How to tailor your job application for remote jobs

The benefits of a remote workplace are many. We spoke with Harvest’s HR generalist, Cynthia Chand, to get the skinny on what she’s looking for when hiring staff for remote positions.

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The benefits of a remote workplace are many. For one, it broadens the recruitment pool beyond geographical confines to attract the most qualified person for a role. Remote work also encourages lean ways of working: cutting out the commute, office distractions or expensive store-bought lunches. Flexibility is also part of the appeal: in some companies, staff can work when they feel most productive: early birds and night owls alike can adjust their hours to when they do their best work.

As the number of remote jobs is increasing, so too is the applicant pool. Take Harvest – a digital time tracking and invoicing service used by creative companies in more than 100 countries. The company is also remote, with its 60 employees scattered throughout the world. We spoke with Harvest’s HR generalist, Cynthia Chand, to get the skinny on what she’s looking for when hiring staff for remote positions.

Demonstrate your value-add

Start by working out why you’d be a good match for the company. Don’t make your cover letter about why the remote workplace would suit your lifestyle. "Let me know what drew you to Harvest, not what sounds appealing about working from home," says Cynthia. "What I want to know is, why are you interested in us? Is it our company size? Our product? Our culture? Our values?" She advises being specific in your application: highlight elements of the company culture that align with your values, or any previous experience that would help the company achieve its mission.

Show you understand a remote work environment

While there are many benefits of a remote work environment, there are also some complications that you won’t have in a physical workplace. Even if you’ve only worked the odd day from home, show you understand the mechanics of a fully-digital situation. Give examples of when you’ve been agile at work, worked with people in different time zones or demonstrated clear communication. Be specific about the communication software you’ve used in the past, as this will be important for bridging gaps at work.

Be intentional

"Being realistic is important; banking on yourself and your skills and taking a chance can also be important," says Cynthia. If you want your resume to stand out, you need to be critical in your approach. As well as addressing the basics such as contact details, education and personal summary, you should also highlight specific things listed in the job ad. "Whatever the company is looking for, make sure you’ve highlighted that on your resume," says Cynthia. Personalizing your resume takes time. So be realistic: "Be intentional about the positions that are an immediate match, a bit of a stretch, and the far-reach positions that may require some more work experience or qualifications before applying."


Cynthia Chand is an HR generalist at Harvest and is passionate about culture, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Learn more about Harvest’s remote workplace culture.

Photo by Anton Shuvalov on Unsplash