting, but if the email seems cold or super ​blah, that email is going in the Maybe folder…if it even makes it that far.

That doesn’t mean you fake your excitement in an email. You can be professional but still show your passion for a job through an email.

One of my most memorable teammates I ever hired replied to a job posting with such a warm, enthusiastic email, it made it a total no-brainer to hire her. Even though it’s been years since her initial email, I ​still remember it for the excitement she exuded through it. That’s the kind of email you want to write — one that stands out because you’re genuinely excited for the job.

Pro tip: Unless the job posting asked you to put a certain subject line in your application email, craft an eye-catching subject that will garner more attention. Think about it: if the manager is getting a lot of emails, you want yours to jump out from the very start!

4. Keep​ the focus on the employer (instead of yourself).

This is probably the hardest part of writing an email…and the most common mistake I’ve seen come through applications.

One of a manager’s main focuses is to find someone who is a good fit for the company and the current team. That means they do not want an applicant who focuses only on themselves.

For example, an applicant emails in and talks all about how they really need this job to make ends meet. Or they dive into an epic tale of all their family or health problems. Or they go on (and on and on) about how awesome they are.

Or they even write in with a list of things they can’t or won’t do from the job posting. GAH!

That’s a giant waste of the employer’s time…and, as you can imagine, you don’t want to give your potential next manager the feeling you waste time and are infatuated with yourself.

An employer is looking for how you can benefit the company — so make it super easy for them to see that!

That means talk about your strong points, but tell ​why and how your strong points are a good fit for the company.

Research the background of the company, its goals, its motto. And then explain how you can help the company continue to grow and achieve those goals.

If you happen to know something positive or fun about the manager personally that you can relate to (maybe they’ve commented something in a social media group you’re part of with them), add that into your email (For example, you both love cats or you both are fans of the same football team.). This connects with them on a personal level (Managers are humans after all!).

Think about how ​you would like to have someone approach you. If you knew you would be paying that person for their services, how would you like their email to be to you?

Would you like them to talk forever about themselves on topics that have nothing to do with the job itself? Or would you rather read how their talents can specifically help ​you?

Finally, know what goes on inside a manager’s head before you hit send on your job application email. They have a ​lot to juggle to make a team and business run efficiently. If you know what they do and why they do it, you’re more likely to be able to speak to them exactly where they are at. You can show them how ​you can be the best employee for the job. (If you are needing some insight, check out More Than a Manager here.)

5. Read your email before you send it.

Now that you’ve read the job posting (several times!) and you’ve written your email, you’re just about ready to hit send.

But before you do that, be sure you’ve read through your email. Reading it out loud will be the best way to hear it as the recipient will read it. (And it’s the easiest way to catch missed words or typos too!)

Your application email is often the manager’s first time ever seeing or hearing about you. First impressions through email are ​so crucial. It’s the difference between getting an email back politely thanking you for applying…or one that asks you for an interview. The virtual manager is receiving a lot of emails for the job application. So you want yours to stand out!

One last thing before you hit send: Make sure your email is free of spelling and grammatical errors. In the virtual world, so much relies on written communication. If you are constantly making spelling and grammatical errors, it gives the impression you don’t care or you’re not attentive to detail. Sometimes poor grammar/spelling can even make it hard to understand what you’re trying to say — and that’s definitely the ​last thing you want to convey to someone you’re hoping will hire you.

Pro tip: Don’t add the recipient’s email address in until you are 100% ready to send. Avoid that dreadful feeling of accidentally hitting send before you finish your email!

6. Work on building up a good, solid reputation on social media.

Wait. I’m talking about sending in a job application and getting hired. What do your interactions on social media have to do with anything?

A lot!

After I weed out the emails that are definite nos, I’ll take the remaining ones and get on social media to see what kind of posts/comments an applicant has made. Now, I’m not saying I go stalking applicants all over their profiles. I don’t have time for that. And most likely neither do other employers.

But what is important is the presence you immediately have when you pull up your name on Facebook or Twitter.

The virtual world seems limitless (and in many ways it is). But when it comes to your reputation, it’s pretty small.

Many bloggers and course creators have Facebook groups specifically for their followers or students. As many bloggers often find talent right within their own community (or in fellow bloggers’ communities), the first place they check are their groups. What kind of comments/posts have the applicants made? Have they helped fellow students? Do they communicate effectively? Do they follow group rules? Are they friendly with their interactions? Do they ask a lot of empty questions, or do they seem to do their research before they ask?

It’s not uncommon for bloggers to ask for referrals or to check up on names before they invite an applicant for an interview. If you’ve been making a point to follow group rules, be friendly and helpful, and avoid gossip and harassment, you’re setting yourself up for a good review from someone you may not even know was noticing!

So make sure if you’re part of relevant social media groups that you’re contributing wisely and thoughtfully.

Okay, time to take this all in and think about it. We’ve covered a lot!

To recap,

  1. Read the entire job posting before you start to apply.
  2. Write your application email specifically for the job posting.
  3. Be enthusiastic!
  4. Keep​ the focus on the employer (instead of you​rself).
  5. Read your email before you send it.
  6. Work on building up a good, solid reputation on social media.

What’s your biggest challenge when applying for a virtual, work-at-home job?

Is it being genuine in your emails? Is it figuring out how to keep your email focused on the recipient? Is it checking your grammar/spelling? Let me know in the comments below!

If you need more, in-depth insight into how to work from home and land clients, check out Ditching the Water Cooler: The No-BS Course to Get Started Working from Home. This course takes the questions and guesswork out of getting your work-from-home business started. All in a no-fluff format.

You’ve got this!

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