6 Biggest Mistakes Remote Job Seekers Make (And What To Do Instead)

Remote job search mistakes happen. And that’s okay. Remember, remote job searches are tough. You’ve got to keep an eye out for scams and compete with hundreds of applicants. Plus, there are so many terms unique to remote work that you have to know. Otherwise, you end up with an awful case of information overload and fail to make meaningful progress.

What’s a 2022 remote job seeker to do? First, don’t panic. The only way to fix mistakes is to know which remote job search mistakes you make. Then you can fix them!

So, if your job search is stalled read on. You may accidentally make these common mistakes that sabotage your search. But, don’t worry. Once you know what they are, you can easily fix them. And, the sooner you do, the easier your remote job search becomes.

1. You Don’t Have a Focus

There are a lot of benefits to remote work. Time and money saved are just two of the obvious ones. But, don’t forget about the all-important ‘happiness factor’ too! Studies repeatedly show that remote workers = happier workers. (I didn’t name this blog Work From Home Happiness for nothing).

Of course, the happiness boost and no daily commute makes remote work incredibly appealing. And, I don’t blame you for wanting to do anything and everything to land a remote role ASAP. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to stack the remote job odds in your favor.

Unfortunately, many enthusiastic remote job seekers opt for the wrong way. They declare they will do any job as long as it’s work from home.

don’t settle for any remote job. search for ones that you actually want to do.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re making perhaps the biggest mistake to job search success.

Remember, you are neither qualified for or interested in the literally thousands of remote jobs available at any given moment. For starters, you can’t position yourself as the perfect hire with this generalist approach. And, more importantly, you don’t have to settle to work from home. Instead, focus on jobs you’re qualified for and actually want to do.

Remember, remote job searches are not a numbers game. Job seekers are better off applying to fewer jobs that they are well qualified for and interested in doing. I call this determining your remote work type.

When you determine your type, your remote job search suddenly becomes more clear. With greater clarity, comes more progress. In job searches, progress = interviews & job offers.

2. You Look In The Wrong Places

Big-name job boards are great for local job searches. Remote job searches? Not so much. That’s because traditional job boards often list office jobs as remote-friendly when they’re not. Unsuspecting job searchers spend precious time and effort on a job application only to ultimately find it wasn’t remote after all.

Similarly, looking for remote work on sites like Craigslist or Facebook can be a waste of time too. Often, scammers will prey on job seekers here and promise work-from-home riches for a small upfront investment or fee. (More on that in a minute).

Of course, these aren’t real remote jobs from legitimate companies. They are nothing more than scams. Period.

I always recommend you stick to niche job boards and LinkedIn. If I can find literally hundreds of job leads on a handful of sites, you can too!

3. They Don’t Optimize Their Resumes

A single remote job can receive hundreds of applications. One recruiter can’t possibly sift through them all on their own.

That’s why most mid-size and large companies rely on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to do the heavy-lifting for them.

ATS is able to scan through hundreds of resumes in a matter of seconds and find the best matches for the job.

But, how does a computer know which applicants are a good fit and which aren’t?


That’s right. The ATS scans your resume for keywords. If yours has the right ones, you’re put in the ‘yes’ pile. If not, your resume is discarded and never even see by a real person.

Most remote job seekers do not optimize their resume. Instead, they send the same carbon copy out to every single job they apply to. Sure, they apply to dozens of jobs a day. But, in the end, they don’t get callbacks or interview requests. Remember, remote job searches are all about quality over quantity.

Yes, it takes longer to keyword optimize your resume. But, it pays off in the long run with a shorter job search and greater job offers!

4. They Don’t Prepare For Remote Work In Advance

Hiring managers want to know you’re ready for remote work BEFORE they hire you. That means you need to prepare in advance for remote work.

To do this, set up your home office. Make sure you have high-speed internet. Learn how to use common apps and tools like Google Docs and Slack.

The more you know about remote work, the better. In fact, during the interview process, you will get asked about your ability to work remotely. There are common interview questions specific to remote workers.

Prepare answers in advance to position yourself a great remote worker. A ready-to-go home office and knowledge of remote work is invaluable in your job search.

5. They Fall for MLM and Pyramid Schemes

We know how awesome remote work is. So awesome, in fact, that some people will do anything to kick their cubicle to the curb — including falling for MLM or pyramid schemes.

I’ve made it my mission to help job seekers avoid these work-from-home scams. Multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes rely on recruiting to make money. You pay a fee to get started and then try to recruit others.

99% of MLM sellers lose money according to the FTc.

The more people in your ‘down line’ the more you earn. Hence why those on the top are the ones that make money. Everyone else in the pyramid struggle to turn a profit as they endlessly recruit others.

There are a lot of #bossbabes on Facebook. They make their “business” seem like a dream. You earn a ton of money for little work. All you have to do is pay an upfront fee to get started.

Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is.

Please check out r/antimlm for more advice to spot and avoid pyramid schemes.

6. They Aren’t Organized

Job searches are tough. Remote job searches are harder. A remote job search can easily get away from you. The best way to combat this is to be organized.

Keep track of all the jobs you apply to. A simple spreadsheet can accomplish this. Note where you found the job, the position title, contact information and how you applied (ATS, direct email).

The average remote job search takes 5-7 months. In that time, you will apply to hundreds of jobs. It is impossible to keep track of them all in your head. Get in the habit of tracking your applications now. This simple step helps you feel in control instead of endlessly spinning your wheels.

You should also create an email address you use exclusively for job search activities. Gmail is free to use and comes with bonus apps that remote teams commonly use. You can even use this email address to receive job alerts. Now all your job search activities are conveniently housed in one (searchable) location.

Remote Job Search Mistakes

I know you don’t purposefully commit remote job search mistakes. Even still, these mistakes negatively impact your search.

Remember to always practice remote job search best practices:

  1. Focus Your Search
  2. Turn to Remote Job Boards
  3. Optimize Your Resume
  4. Be Remote Work Ready
  5. Avoid Network Marketing/Multi-Level Marketing/Direct Sales
  6. Get Organized

These best practices combat all the common remote job search mistakes. Soon enough, your diligence will pay off with interviews and job offers. Plus, you’ll land a remote role you actually want!

Don’t settle for just any work from home job. Find a remote role you’ll love. You’ve got this!



PS I use affiliate links throughout Work From Home Happiness. Please read my disclosure statement to learn more about them and how I use them 🙂

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