Let’s assume you're a really good software developer and have done the hard work of building your online reputation. You have an online portfolio, you've contributed to open source, and you have a few side-projects on Github to show the quality of your code.
Now, where do you look to find a remote job?
Most articles will give you a list of websites where you can find remote jobs available. You find the ones that are a good fit for you, send your resumé and cover letter, and then wait for them to call you. Right?
Well, that might work, but if you're serious about getting a remote job, here's the facts:
It’s estimated that almost 80% of jobs are never listed but instead are filled internally or via networking.
How do you tap into that massive pool of opportunities?
The obvious answer is networking. And this, of course, applies to non-remote jobs too. However, networking with people who, by definition, live all around the world, is way harder than networking with people who live in your city.
Here are 7 steps to follow to network with people who work at companies that offer remote jobs, so you can ultimately get a referral.
Step #1: Make a list
First, use this list that remotive.io put together containing more than 600 hundred companies who offer remote jobs, and make your own spreadsheet with the ones you are interested in.
Step #2: Follow them
Using the spreadsheet you have created, follow the company and its CEO on Twitter. You can also use Twitter to search other people who work at those companies. Create a Twitter list with all of them.
Now, visit the websites of these companies and sign up to their newsletters if they have one. Also try to find them on Meetup.com, chances are some of them have meetup groups. Join them.
You get the idea… make sure you have plenty of ways of knowing what those companies are talking about and the events they are organizing.
Step #3: Engage
Once or twice a day use the Twitter list you created to read all the activity from the people who work at those companies. If they post something interesting, engage with the content: Loves, Retweets, and comments can make a huge difference if you are consistent.
Step #4: Join their events
Since you have subscribed to their newsletters and you are following their people on Twitter, you will know next time they organize an event. Since they have distributed teams, chances are that many of those events will happen online.
Join those events and make sure you participate in the most active way possible. Maybe it’s a Hackathon — so make a team. Maybe it’s an AMA — ask questions.
Step #5: Contribute
Companies are increasingly opting to release some of their code and libraries as open source. Some distributed companies are even 100% open source (for example, GitLab). If that’s the case, start looking for ways to contribute to their code.
This is one of the best ways you can get to meet their people and eventually get a strong referral.
I’m the founder of an online training program for remote software developers where we ask our students to spend almost 10 hours every week working on open source contributions.
Even if you end up not getting a referral, being an open source contributor will definitely get you some respect from potential employers.
Step #6: Meet them in person
You can’t obviously fly to every town where a remote developer lives to meet them in person. However, there is a way to meet them when they are all in the same place.
Running Remote is a conference that helps remote companies network with and learn from each other, and many employees and founders of remote companies will be there. If you can, go and meet them in person.
This year, Running Remote has picked Bali (Indonesia) as their place of gathering. The conference will take place on June 23 and June 24, and if you were thinking about taking a well-deserved vacation, you can probably enjoy this paradise while boosting your network at the same time.
Step #7: Ask for referrals
If you follow all the previous steps, you will start connecting with people who work at those companies, and you will build relationships. Eventually, you should tell them you are looking for jobs, and ask them to keep you in mind if a position shows up.
Of course, you should also scan their job postings often, and if they do post a position, then you should reach out to your network and ask for a referral.
I’ve seen many people applying these tips successfully, and I’m hoping you can take advantage of them too. At the end, the lesson is always the same: networking and relationships are everything.