In the age of remote work, and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, almost all interviews have moved to Zoom or other video platforms. If you’re new to remote work in the PR sector, the hiring process can seem a bit overwhelming. Applying for remote jobs means going up against many more applicants than may have been your competition just a year ago. So how do you set yourself apart? Today’s post focuses on getting you ready to ace a possible Zoom interview.

Keep Your Resume ATS-Friendly

Getting a remote job starts with your resume. It’s not enough just to list your skills and experience on a document and send it out to every company you’re interested in working for. Most remote companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter through resumes before a human ever sets eyes on them. If your resume doesn’t make it through these filters, you will never get a chance at an interview—even if you’re qualified for the job!

You need to use keywords and proper resume formatting to make it through the ATS and get your resume in front of hiring managers. You may find that it’s best to turn to a professional resume writer who has experience creating resumes for these filter systems.

Polish Your Personal Brand

Some applicant tracking systems can read through social media websites like LinkedIn to look for keywords that identify qualified candidates. Make sure your personal brand tells the right story about you and your professional life! Search yourself online and delete any content that appears unprofessional.

To optimize your LinkedIn profile, use a strong headshot, establishing genuine connections with other professionals, create a detailed and engaging summary that describes your skills and strengths, and post content that’s relevant to your industry. And be sure to LIKE and comment on content posted by others. LinkedIn is your pathway to being noticed by fellow professionals and potential employers. While you’re at it, make sure your other social media accounts are updated in both appearance and content. Delete posts that might embarrass your parents or turn off prospective employers.

Upgrade Your Tech

It can be tempting to relax a bit once you land an interview, but your fight isn’t over yet. Don’t let a frustrating tech problem like a poor internet connection or outdated webcam cost you the job.

Before your interview, test all of your gear and make sure it works flawlessly. You may need to upgrade some of your technology to guarantee a smooth interview. For example, a high-speed internet connection is essential for uninterrupted conversation.

Set the Stage

How you appear during your Zoom interview will tell your hiring manager a lot about your professionalism. Casual clothes, household clutter, and dogs barking in the background can give your interviewer the impression that you’re not taking things seriously.

Clean yourself up, and dress as you would for an in-person interview. Remember, one of the best ways to set yourself apart is through your appearance. If your professional wardrobe needs a revamp, invest in classic pieces that work well on camera. No, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, and if you shop at stores like Macy’s or Saks 5th Ave, you can find online discounts and additional promotions so you’re not blowing your budget.

Beyond your appearance, there are still tasks you want to keep in mind. Be sure to lock yourself in a quiet room away from your noisy family or rommates. And position yourself against a neutral background like a solid wall or corner—this is not the time for fun Zoom backgrounds or filters! While you’re at it, think about how you can use lighting to combat that washed-out look and add some warmth and color to your face. Place lights in front of you instead of behind or above you. Raising your computer to eye level can also help improve your appearance and make eye contact feel more natural during your call.

When considering a background, you can have fun checking out Room Rater, which shares screen grabs and humorous commentary about Zoom backgrounds used by celebrities and ordinary people.

Job hunting in 2021 looks a lot different than it did even just a year ago. If you’re having a hard time finding remote jobs, landing interviews, and persuading hiring managers to give you a shot, keep revisiting the Culpwrit blog and suggest topics you’d like to see covered in future posts.

Photo via Pexels