I have learned a lot about reading between the lines in job postings this year. In years past, I would send out resume after resume, and be crushed when I got no response or a rejection email. My confidence crumbled a little more after each one, even as my skills and experience grew. I tried again. And was rebuffed again. What do I lack? I wondered. What do those other candidates have that I don’t?
My guess? Geographic proximity.
I did not pick the most popular vocation for my area. So many of the jobs I have applied for are hours, states away. Most are clear across the country. And, I see now, most employers simply do not want to mess with interviewing a candidate who would have to move to accept the position. Not when they have qualified local candidates.
This time around, I am specifically looking for remote work. But still my job searches return jobs that are not remote. They don’t always say that outright in the post, but I’m beginning to learn the clues. Unless remote work is explicitly mentioned in the posting, I consider these items to be red flags:
- Explicit mention of office location
- Any talk about office culture or office environment or coworkers
- Reference to hard copy resources or specific software requirements
- A list of in-office perks or local attractions
- Managing freelancers or working with customers listed under job duties
- Any talk of a required work schedule
Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve come to accept that I am a full-time freelancer now. I can no longer claim unemployment because I consistently make too much to get paid. (I am making too much today to get paid this week.) So I am no longer applying for every job I am qualified for, but selecting only those I feel are the best fit. I would refuse any job offer that required me to work in an office, or travel, on anything like a regular basis. I may one day return to the office, but not at this point in my life.
So I scan the job postings carefully. If none of the above things are mentioned, and if they do not specifically state “no telecommuting” or “on-site only” or “telecommuting allowed X days per week” or “local candidates only,” I apply. Sometimes I even get interviews.
It still stings when I get rejected. But at least I get rejected less often now.