In this article, we are exploring the ways to get hired as a remote developer in the U.S. market. The shortage of tech talent in the United States is continuing to increase. According to government reports, there are up to 1 million IT jobs left unfilled each year. So it’s high time you fill one of them.
We’ve researched the remote work market in the USA to give you the most relevant information on job search. The ways to find work are via job boards, freelance websites, hiring agencies, social media platforms, and remote-friendly companies.
Job Boards (websites)
These are websites used by employers to advertise their job vacancies to job seekers. If you want to find a job this way, be ready to spend a couple of hours every day on the search, as the number of job postings is humongous, and it takes time to understand through the job description if the job fits you.
Indeed is better for less traditional positions, including temporary and freelance jobs. It integrates with dozens of application tracking software like TalentReef, IdealTraits, and CareerPlug.
How to search for a remote developer job on Indeed
- Create a free Indeed account and upload your resume. It will allow you to save jobs that you might want to apply to later. These jobs will appear on your “My Jobs” page. When you’ve applied, you’ll be able to track your status from the same page.
- Use the “where” box in the search to specify the location (city or zip code) where you want to work. Use filters (job type/ distance/ salary/ location/ company/ experience level) or add job titles as you find postings you are interested in.
- When you have found the job, you can either go to the company website or apply with Indeed Resume (a flexible template that lets you fill in your relevant experience and skills).
- You can also click the “Easy Apply” button available on some job postings to quickly submit an application using your Indeed Resume. In case you’d prefer for employers not to see your resume, go to settings and click the “Private” option.
Indeed allows you to create multiple daily or weekly job alerts. You can also download Indeed plugins to get alerts from within your internet browser.
- Has Salary Trends tool — Indeed Salaries.
- Resume samples by industry and job title to get some inspiration.
- Career Paths. These pages have information about common software engineer job requirements and salaries for over 100 jobs.
- An aggregated database to streamline the job search process by eliminating the need to visit dozens of different sites to find relevant opportunities.
- It can take up to five hours for the Indeed team to verify your posting.
- Job description previews are small.
- Repetitive postings across other platforms.
- Forces renewing resumes after 30-60 days or erasing them.
This job board powers more than 90% of Fortune 500 company job boards and has 25+ million unique visitors per month.
How to search for a remote developer job on CareerBuilder?
- It is not necessary to register to search for jobs here, but we advise you to do so. Registered users can see an online record of their job search history, track submitted applications and utilize other site features.
- Search the website by job title, skills, city, state, ZIP code, or military occupational code. You can also use the advanced search option to narrow down your search by location, college degrees, full- or part-time employment, salary range, industry, job category, and the date the job was listed.
- Upload your resume, and the platform will show all the job listings that match your experience. Your jobs, resumes, and cover letters are saved in your private account. Bear in mind that you can’t upload images or scanned documents. You can also decide who can and cannot view your resume and see when your applications are viewed.
- It is allowed to post up to three different resumes and cover letters on the website, as well as apply directly for jobs online.
- If you want to know about new jobs first, create job alerts so that jobs meeting your criteria can be emailed to you as soon as they are posted.
- Has Career Advice and Explore Careers tabs. The first one offers breaking news on the employment market. The second gives you insights into various job titles within each sector (with salary ranges).
- Has an intuitive recommendation engine that matches jobs to keywords that can be found in your resume.
- Provides personalized career tests. They give you customized tools that will help to carefully assess your career trajectory
- CareerBuilder is peppered with ads. It’s not a huge complaint, but the presence of such ads detracts from the overall experience and makes the website look unnecessarily cluttered.
Unlike Indeed and CareerBuilder that center all their services on the job market, Craigslist emulates a community-based bulletin board and classified ad service to provide listings in a wide range of categories, including events, housing, personals, and items for sale.
How to search for remote developer jobs on Craiglist
- Click on “Jobs” to run a keyword search or click on the type of job from the categories list on the right side of the page.
- You can search by specific job titles, skills you would like to use, certifications, the software you know, and keywords.
- You can apply for a job in different ways:
- By clicking on the “Reply” button above the listing.
- By selecting an email option to apply (default email or webmail like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Outlook, AOL Mail).
- By sending an email message from scratch. You need to select “Copy and paste into your email”, and paste the email address listed into the “To” section of your email app.
Your email message can be used as a cover letter with an attached resume.
You can also put your resume on Craigslist since employers can search through resumes to identify candidates. Please, be cautious to avoid getting scammed. We don’t recommend using any identifying contact information other than an email, preferably not your main account.
If you want to post your resume:
- Click on your preferred location from the main page.
- Create a posting, selecting the posting option resume/job wanted.
- Select “I am an individual seeking employment”.
- Press continue to list a preferred title, location, and description of your target job and some other details.
- Upload your resume selecting a document from your files.
- Easy for job seekers to search for jobs by dividing them up into categories that are easy to sort through.
- Has opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere on dedicated job posting boards.
- You can get scammed easily
- Employers will leave postings up even after positions have been filled since Craigslist is barely regulated.
- Finally, the layout and format aren’t very pleasing.
IT-related job boards to consider
- The Ladders
Why are job boards not that effective in getting recruited?
- You have to sort through redundancies which can make your search cumbersome. You might start seeing your inbox overflowing with emails you don’t want. Plus, you’ll have to make sure you’re not giving away your personal information to someone with nefarious intentions.
- Applying for a job on a job board doesn’t mean an actual person will ever look at your cover letter and resume. In many instances, before a job posting goes up on the job board, it’s already been shared around internally in the company and by trusted sources. So, it’s likely hundreds applied before the posting even made it to the job board.
- A lot of job openings never get posted on a job board. Employers may prefer to work solely with recruiters or find other means to source the right talent. It means if you’re not networking with the right contacts, you’re missing out on opportunities that will never be found on job boards.
According to CNBC, the United States has the fastest-growing freelance market (based on earnings), so it’s no wonder that millions of IT specialists register on freelance platforms.
Freelance platforms are a great place to get projects when you’re just starting out, and have no client base. They are a great resource in winning your first contract, although it will most likely be short and one-off tasks. The platforms are the place to find work when you want to fill gaps in your schedule. You can get long-term contracts as well, but first, it’s necessary to gain an excellent reputation here.
According to FinancesOnline, the top 3 freelancing platforms in terms of the number of users are:
The platform states that it connects over 54 million employers and freelancers globally from over 247 countries, regions, and territories.
How to find software development projects on Freelancer.com?
- Sign up. It’s free, as well as working on the platform. However, there are also membership upgrades (Basic, Plus, Professional, and Premier) that are designed to help you to earn more: increase the number of bids per month, have more skill slots, get access to high-value projects, issue external invoices, and have the ability to follow clients, etc.
- Set up your profile to showcase your personality, resume, portfolio, and skills all rolled into one. It’s an important tool for persuasion!
- Find projects and start bidding. Hundreds of projects and contests in IT are posted each day. Find the ones you want by regularly checking the Jobs or Contests The difference is that on the Jobs page, you’ll see suitable projects open for bidding, and for Contests, you simply submit an entry (like in a lottery). Before placing your bid, make sure to write a compelling reason why you are the right choice.
- Start working. Before starting your work, make sure that both you and the employer are on the same page in terms of the project scope, deadlines, and payments. You may want to have a signed agreement in place.
- Get paid and earn five-star feedback. Once you get paid, you can withdraw your money via Moneybookers, PayPal Wire Transfer, or your local bank account. Also, you can get five-star feedback from the client that will be added to your portfolio.
- Easy to navigate, get started, and communicate with current and prospective clients using on-page chat.
- Secure multiple money withdrawal options include ACH, PayPal, and others.
- Employers consider it a great source to find graphic designers and developers.
- There are quite a lot of low-quality projects. It takes time to weed them out and find the decent one.
- You can find a lot of fake projects there, and you can get scammed a lot.
Unlike Freelancer.com, Upwork is not the best place for those who lack experience and just want to build a portfolio. Due to Upwork’s strict screening process, they only allow workers to join if there’s a genuine need for their services in the marketplace.
How to find remote software development projects on Upwork?
- Sign up using your email address, Apple, or Google account. You will pay no service fees until you complete your work. They are taken as a percentage of your earnings:
- 20% for the first $500 you bill your client
- 10% for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000
- 5% for total billings over $10,000.
- Add your personal information and indicate that you want to “Work as a freelancer”. Before you can start applying for developer job posts, you need to complete at least 60% of your profile: a photo of yourself, title, your overview, and work history, as well as at least one skill tag. The more relevant information you’ll display, the better. Highlight your ten skills and the level of expertise, educational background, past work experience (companies and projects), plus language proficiency.
Pay special attention to your title and overview. Make it short, specific, and include keywords that potential clients may search for.
- Set your hourly rate. You can adjust your overall rate and customize your rate every time you submit a proposal. Avoid the common mistake of basing your rate on your salary as an in-house developer. It doesn’t account for costs you’re responsible for, such as your home office setup, taxes, professional fees, and ongoing skills training. You can start at one rate then adjust it as you build your reputation through completed projects.
- There are two ways to connect with clients: they can find you via your profile or in Project Catalog (sort of a marketplace for projects you’ve predefined), or you approach them by submitting a proposal for their job posting.
- Upwork freelancers can get secured payments via direct deposit, PayPal, or wire transfer. All of your hourly projects are billed weekly. You get paid after you and the client both review the work, 10 days after the billing period ends.
- Good for having a long-term contract with your client. You’ll be rewarded with lower fees the longer you work with the same client.
- Seems to have fewer dishonest clients.
- Has higher-paying projects.
- Costs and fees. Upwork is not cheap.
- It’s difficult to get your first client as there is a lot of competition.
- Job success scores are not accurate. If a freelancer ends a contract that has been open for a long time, clients are not required to leave feedback. No feedback counts as a negative toward job success score.
Fiverr boasts that a gig is purchased every four seconds. It is a service largely known for its over 50 million transactions sold on its platform to date. There is also major name recognition with clients that include Google, Facebook, Netflix, and PayPal.
The concept of Fiverr is a little different from Freelancer.com and Upwork. On those sites, you send proposals to prospective clients. The clients advertise their job on the freelance sites, and the freelancer competes for that job by sending proposals. On Fiverr, you set up a gig for whatever you can offer to prospective clients. It means clients come to you.
How to find software development projects on Fiverr.com?
- Sign up first and then create your gigs that reflect your services. After that, fill in various fields that build your profile. Your profile should demonstrate your experience, expertise, and an hourly rate for clients to see. Lastly, Fiverr will ask you to set up a payment method through which you wish to be paid.
- If you are a freelance developer and seeking work, then you are considered a Seller. You can provide all the types of services, and you can mention the amount of money you want for specific skills. If anyone wants to get any service, they are known to be Buyers. They hire sellers who help them to complete the assigned task within the set budget.
- A bit about fees: when Buyers are buying freelance services on Fiverr, they will pay a processing fee of US$1 for purchases up to and including US$20. For orders more than US$20, Fiverr charges 5%. If you are selling your freelance services, the platform takes 20% of every job you complete.
- You don’t need to bid on your services. Bidding on projects is time-consuming. You need to create a bidding proposal for every project you plan to work on.
- You can create up to 10 different small profiles (gigs).
- All sellers are offered great money security. Buyers pay the agreed amount to Fiverr before you start working on the assigned task. The platform will then release the payment to you once you have delivered the work to the Buyer.
- Have strict policies that you should comply with (including the prohibition on contacting people outside Fiverr).
- Low income because of Fiverr’s high commission.
- There are a lot of freelancers on Fiverr, which means you are competing with thousands of sellers or freelancers.
Other freelance websites to consider
A bit about freelancer websites disadvantages
Although all the platforms are unique in their own way, they share common disadvantages.
- One of them is short tasks, which might be underpaid. They are great for additional income but are less welcome when they are your sole source of income. You must, therefore, avoid relying exclusively on work of this kind.
- Probably, the worst thing about freelance platforms is the potentially vast commission charged on your earnings (as much as up to 30% sometimes).
- Another area for concern is payment, which can take some time (up to several weeks for some platforms).
- The extent of competition is also a disadvantage. You constantly have to stand out and compare your services against those provided by other freelancers. It’s a psychological burden.
That’s why it’s better to avoid relying entirely on freelancer platforms. Over time, you need to be able to be more profitable and to feel better about yourself.
Businesses are slowly moving away from traditional recruiting strategies because they are time-consuming and expensive. These strategies are still in use, but they come with significant disadvantages over a well-formed social recruiting strategy—primarily when it comes to cost. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular sources for hiring remote talent. Let’s discuss each in detail.
According to Undecover Recruiter, Facebook has more than 25 million business pages. What’s more, posting is free for employers, and there’s no set limit of posts per page, which makes the site even more enticing for businesses with many jobs to fill.
How to search for remote developer jobs on Facebook?
- Review your Facebook page profile to make sure there’s nothing that would hurt a potential employer’s first impression of you. Make sure your Facebook resume puts you in the best light as somebody who wants to work for a specific organization. Facebook limits the skills you can list, so be sure to show your most relevant abilities and be as specific as possible.
- Create a list of companies to explore. To avoid “the Facebook void”, when you start out looking for one specific thing and you realize you’ve been pulled way off topic, create a list of companies you want to work for. Pay attention to culture, work-life balance, and whether you can relate to the organization’s values, apart from the desired salary.
- Start applying. You can find Facebook job postings in two places: on a specific company’s Facebook page under the Jobs tab or on a separate jobs page. Sort job listings by industry, location, skill, and job type. When you find a job that seems interesting, click the “Apply Now” button. It will take you to a page that’s pre-populated with your name, education, and any other information that’s public on your site. You can’t upload a resume, but there’s a 1,000-character text box to create a cover letter. Hit the “Send” button to get your information over to the company via a Facebook message.
The company will communicate with you through Messenger. Make sure that you “liked” and followed the companies you are interested in. This way, any new job postings the company creates will show up immediately in your news feed.
- Jobs posted by the brands and companies you already follow show up in your daily newsfeed. Subscribe to Jobs on Facebook to receive notifications as soon as new jobs are available.
- The application process is quick and easy, and it opens up a direct line of communication with the company via Messenger.
- Search does not return the most relevant results. It’s unclear if this has to do with inferior search algorithms or a lack of job listings to draw from, or both.
- It could be a headache making your profile more professional, hiding posts and photos that could hurt your application.
More than 90% of recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn to fill company job openings, and over 50 million companies have a presence here.
How to search for remote developer jobs on LinkedIn?
- Create your profile and make it stand out. Establish a profile with keywords and phrases intended to attract the attention of employers. Keep it up to date. Be comprehensive about your skills and objectives and highlight your recent experience. Let people know you are available by enabling #Open To Work feature.
- Get 500+ connections. It’s all about opportunity. It’s likely that you’ll appear more often in search results and be higher in the search rankings if you are more connected.
- Get involved in LinkedIn Professional Groups. This will help you to expand your network, show your expertise, and possibly connect you to the organizations you want to work for in the near future.
- Search for jobs by clicking the “Jobs” icon. You can use filtering at the top of the search results page. Once you’ve applied all the filters, you can switch on the Job Alert toggle and set job alerts.
- When you found the job you are interested in, there are two options to apply:
- Easy Apply (applying for the job on LinkedIn)
- Apply (you are redirected to the company or third-party website to apply for the job externally.)
We don’t recommend using the “Easy Apply” feature, as it usually doesn’t include a cover letter. All a recruiter sees is a snapshot of your LinkedIn profile — namely your photo, headline, job titles, education, and any skills you’ve listed. That’s it. It doesn’t tell your story. Plus, the company’s software might not be able to read your resume accurately.
- Another way to connect to a company is to send a direct message to its HR specialist. They are always looking for talent (at least, that’s what they say), so even if there are no current openings, your resume may be saved in a candidate database, and you’ll get a call if something comes up.
- It’s easy to learn as much as possible about a prospective employer.
- Staying in touch with your network. They can always reach out and offer a job.
- You’re able to reach out to people who work at companies you’re interested in.
- Not all employers post on LinkedIn. You can miss out on those who don’t recruit through the platform.
- It can be hard to get noticed, so you need to put a lot of effort into your profile.
Disadvantages of using social networking for searching for a remote developer job
- There’s a lack of control over what others say about your postings, which could potentially create an unprofessional online image.
- It is possible to see who your contacts are. It can accidentally happen that you have an executive from a rival company of a firm you have applied for as your connection. This can send a wrong signal and dent your chances.
- It is very difficult to stand out.
- You have to be ready to invest a good amount of time and be committed to it. You will never know when you are getting replies or queries, so you have to be on it almost all the time.
Direct application to remote-friendly companies
COVID-19 has made adjustments to the working process, and more and more companies operate 100% remotely. Here’s a few of them:
If you already have some companies in mind you want to work for, check out their career pages. Remote IT positions are getting more and more popular. Startups, for example, don’t have the budget for office spaces and have a distributed team around the globe anyway.
If the website doesn’t show the current opening where you could be a great fit, approach the company directly. As long as you have a clear vision of your end goal and can present yourself, an unsolicited application can be effective.
What you need to do is to find the name of the HR specialist that is relevant for your job position and send them an individual email. Tell exactly who you are and how the company can benefit from your skills! Don’t write what you want, but focus on what they will get.
- You can see the exact vacancy description and decide if it’s a good fit for you.
- Cutting out the middleman can speed up the process and decrease any risks of miscommunication / misunderstandings during the hiring process.
- It’s time-consuming to monitor vacancies non-stop.
- It takes time to communicate with HRs and find out the important details of a particular vacancy.
- A lot of companies don’t post their openings publicly.
Hiring agencies or staffing agencies act as a middleman between developers and employers, helping to match qualified candidates with companies that have job openings.
Most hiring agencies (like YouTeam and Supersourcing) work only with development agencies, not individual developers, and access to their talent pool is invitation-only. So first you have to be in a talent pool of an agency successfully vetted by a hiring platform.
A lot fewer agencies cooperate with developers directly. Some of them, like Motion Recruitment, are not remote-friendly and work with developers that are authorized to work in the United States. Others, like Proxify, ITCraftship, and Turing do work with remote software engineers, who go through a multi-stage vetting process — tech assessment, English test, internal interview, and employer interview.
All these hiring agencies have one thing in common — they are representing employers’ interests and help them save company time on finding the right talent with reduced potential legal risks. Such agencies charge a markup that typically ranges from 25% to 100% of the hired employee’s wages.
- You don’t need to spend time on the job search.
- Everything is organized and managed by your agency and the hiring platform. All you have to do is your job.
- These agencies work for the benefit of employers, not job seekers, so the main benefits are also for employers: faster hiring, higher-quality candidates, specialist knowledge.
- You will have to go through a strict vetting process, and if you fit the job, it doesn’t mean the job fits you. For example, it just won’t click because there will be a lack of communication, and you don’t like the management style.
- You can wait for ages to get a decent job offer.
Are there agencies that serve the best interests of developers, not employers? Yes, there are. At least one.
Cooperation with Mitrix Connect
Mitrix Development company has been outsourcing software development for over five years. Cooperating with businesses, the company has noticed that some companies do not want to hire third-party agencies for software development but prefer to have remote engineers on their staff.
Through trial and error, Mitrix found out that it was much easier to communicate with the management of a company through the professional tech community in Slack than through traditional cold calls and emails. As a result, the company launched its own software Leadguru — an automated social selling platform that monitors vacancies in online communities. This software allows not only to find leads for software development companies but also to find opportunities for the developers who are seeking a remote job in the USA or Europe.
Leadguru finds a lot of vacancies that are not presented on other sources and allows communicating with employers directly. These vacancies are being offered to the developers. This service is named Mitrix Connect.
What Mitrix Connect does
- Invites developers who are interested in direct cooperation with a western employer. Mitrix forms a pull of professionals in different frameworks who are ready to work independently in the international market.
- Monitors relevant offers for hiring remote employees, contacts employers and sends them resumes of developers that fit the requests.
The vetting process
- Reviewing an application
- Asking to take a short English check
- Doing live interview
- Doing a tech interview
The company acts in the developer’s interests as an agent helping to organize an interview and provide consulting services for developers. A developer will be charged a small percentage of their salary each month for Mitrix Connect service after signing a contract between a developer and an employer.
- Monitors jobs in professional online communities like Slack and Discord. Thus, Mitrix has immediate access to vacancies that are not available for a broad audience. Developers get the best jobs according to a developer needs with the highest rates
- Reaches out to employers directly and specifies requirements, saving developers’ time.
- Works with reliable employers.
- Acts as developers’ agent helping them to pass interviews and assisting in legal paperwork.
- Developers will get a full amount from the employer.
- The best vacancy may be offered for a developer when they have already engaged with the project.
- Mitrix charges 10% from a developer’s salary during an entire contract.
- The contract with the company can be cancelled for the two-month salary amount.
To wrap it up
We’ve discussed several working options for finding a remote developer job in the U.S. employment market. They all have their advantages and are worth a try. It’s just important to have in mind their peculiarities. If you have a lot of free time and are ready to dedicate yourself to job search, then job boards, direct application, and social platforms are your pick. If you are looking for some extra, short work — go to freelance platforms. If you are ready to go through a strict vetting process and adapt to the employer’s management style, but have good money — choose hiring agencies. However, if you want to engage in a long-term project where you will get decent pay without having to spend months and months looking for employers it may be a good idea to cooperate with Mitrix.