How to Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter for Flexible Jobs

Tailor your job search documents

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One of the most common tips we career experts shout from our office rooftops is that one must always tailor job search documents. When an astute client was recently seeking a job with a flexible work arrangement, she wondered if she should apply the same principle to her resume and cover letter. But what exactly would this look like in terms of a flex position?

Tailor Your Job Search Documents

In general, your job search materials will remain relatively the same as those you submit for non-flexible jobs. However, there are a few tweaks you can make that may help your application stand out in the crowd. Below are five suggestions for tailoring your resume and cover letter for flexible positions, whether they involve remote, part-time, compressed hours, contract, or job sharing arrangements.

Caveat: These changes are only recommended for jobs that already have flexibility built into the position. In other words, they are marketed as being a “remote job” or “job sharing position.” If the role is a traditional, non-flex position, I would recommend avoiding any indication of desiring flexibility until you receive a verbal offer. Then you can request a flexible arrangement as part of your negotiation strategy (that will be another blog post).

On the Resume

1.  If you have worked past jobs with the same type of flexibility as the position to which you are applying, highlight this on your resume next to the job title:

ABC Research Institute, Chicago, IL
Research Associate (50% remote position, company based in Charlotte, NC), 2010-2015

  • Bullet point 1
  • Bullet point 2

2.  In addition, emphasize particular details of your past flexible positions to demonstrate a favorable experience, either as bullet points on your resume and/or as a paragraph in your cover letter (see #5 for the latter). For example, if you are applying for a remote position, it can be beneficial to share specifics about your home office set up.

  • Partnered with co-worker for a job sharing position, communicating daily to ensure seamless transition and completion of work responsibilities. Arrangement successfully lasted for five years until co-worker left the company.
  • Administered highly rated customer service to clients in Asia and North America via a home-based office with high-speed Internet connection, conferencing software, a multipurpose printer/scanner/fax machine, and a back-up power supply.

3.  If you have had multiple short-term or project-based gigs, give yourself a title and combine them into one entry, which often has a greater overall impact on a resume:

Independent Research Consultant, New York, NY, 2010-Present
Collaborated with a range of organizations to manage and deliver brand and market research projects; clients include a Fortune 100 IT company, healthcare start-up, and educational non-profit.

  • Designed global survey exploring consumer attitudes toward Artificial Intelligence, leading to thought leadership platform for communications client.
  • Conceived and managed online consumer panel research into Gen X retirement and health planning, providing communications guidance for financial services providers.
  • Bullet Point 3 – Describe another project and a result

4.  Whether or not you have had past flexible work positions, be sure to highlight specific skills and personal traits that are particularly important for most types of flexible schedules. These aspects may related to organization, working in fast-paced environments, teamwork, independence, and collaboration. In addition, FlexJobs suggests addressing time management, initiative, self-discipline, resourcefulness, problem-solving, and communication skills. You can incorporate demonstrations of these traits and skills in your cover letter, the summary statement on your resume.

Furthermore, it is crucial to integrate results into your bullet points to stress that “despite” your non-traditional arrangement, you are able to deliver top quality and impactful work. A result may not be possible for every bullet point, but add them where you can. Note that the following examples also emphasize communication and collaboration, which are key when you are not in the office five days a week, as well as accomplishments.

  • Managed multiple high-profile projects and met tight deadlines by communicating consistently and proactively with team, other staff members, and clients in North America and Europe. Recognized for ability to identify substantial cost-saving measures, saving $1 million with most recent project.
  • Led staff across North America in strategic marketing and rebranding initiative, resulting in record improvement of revenues and profitability for three consecutive years.

In the Cover Letter

5. In your cover letter, it can be beneficial to include a brief paragraph dedicated to explaining your past experiences with flexible arrangements (if any), as well as skills you have developed that show you are, or will be, a competent flexible worker (refer back to #4 for examples of such skills). This section should appear as one of your last paragraphs before you close your letter, thank the reader, and sign off. Note that there is no mention of why YOU want a flexible position; rather, it is focused on your skills and experiences that apply to the specific position and employer. Remember, your materials should be all about what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you.

If you’ve had past flexible work arrangements:

I am enthusiastic about the remote work (two days per week) nature of this role. In my past job at Company A, I successfully worked from home two days per week for a period of five years. Through this experience, I learned how to set up an effective remote office, manage my time and resources efficiently, and communicate and collaborate adeptly with staff members and teams across the world.

If you have not had past flexible work arrangements:

I am enthusiastic about the remote work (two days per week) nature of this role. Through my past work experiences, I have developed many skills that will enhance my ability to be a successful remote worker. For example, I have collaborated and communicated with teams and staff members located in offices around the U.S., strengthened my time management and problem solving skills as I balanced multiple projects, and set up an effective remote office when I occasionally worked from home.

By communicating to employers that you have the skills and personal traits to adeptly handle a flexible job, they will feel more confident that you truly understand their needs and the requirements of the position. And that, my friends, is the entire point of tailoring your job search documents!

Readers, how have you tailored your job search documents for a flexible position? 

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