This tutorial is part of the free remote job course. 🌴
By using a special search operator with Google search, you can find remote jobs that aren’t listed on job boards. Doing this lets you apply to positions that aren’t receiving many applications, thereby lowering the competition and increasing your chances of getting an interview.
There are many reasons why remote positions aren’t always public on job boards. Sometimes there’s a gap between the day the company posts the job opportunity on its website and the time the company starts promoting that opportunity. Other times the company doesn’t want to spend money on job board promotion and instead relies on attracting applicants from employee referrals or traffic to its own website.
Whatever the reason is, remote companies definitely want you to apply to their open positions if you’re qualified for the role. You just need to know how to find out that the opportunities exist in the first place. I’ll show you how to do this below using Google search, but first it’s important to understand how the online application process works.
How remote companies receive applications
You may have noticed that when you read a job description on a company’s site you’re often redirected to a page that is formatted differently after you click the “Apply” link at the bottom of the job description. Often these pages are hosted by applicant tracking software (ATS) sites that manage applications for positions at remote companies.
Let’s take a look at how this works.
You visit a careers page on a remote company’s website:
You view the section of the page that lists job openings:
You click on one of the open jobs to see the job description:
If you’re interested, you click the Apply button at the bottom of the page and usually this takes you to a third party ATS website that has a different base URL:
In this case Workable.com is the ATS that Zapier uses. But what if Zapier was not promoting this remote position on job boards? You’d have no way of knowing it exists unless you went directly to its careers page like we did above.
So, instead of spending time sifting through every careers page of every remote company, you can find remote opportunities by doing bulk searches for remote jobs across various ATS sites.
Note: Usually ATS companies do not have job boards that let you view open positions hosted on their platform. This is good though because it makes the opportunities more hidden. To find them, you need to know how to use the search query in Google that I’m going to show you how to use now.
How to search ATS sites for remote jobs using Google
To start, choose an ATS site to target.
Here are the most popular ATS sites:
- *.applytojob.com (part of JazzHR)
Note: The * is a variable that represents the name of any company. For instance, Workable has companies like Zapier list its application forms on a subdomain (zapier.workable.com). Adding the * allows you to search for remote positions at Zapier and any other company. The reason you don’t need variables for some ATS sites is because they post opportunities at various companies after the base URL instead of in the subdomain (example: jobs.lever.co/zapier)
Let’s search one of these ATS sites for remote positions. Being consistent with the example above, let’s browse for remote app engineer jobs posted with Workable (the ATS that Zapier uses).
In the Google search bar, enter the following query:
site:*.workable.com app engineer telecommute
Sure enough, the job posting for the app engineer role on Zapier comes up.
This is a very narrow search though. The job title App Engineer is not common if you’re looking for remote companies that need developers or engineers to help them build their apps. More companies use titles like Software Engineer, App Developer, or Mobile App Developer.
To capture as many remote developer opportunities as possible in one search, let’s simply search for developer jobs.
There are more opportunities with this search query because we generalized the search. And if I change the keyword “telecommute” to “remote” we get even more opportunities — almost an overwhelming amount!
We can search for these more specialized opportunities using the same approach. All we have to do is replace the generalized job title with the name of a specific skill or tool.
Here’s a search for developer/engineering roles that require specialization in the Ruby on Rails coding language:
And here’s a search for developer/engineering roles that require specialization with the tool React:
Bottom line: To find the right opportunities, it’s important to experiment with the keyword you enter before the word “remote” or “telecommute”.
In summary, here is what the format of your search query should look like:
site:[ATS URL] [job keywords] [remote/telecommute]
Whether you’re a software engineer, sales person, marketer, writer, designer, business analyst, or anything else that allows you to work remotely, you can use this search format. Just use the relevant job keywords.
Also, if you’re not seeing results for job keywords on one ATS site, trying using those same keywords while searching a different ATS site. There are many different search variations you can use to find remote jobs.
How to find the newest remote positions
As a final tip, Google has a feature that lets you filter search results by the date the page/job listing was added to Google. You can use this feature to find the newest remote opportunities.
Say we wanted to narrow our search of remote developer jobs to ones posted in the last week. We can do this by clicking the Tools button below the Google search bar and selecting the appropriate time in the secondary menu that appears:
In addition to filtering remote jobs by those posted in the past week, you can filter them by those posted in the last day or month. Do the former to be the first to apply to remote jobs. Do the latter to get a higher volume of opportunities.
Any questions or additional tips? Let me and everyone else know in the comments. And if you’re currently searching for remote jobs, go ahead and start the free remote job course. 🌴