7 Reasons You’re Not Landing That Online Interview

Remote Job Hunting

To finally land the online interview you’ve been hoping for, stop making these 7 mistakes during your remote job hunt and use our pro tips to stand out instead.
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If you feel like landing an online interview in the remote job market has become a competitive sport, you’re not alone.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies are choosing to transition to a partially- or fully-remote workforce. And as they open their job ads to candidates worldwide, it’s not uncommon for posts to net over 250 applications. 

As if this competition isn’t enough of a challenge, eye-tracking technology shows hiring managers and recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether it belongs in the interview or rejection pile. That’s about as long as two deep breaths.

Since you don’t have much time to prove you’re the right candidate, your application must be compelling and unique to make it to the online interview round. That takes learning how to stand out among the sea of other qualified applicants and avoiding the most common mistakes. 

Fortunately, the tips in today’s guide should help you conquer both tasks like a pro.

7 Reasons You’re Not Landing that Online Interview

Let’s assume you’re perfectly qualified for the role you’re applying for (i.e., you have the right qualifications, skillset, years of experience, etc.). You may not land an online interview if:

1. You Don’t Know the ATS Password

Like we mentioned earlier, hiring teams are swamped with applications. So most recruitment experts use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help sift through the stack of hopefuls.

Hiring managers can program this software to pick up specific keywords relating to each job ad. If the ATS finds those keywords in your resume, it routes your application to a folder for a human reader. Resumes lacking these special keywords/passwords wind up in a folder similar to spam (i.e., where no one reads them).

The Fix: Perform keyword research for each position to make it past the ATS gatekeepers. Check the job ad description, and you’ll find keywords hiring managers use to describe their ideal candidates. Sprinkle these keywords naturally throughout your resume and cover letter so ATS picks them up.

2. You’re Not Using Resume Real Estate Wisely

When hiring teams do their initial scan of your resume, their eyes spend most of this brief window on the top third. Here’s where they’ll form their first impressions about who you are and what you bring to the table.

If you don’t captivate readers immediately here, you’ll never get them to continue reading the rest of your accomplishments and work history.
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The Fix: Consider the top third of your resume your own personal billboard. It should catch someone’s eye and inspire interest in who you are and what you may be able to deliver.

Besides using a modern resume template over the stodgy chronological resume format, make sure the top third of your resume includes:
  • Your name and job title/industry. Grab those keywords!
  • A personal branding statement. This should serve as an introduction and explain your unique selling points in a brief, memorable one-liner.
  • A career overview. These three to five sentences give readers an idea of your most significant professional achievements and strengths.
  • Relevant keywords. Consider adding a separate section to highlight your key skills/experience as they relate to the position. Use your keyword research to match up what they’re looking for with your skillset.

A powerful top-third pulls in hiring teams and makes them eager to see what else your resume has to offer.  Using a resume builder tool like CVStep will also help you nail this step.

3. Your Career History Is a Snoozefest

Okay, let’s say you nail the top third of your resume and pack this area with valuable intel. You don’t want to lose readers as they walk through your career history — you must keep them interested, engaged, and impressed.

If you only rehash standard job duties, use cliche resume phrases, or fill your resume with more fluff than cold, hard facts, you’re going to have a bad time. These don’t help you stand out and will instead bore hiring teams so used to seeing them.
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The Fix: Make your resume too interesting and intriguing to resist. Think about what sets your skillset/work experience apart from your competition. And don’t be shy! 

To craft an exciting resume that gets all the right attention:
  • Use active voice instead of passive. Cliche resume phrases, like “was responsible for,” are generic and often go ignored. Active language, such as “expanded market reach,” “pioneered development of,” and “strengthened customer loyalty,” deliver more impact.
  • Show, don’t tell. Hiring managers care more about what you’ve accomplished in your role than your actual job title. So don’t tell them you’re a marketing guru; show them how your campaigns have done with concrete stats (i.e., “slashed CPC by 60% and maximized ROI in three months”). Quantifiable milestones prove just how successful you are compared to other applicants.
  • Connect the dots to help readers see exactly how your experience makes you well-qualified to take on this new role’s challenges. Tailor your resume to each position you’re applying for; only highlight your most impressive skills/experience as they relate to that role. 
The more specific, unique selling points you bring up, the more you’ll stick out as a strong contender for hiring teams.

4. It’s All About You and What You Want

Many applicants assume their resume only exists to show off why they’re qualified for the job. But potential employers and hiring managers read resumes to learn how you’ll use your skills to benefit the company.

So your resume must explicitly state how your experience will help them grow market share/profits, save money, better manage teams, etc. Show them why they need you based on your proven track record elsewhere. 

The Fix: Rewrite your resume to spotlight what a company will gain when they add you to their team. Read the job description, company website, industry news, and more to learn what the company needs help with — then prove you can deliver.

5. You Haven’t Shown Remote Work Experience

It’s easy for those already working remotely to highlight their remote work experience. But if you’re just entering the remote workforce, you’ll need to prove you’re capable of working on your own and with the tools the rest of the team uses.

The Fix: Create a resume section to show off your remote work skills. Spotlight technology and platforms you’re familiar with, such as:
  • Industry-specific software, including CRMs like Salesforce, Word and Excel, WordPress, Google Ads, etc.
  • File sharing and collaboration tools like Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • Messaging tools/apps such as Slack, Skype, Zoom, and Teams.
  • Project management tools like Trello, Basecamp, and Asana.

Bonus: Adding your experience with remote work tech may also give ATS more keywords to grab. ATS may then rank your resume higher than scores earned by other candidates.

6. You Have a Nonexistent Professional Online Presence

Fact: When hiring teams are interested and curious to learn more about you, they’re going to Google your name. That’s why it’s essential to curate a professional online presence that helps put your best foot forward and make a killer first impression.

No one’s saying you have to rack up millions of followers as a social media influencer. But when you shine up your online persona, your networking game will soar.
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The Fix: Consider creating a professional website to tell potential connections more about yourself, your strengths and passions, and how you’ve helped other companies/clients reach their goals. An online digital portfolio or case studies provide hiring teams with real-world examples of your work, making you a proven standout. 

If you don’t want to create a website, at least optimize your LinkedIn or Twitter profile to strengthen your remote job search:
  • Add relevant keywords to your bio. Employers and recruiters often search for candidates to connect with based on industry keywords. Use these to get on their radar. 
  • Get active in your industry. Start following and engaging with companies and professionals in your area of expertise. Share interesting case studies, articles, and videos to prove you’re up-to-date on emerging trends.
Now when someone Googles you, they’ll feel as if they already know you and can’t wait to grab you for an online interview.

7. You’re Not Fast Enough

If you’re finding and applying for jobs you’re the perfect fit for, but fail to score an interview, you may just have a timing issue. With so many qualified candidates vying for the same position, you can’t take a haphazard approach.

Get into a regular job-hunting routine where you schedule time for job searches, resume rewrites, follow-ups, and networking. Each of these activities has the power to boost your chances of landing an online interview. And since job hunting depression is real, dedicating a specific window of time for these tasks will keep you motivated, focused, and optimistic without burning you out. 

The Fix: Sign up for job alerts from We Work Remotely, and our robot recruiters will let you know when companies post new positions in your industry. Have several versions of your resume ready to go, then all you have to do is change a few minor things to be one of the first candidates to apply.

Time to Finally Land that Online Interview

Follow today’s tips, and you’ll avoid the most common remote job search mistakes. You’ll score more networking and online interview opportunities than your inbox can handle. And you’ll get one step closer to landing the remote role you’ve been hoping for.

To seize the opportunity to present yourself as the best candidate, check out this guide on how to ace a virtual interview next.

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