How to Create Your Remote Worker Brand

By Tara Powers

Building your virtual brand, otherwise knows as You, Inc., is an area that you want to give time and attention to developing strategically. You have a digital footprint that follows you everywhere you go, no matter where you are located in the world. Ask yourself these important questions: Does it represent you in the best way possible? Will it help you land your next remote job role and get you paid what your worth?

Gone are the days where your resume proved that you were the best person for the job within 50 miles of your office. As a virtual worker, you have to be the best person for the job in your entire state, time zone, and possibly the world. Virtual job opportunities by their nature create a more competitive environment. Your location, the way you position yourself, and your virtual brand aren’t relevant. What’s key is that you actively develop, manage, and grow your virtual brand with the intention to land your dream job.

The following sections discuss the key parts of your brand — your resume, portfolio, and online presence — and what you can do to make them stand out.

Rework your resume as a virtual team member

Almost every job you apply for will request that you submit your resume electronically either by email, by Internet job boards, or on the company’s website. You need to know that many companies search their database of resumes for keywords related to the skills and experience for which they’re looking. As a result, modify your resume, remove formatting for ease of submission into any database, and include keywords that can help you jump to the front of the line for any search teams related to the position you want.

Here are tips when rebuilding your resume that can help you land your next virtual job:

  • Load your resume with keywords related to the position(s) you are interested in. Carefully read the job ad and description to identify important keywords; many times employers repeat them more than once. Research several virtual opportunities and make a list of the keywords they mention in their ads. You can then rewrite your resume and include those keywords if you have the skills and experience required for the job.
  • Focus on your accomplishments beyond the day-to-day tasks you do in your job. No one cares about your job responsibilities; they care about what you did that was extraordinary or how you took initiative. For example, if you’ve reduced expenses, led a major project, landed a huge client, or improved a process, highlight the financial impacts, time saved, or increases in efficiency. Here are a few questions to help you capture your accomplishments:
    • What were you most known for in your last job?
    • Is there anything you could do better than anyone else? What was it? How much better did you do it?
    • Are there examples of projects where you were given an impossible deadline, problem, or issue and experienced success?

Build your virtual team portfolio

In addition to a resume, if you’re poised and ready to go after the next virtual job opportunity, you also need to have a portfolio. A portfolio provides evidence that you’ve actually successfully done what you’ve listed in your resume. It shows samples of your work that demonstrate quality, level of expertise, and attention to detail; furthermore, a portfolio showcases your personal approach. Portfolios can be assembled and printed for face-to-face meetings, but it’s far more common today to use a digital online portfolio that can be part of your personal website, LinkedIn profile, or blogspace. Here are some steps to putting together your portfolio:

  1. Decide what to showcase. People who design creative works usually don’t have any problem, but if your accomplishments are nonvisual, consider showcasing brainstorming sessions, progress updates, or a blog post about the problem you faced and the solution. You can also build a simple infographic that points out a process in which you were involved.
  2. Only pick the best examples. Showcase only your best of the best even if it’s just five examples. I made the mistake of posting videos of my early training days online. They were poor quality and honestly, and I wasn’t that good.
  3. Keep your portfolio simple. Make your portfolio easy to navigate with clear headings about what you’re highlighting. Consider putting projects into categories so employers who view your portfolio don’t waste time trying to find something specific.
  4. Be clear about what kind of work you want and how to contact you. Clearly state the specific kind of work you’re seeking, and make sure you provide a clear way to reach you. For example, “I’m looking to join a cohesive team that needs an innovator who can analyze trends and quickly generate new revenue stream ideas. Please email me at Tara@virtualwork.com.”
  5. Share what makes you special. Include a brief video or picture collage. Make a statement about who you are and why potential employer would want you on its team.

Your portfolio is only a part of your bigger brand. Your resume, work experience, testimonials, and web presence are just as important.

Establish your online presence as a virtual team member

In today’s job market, particularly if you want to be a virtual go-to person, having an online presence is a must. Your online presence, which includes everything from your social media footprint (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), says a whole lot about you. Because people make assumptions about things like your reliability, ability to communicate, professionalism, trustworthiness, and even cultural fit by checking out your personal sites, profiles, social media, blog posts and more, making sure your online presence represents you truthfully and completely is so important.

Here are some ways you can create an online presence that stands out and represents you:

  • Build a personal website to share with potential employers. If you’re in development, design, engineering, marketing, or any job where you need to showcase your work to be competitive, a personal website that includes your resume and portfolio is the way to go. Highlight your experience and spotlight your best qualities. Use a simple landing page and break down your resume into key areas such as your bio, work experience, portfolio of examples, education, testimonials, and more.

You don’t need to hire a professional web designer. Many professional, easy-to-use sites, such as www.squarespace.com, www.godaddy.com, and www.wix.com, are available. Just search online.

  • Be consistent with your virtual brand. Make sure that what people see on your personal website or in your portfolio is the same brand they will see if they visit your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. If your goal is to be seen as a thought leader in marketing, recruiting, computer programming, or AI technology, then focus on creating blog posts, making comments, and writing articles that showcase your knowledge. Do a collateral review of anything about you online and determine what needs a refresh or an overhaul.

Keep your personal social media private from your professional online presence. A good general rule: Live by the motto that what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas and not online for the world to see. Remove or refresh anything online that doesn’t position you in that light. For example, carefully scrutinize personal photos from your best friends’ wedding, guys’ fishing trip, or girls’ weekend that could tarnish your online credibility and reputation.

  • Engage with any company or people who you want to find out more about or potentially work for. For example, share a recent accomplishment or featured news story about a company that you’re following and add your thoughts about what makes the company a great place to work. Tag the company profile so it shows up on its feed.

Potential employers who plan to hire you without ever meeting you in person are going to do their due diligence and see what you’re up to online. They will look at your posts and check out what and whom you follow, comment on, and even like. That’s why you want to take your online presence seriously and build your brand the right way because it will influence their decision to hire you.

Keep current on the latest communication and collaboration tools

If you’re making every effort to experience success in a virtual work situation, make sure you’re in the know about the latest trends in virtual technology. Employers are keen on understanding your level of comfort with different technology, but more importantly, they’re interested if you have an open mindset to learning new technology.

Here are some tips for staying one step ahead of the ever-changing technology you’ll most likely use as a virtual team member:

  • Read. Make it a habit to read at least one to two articles, blog posts, or whitepapers each week on tech trends related to virtual collaboration, communication, or project management.
  • Network. Join online community groups or attend virtual conferences where you can connect with other virtual workers and hear about what technology and tools are shaping their work experiences.
  • Invest. Attend conferences and seek out online courses, tutorials, or webcasts where you can get find out about the latest technologies.
  • Volunteer. Sometimes the best way to discover something new is to jump in and start using it. Search for volunteer groups that use virtual technology to connect and collaborate. Doing so is great way to experiment with collaboration tools to prepare you for the next opportunity and give back to your community.

Shop for virtual worker–friendly clientele

If you’re searching for your next virtual opportunity, look no further than FlexJobs for the top companies with virtual work. They represent the innovators that are leading the way for virtual work around the world. Not only do these companies support virtual work, they embrace and promote it as a culture.

Research this list of companies and the jobs that they have available. This is a great place to find the kinds of jobs top companies want to fill with virtual employees. Identify key skills they’re looking for, the keywords to add to your resume, and the most important characteristics they want. Align yourself with companies that you believe in and cultures that value their virtual employees. Research their values and why what they do matters to their employees, their clients, and their community. Finding a company that interests you and you’re passionate about makes it easier to start the conversation about your next virtual opportunity.

Focus on healthy work-life balance as a virtual worker

Work-life balance is an odd term because in my opinion there isn’t ever truly a separation of work from your life. Rather, work is part of your life. For me finding balance relates to the dynamic relationship between the achievement of reaching your goals and the fulfillment you get and the positive or negative influences that either support you or distract you.

Influences can be external like friends, family, finances, coworkers, your boss, your neighbors, your house, and so on. Internal influences are things like your mindset, habits, thoughts, perspectives, beliefs, and emotions. Finding a sense of balance doesn’t magically happen. Achieving a healthy work-life means making a commitment to frequently assess what is having a positive influence for you as a virtual team member and reducing or eliminating the things that aren’t.