By Jillian Hamilton
Remote jobs are a hot search term — even in national security, thanks in no small part to workforce changes post-2020. But while many say they want to work from home some or all of the time, it doesn’t mean candidates know how to find a remote job. The candidate market may be hot, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to find the right job that fits you.
5 MISTAKES TO AVOID IN YOUR REMOTE JOB SEARCH
But if you’re in the market for a remote job and not finding one, you might be making some basic mistakes. Sometimes, you don’t have to overhaul everything — just make a few adjustments.
- Focusing only on the remote-side of the search.
When it comes to jobs, it’s really about lining up the right skills to the position. It may be tempting to apply for every and any remote job, regardless of whether or not you even want to do the actual work. However, if you want to go remote in national security, your best bet will be to keep your job search open to all requirements and focus on your specific skillsets. You may find that in a candidate market, cleared employers are willing to offer some hybrid options. You can narrow your search for specific remote jobs, but it’s important to keep your skillsets the key piece of the equation. Employers are most concerned with finding cleared candidates who meet the job requirements.
- Never changing your resume for the different jobs.
This isn’t a remote-only issue. It is a normal struggle for candidates, but it’s worth mentioning because it can have such a negative impact on the success of a job search. If you’re not adjusting your resume based on each job description, make that your first change you make. If you want the job, you have to connect the dots for recruiters, highlighting how your skillsets map to the job requirements. Don’t just blast your resume out to every opportunity without making adjustments.
- Searching remote jobs outside your geographical location.
When it comes to cleared, remote opportunities, the odds of having to make an appearance at the office or the client site are high. Unless the contract allows for billable travel, you will need to be close enough to commute in, sometimes at least once a week. Unless you have a personal SCIF at home or the contract has zero classified information that you will have to handle, then you should expect some in-person interactions will need to happen. Try narrowing down your search to opportunities that are at least a drivable distance from your home.
- Forgetting your network.
You build your network for many reasons, but one of the best times to lean on them is when you are job searching. Whether it’s to ask someone to review your resume or it’s to connect to a company that has remote openings, you have to remember to reach out. Asking for help isn’t easy for everyone, but every job search is made better when your network is involved. Don’t forget to reach out to recruiters as part of your network, as well as key associations in the industry. Those connections could be your ticket to answering emails in your comfy pants at home.
- Skipping your remote skills section.
You might not think this section is important, but you’d be wrong. If you want to have a remote job, you have to highlight how you are suited to it. Not everyone thrives or has the right skills to make the remote life work for them. Team communications and collaboration skills in a remote world need to be highlighted. How are you at tracking tasks? Don’t talk about how much easier working at home makes your personal and professional life. That shouldn’t be your reasoning for an employer to offer you a remote job. If you really want to land your next remote gig, you need to highlight on your resume your remote skills, as well as share that information during the interview too.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH REMOTE DEMANDS
Sometimes in national security, the remote jobs just aren’t there. But be sure that it’s because all the contracts are actually requiring 100 percent on-site support and not because you’re making some key mistakes in your remote job search. And you may need to be flexible on the amount of cleared remote work you can get. With federal agency offices opening back up, mask guidelines being adjusted and vaccine mandates on hold, more clients will be expecting more faces on-site. Being able to support the mission with a hybrid schedule is a win for the national security workforce.