Tips for Conducting a Job Search Remotely
With more than 11 million square miles of real estate, Africa is a massive continent. Whether you’re living in the continent or diaspora, if you’re conducting a job search, you’re probably applying for many jobs remotely. Fortunately, technology brings jobs and applicants closer together, bridging the gap until the relationship requires an actual in-person meeting. Use the tips below to conduct a job search from afar.
- Be honest with yourself. Are you willing to relocate or are you actually hoping for remote work? If relocation is on the table, consider the pros and cons as well as the financial and emotional costs that you and your family might incur. Bottom line: what will it take to get you to relocate? This could be a salary range, prestige, a certain location, educational or career advancement opportunities, and so forth. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as you have identified it. Once you know what your motivating factor is, you’ll be better able to focus your job search on companies able to satisfy it.
- Be honest with potential employers. Be open with employers, too. For example, if you want to work in Liberia so you can be close to your elderly parents, at some point in your conversation, bring that up. This can help counter any possible perceptions the hiring manager may have about you such as being overqualified for the job.
- Be selective and do your due diligence. Use a tool like NumberTrend to find out as much as you can about potential employers, company values, and organizational culture. Make sure the companies you target meet YOUR standards.
- Be approachable. Start with a professional profile photo that shows you in both a professional and approachable manner. This is not the time for profiles featuring cute animal pictures, funny memes, or political messages. Employers want to hire real people, and people who can represent their brand in a positive light. Imagine you’ve already landed the job. Which photo would you want to appear on the company’s website? If you don’t have a suitable photo, consider working with a professional photographer to get one.
- Be available. You might be half a world or several time zones away, but that shouldn’t stop you from connecting with hiring managers in Africa. Phone interviews, for example, will likely take place during local business hours. This may mean setting your alarm clock and preparing for a middle-of-the-night conference call. It’s helpful to download a world clock app and set the time to local time for your targeted companies.
- Be prepared for video conferences. After you’ve made it through preliminary phone interviews, it’s possible that secondary interviews will take place in a video conference. Fortunately, tools like Skype and browser-based video conferencing services are relatively easy to set up and use. Ask a friend to do a run through with you so that you can be sure your computer works with the service and that you’re comfortable with its various features. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you expect they’ll ask to see samples of your work, make sure you know how to use the screen- and file-sharing features of the service. You’ll also want to pay attention to the background as the web camera will show the room behind you. Try to find a neutral, uncluttered area in which to join the video conference and make sure that all family members and pets know to stay out of the room.
Finally, make sure you have a list of questions of your own. Not only are employers interviewing you to see if you’re a good fit for the company, you’re interviewing them to see if they are a good fit for you.
Most companies will pay travel expenses when it comes time for a final, in-person interview. At this point, you’ll know they’re serious. And, if you’ve followed the tips above, you should be able to accept or decline with confidence.