Three of the most popular topics among businesses since 2020 are the COVID-19 pandemic, recession, and remote work. The occurrence of the first two has significantly increased the need for remote employees. But what do employers look for in remote employees and how can you increase your hire rate?
Statistics in the U.S testify that remote work is steadily replacing office jobs. According to Zippa, over 16% of companies in the country are now fully remote and the number of remote employees rose from just 6% before the pandemic to about 30% in 2021 alone.
The transition to remote work is slower in Africa compared to the U.S. Nevertheless, the progress is encouraging. A March 2022 release by the World Economic Forum confirms that about 42% of African employees work remotely at least once a week.
The growing popularity of remote work means that more and more people would be submitting proposals for remote jobs. However, not everyone knows how to go about this. In fact, a lot of people commit mistakes that make employers ignore their proposals.
What is even more fascinating is that a lot of remote employees with years of experience are still guilty of some of these mistakes. the outcome is that they get fewer jobs than their peers. Read on to find out what these common mistakes are and how to avoid them.
Why do employers dislike remote work?
It is not a secret that some employers don’t buy the idea of having their staff work remotely. One of the biggest reasons why employers dislike remote work is that it offers little or no way to control or keep an eye on a worker.
There are lots of project management tools (including those with time tracking features). However, they don’t offer the same experience as in-office monitoring. Others think it doesn’t create the kind of bond they want among their employees.
In an office setting, employers can easily go desk-to-desk or visit a project site to see what a worker is doing. They can verify that the employee is utilizing work hours to do their job and doing the job right. This is harder with remote work.
In addition to limited access to employees, remote work also makes it challenging for an entire team to collaborate efficiently (particularly when an employer hires from different countries with varying time zones). Nevertheless, that barrier is becoming slimmer with advancing technology.
Another concern employers have about remote work is that they may not possess the flexibility or the skills necessary to switch from a physical work environment to a remote environment, or even manage one.
What employers don’t want to see in a remote employee’s proposal
Remote jobs do not typically come with an interview session like physical jobs. The implication is that remote employees have to rely on their proposals to tell the employer that they can do the job. A bon mot says, ‘you may never get a second chance to make a good first impression’.
When crafting your proposals as a remote employee, there are certain blunders that turn the employer off. Sadly, there is no manual for remote employees (yet) that will help them to avoid the pitfalls. However, knowing what you should not do can help you to decipher what you should do.
Mistake 1: Complete focus on the remote worker
It might sound surprising but this is really a thing. Employers want to know about a prospective worker. However, they wouldn’t want the entire proposal to point toward the employee. It is OK to highlight your skills and experiences but always peg it back to how they will help you to solve the employer’s problems.
To avoid getting caught in this scenario, remote employees should refer to the employer as much as possible. An example is saying “one of my services would be to provide you with helpful suggestions and feedback”. So, remote employees should craft their proposals to contain more “you” than “I” or “me”.
Mistake 2: Failing to address the employer’s requirement
Some remote employees try to beat an application deadline when writing their proposals. In the rush, they go straight to the point without making reference to the employer’s requirements. When this happens, they become unlikely to get the employer’s attention, even when they possess other necessary skills or experience.
An instance of this is an employer inviting native English speakers for a customer representation or content writing role. The requirement could arise from the fact that the employer’s target audience communicates only in English.
In such a case, a remote employee who submits an amazing proposal but fails to say if they are native English speakers or not would be providing incomplete information to the employer. This would significantly reduce their chances of getting the job.
Mistake 3: Failing to appeal to the employee’s emotions
Many remote employees make the mistake of writing as if their employers are robots. Although an employer might not show emotions (and it is good to keep things professional), employers are all humans. While trying to keep your proposals professional, don’t fail to remember that you are talking to a human.
Bearing this in mind, remote employees can give their proposals a personal touch by complementing their client’s ideas or products (such as websites), sharing closely related experiences, and applying some form of informality. This could brighten an employer’s day and lead them to give the author of the proposal a chance.
Mistake 4: Submitting a generic proposal
Remote workers tend to develop a template proposal over time which they submit to clients. Eventually, some stop reading the job descriptions before submitting their proposals.
The danger in doing that is that some employers may ask potential employees to use certain words in their proposals, just to be sure they read through the job description.
If you are in the habit of sending generic proposals without reading through the job description, the potential employer will know and ignore your proposal. This is a mistake that should be avoided as much as possible.
A generic proposal gives the impression that the applicant did not go through the entire job description. It would also mean that they are not detail-oriented, and further points to a poor work ethic.
Remote workers can do away with generic proposals by learning to go over job descriptions quickly, picking out all the points, and creating a smart and convincing proposal based on those points. Even when you have a template proposal, always modify it to capture the unique requirements of the job you are applying for.
Mistake 5: Failing to mention your relevant experience or skill
Prospective employees are required to state their relevant experiences as it relates to a job. This is also expected of remote workers. Unfortunately, many fail to include it in their proposal.
Employers use the information from a prospective worker’s past experience to better understand their accomplishments, level of creativity, and ability to perform in certain environments.
This is important considering that employers cannot fully monitor and guide remote employees. Therefore, hiring a remote employee who has had relevant experience on a similar job significantly reduces the project time and increases the likelihood of quality output.
Just like providing their experience, it is important that remote employees mention all their skills relevant to a particular position. This helps them stand out from other applicants. It also helps employers filter through the list of applicants, making the candidate selection process easier.
Some basic skills employers want to see are soft skills like communication and time management, as well as hard skills like the use of Microsoft Office, Content Management Systems (CMS), and familiarity with project management tools like ClickUp and Trello.
Mistake 6: Failing to provide samples of previous work
Almost every job type can be recorded and presented by a remote worker as a sample of their previous work. Customer representatives can provide a record of some calls, content writers can provide soft copies or links to their published articles, and graphic or website designers can provide links to their work.
A work sample is important because it speaks for the remote worker, so to say. It allows employers to determine who they are based on their writing style or method of delivery. It also portrays their expertise and shows their capacity to perform very specific tasks relevant to their future position.
Even when the prospective employer doesn’t mention it in their job description, find a way to include one or two previous tasks you have completed in a related field. However, don’t inundate the potential employer with tens of samples. It is a huge turn-off for many employers.
Mistake 7: Asking a specific compensation or salary quote
Compensation for work can be based on one or more factors including the in-demand skills or experience of a worker, the quality of their previous work samples, and even the type of industry requiring their services.
Many employers offer fixed-price compensation, especially because they have a tight budget. In such cases, employers would likely reject a remote employee’s proposal if they are asking for a specific compensation or salary quote that is outside their budget.
It is always better to ask the employer what they are offering. When the employer discloses their budget, you can determine if it is something that you can work with or whether you would ask for a raise, or if there are prospects for growth.
It is important to mention that most employers looking for remote employees want the job done at the lowest possible price. They may be willing to give you bonuses if you outperform their expectations. Nevertheless, negotiation is an important part of remote work. We will go into details in a future post.
Mistake 8: Submitting proposals with typographical or grammatical errors
Another thing employers don’t want to see in a proposal are typos and grammatical errors. Coming across this kind of mistake gives employers the impression that the employee did not take the time to proofread before submitting, does not have an eye for detail, or is generally unprofessional. This is not a good way to begin a career or even a job.
Prospective employees could avoid having demeaning typos and grammatical errors in their proposals by making drafts, reading out loud, and having someone else go through their proposals. Apps like Grammarly can help you to catch potentially embarrassing typos and grammatical errors for free.
Mistake 9: Failing to say how the company would benefit from hiring you
During a job interview, employers might ask what a prospective worker has to offer or how the company would benefit by hiring them. The reason why they do this is that nobody hires for the fun of it. They all want to be sure that they would be getting value for their money.
Remote employees must address this in their proposals too. A good way to do this is by stating that you would offer helpful suggestions or that you can take on multiple roles if the need arises. This is where having more than one skill that is relevant to the company will set you apart from other job seekers.
Mistake 10: Submitting a proposal for an unrelated field
Certain employees make the mistake of submitting a proposal for jobs that are in an unrelated field. Also, some employees submit proposals for jobs that require skills that they do not possess. This is often done in desperation to land a gig.
However, employers see this as a waste of time. They prefer to train employees to sharpen their skills rather than helping them to learn a skill from the scratch. This cuts costs. It also keeps businesses from spending too much time on training.
Another reason why you should never do this is that even if you end up getting the job, the probability that you would successfully complete it is low. You will end up with a bad review that will damage your reputation and obscure your future chances of landing good jobs.
Submitting a proposal for a remote job might feel very different from submitting for a physical job. Consequently, new job seekers embracing remote work will likely base their judgment on trial and error. Consequently, they end up submitting proposals that are filled with errors.
Well, if you have read this article to this point, you definitely have a strong foundation that will help you to craft better proposals that potential employers will find irresistible. If you stick to all the instructions that we pointed out, you should see a significant improvement in your hire rate.
Which of the mistakes have you been guilty of in the past? we will love to hear from you. Use the comment box below to share your thoughts.
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