Augmenting Your Resume for Online Collaboration and Remote Work
Updated: Mar 4
Since starting my career counseling practice, I have lost count of the number of people who have stated a preference for the option to work from home, even for a few days a week. Increasingly, work places have been allowing for that potential, but before COVID-19 forced their hand, most employers preferred that workers work on site.
Suddenly, last spring, COVID-19 thrust many of us into the position of working remotely and our ability to continue to be productive depended on our ability to quickly adopt skills in mastering online collaboration tools. Most of us have had to either learn a new skill entirely or deepen our proficiency in software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack, among others. Some companies and entire fields were more prepared than others – the tech industries and creative agencies were veterans to using technological tools to manage projects and foster creative collaborate – but most companies were caught flat-footed.
I am encouraging all of my clients – whether looking for work, considering a career change in the next year or fearful of a looming layoff – to review their resumes to ensure that they appear to be productive remote employees and, if necessary, poised for dynamic online collaboration. Below I have listed tools that you may already have but have never thought to list on your resume or LinkedIn profile. In some cases, you may have listed them on your resume and LinkedIn profile but not mentioned that you are, for instance, “accustomed to remote work” or “comfortable collaborating remotely on web design projects.” Never has there been a time when a remote-friendly skill set was more in demand.
See what skills below you have or would like to adopt to make your resume and LinkedIn profile more competitive. Watch YouTube videos or take online classes to fully master the tools you are lacking but are growing in demand in your field. If COVID was a catalyst for remote working, let it also be “kick in the a*#” you may have need to prepare for the future of office work.
Teleconferencing Tools (Zoom, MS Teams, etc.)
Tools that allow teams to meet are the biggest rock in the jar of remote work. Your ability to master these tools should go beyond being able to click on a link and join a meeting. Learn to schedule a meeting, mute yourself if necessary, change your background, share documents, among other basic tactics. (If you are in a healthcare field, master the basics of HIPAA compliant tools. Portland-based Person-Centered Tech offers resources and training on offering HIPAA security compliance.)
If you have rarely or never Zoomed with someone, schedule a meeting with a friend to test drive your skills. Be cognizant of your background, testing the video to frame your appearance and to ensure that objects behind you are not too distracting or offensive, your face is well-lit, and light window light doesn't cast too much glare. Also be mindful of ambient noise like dishwashers, family members clanging dishes or operating refrigerator ice machines, or barking dogs.
Google Meet (previously Google Hangouts Meet)
FaceTime (only available on iPhone and iPad)
Collaboration Tools (Dropbox, MS SharePoint, Google Drive, etc.
These tools facilitate projects by providing a place to store and organize documents and images, communicate in real time, proof and revise documents, and otherwise foster productivity and file sharing. (I include Work and Excel since they are widespread in their use, offer tools like “track changes” to facilitate multiple users and revision control, and do possess online versions that further facilitate the sharing and revision of documents. They also work fluidly with Google Drive.)
Below are just a few skills to help you make the case for remote collaboration chops.
Cross-Functional Team Collaboration + Leadership
This a relatively recent resume buzz word that suggests you are able to collaborate not just on an individual team but also with and among the members of another team. Some people may only have “Cross-Functional Team Collaboration” as a skill yet not the "Leadership" piece. Whether you have one or both, be sure to mention it, especially in this time when balls are likely being dropped because teams that are concurrently working on projects that influence the outcomes of other teams due to breakdowns in cross-functional communication.
Add the word “Remote” to this if you have experience facilitating teams online, which is different than leading a meeting in the same physical space. Either way, you have experience making sure you’re encouraging input from as many individuals if possible (including the shy ones) and stopping the talkative types from taking over the meeting space. This skill has never been more necessary as it can really be easy for individuals with worthy contributions to shrink away, potentially losing valuable input and leading to demoralization and boredom among less-than-assertive employees.
Conflict can occur on Zoom meetings but it is usually more subtle and passive aggressive. If you have skills in recognizing, mediating and resolving conflicts, you can make the case for how this helps you collaborate remotely since the cost of conflict is just as acute in remote work spaces as it in “real life.” The ability to avoid conflicts is invaluable since the ability to successfully keep the lines of communication open among team members is a hallmark of leadership and collaborative prowess.
In a close-to-perfect in-person workplace, people know what they are supposed to deliver and what timeframe it is expected. This is another function that is more challenged in a virtual workspace and relies not just on sophisticated collaborative tools but the ability to keep everyone trained and engaged with these tools. Delegation can be facilitated by these tools, but people can also get too relaxed or apathetic if someone isn’t holding them to account. This delicate balance is accomplished well by skilled delegators, so if you have mastered this skill, be sure to toot this horn loudly. (For more strategies about delegation, check out Delegation 101: 8 tips to help you stop doing everything.)
If you have experience collaborating with teams or even solitary individuals online, be sure to mention it. In addition to mastering the tools discussed above, give yourself credit for bringing projects to the finish line with team members in separate physical spaces. If you can list metrics or a track record for delivering projects on time and within budget, even better.
Remote Work Experience
Give yourself credit for this skill even if it has been as simple as you working from home once or twice a week. If you have the proven ability to continue to deliver in your work while working from home, coffee shops or coworking spaces in Bali, you have “remote work experience.” Employers are looking for individuals (now more than ever) who are self-directed, deadline-driven and trusted to deliver without constant monitoring.
Kristin Schuchman, MSW is a career counselor based in Portland, Oregon who works with creative and mission-driven professionals. She writes resumes and coaches individuals seeking support for career indecision, next steps, work re-entry, advancement, and work-life-balance. She offers a free 30-minute Zoom or phone session and presently works with clients remotely. Find out more at www.sparkacareer.com.