When Chintan Patel first started looking for a remote customer support position in June 2020, he must have sent out over 200 emails to companies. He didn’t get a single bite.
A U.S. citizen who had been living in India for the past six years, Chintan was educated, experienced, and personable. The married father of two was currently working in a customer service capacity for a restaurant in India but aspired to work for a global company that would allow him to grow, learn, and help customers all over the world. And to do so from his home country.
“I started reading blogs about remote-first companies and remote customer support jobs…. By November 2020, I had figured out instead of quantity, I needed to focus on quality. So, I started spending about three to four days on each application. I researched the company, the hiring manager, and how I can have an impact on the team.”
It was an improvement. Around mid-December 2020, Chintan had his first remote customer support interview with Hopin. “I didn’t get the job, but I knew the formula was working.”
After an interview at Oyster with Head of Remote Rhys Black, Chintan was introduced to the Distributed Bootcamp program, formerly Remote Ready, designed to help would-be remote workers learn remote working best practices, communication tools, and soft skills to land a remote position.
“I jumped on the opportunity to develop new skills and contacts.”
Practical skills for remote success
While Chintan had experience as a customer support representative, he wasn’t skilled at working remotely or highlighting the right skills to employers hiring for remote roles—like the ability to work autonomously. Through the program, he developed an understanding of asynchronous work, learned new tools like Slack and Notion, and developed confidence to network with strangers. He credits Program Manager Mohamed Chamas for that.
One of his favorite things about the program is that it’s designed to be completed asynchronously. “I have a full-time, seven-day-a-week job, so the flexibility to complete the modules during my free time was really helpful.”
Maybe one of the most immediately impactful lessons was on how to revamp his LinkedIn profile to highlight who he is and why he would make a great remote employee.
And it worked.
Coming full circle
Following the program, Chintan posted his certificate to LinkedIn and suddenly hiring managers were responding to his messages within just two hours. Chintan had applied the lessons he learned and was starting to see real results.
Everything came full circle when Hopin’s hiring manager (who he had interviewed with previously) asked him to apply for a remote customer support position they had available. This time he was successful.
He credits his success to the lessons he learned in the program. “I would still be looking for a job if I had not completed the certification program, and if I didn’t have that on my resume and cover letter,” he says. “The first time, I didn’t make it to the second round of interviews. This time, I went straight through to the Head of Customer Support.”
Words of advice for remote job seekers
It’s been a long time coming for Chintan. His entire journey from start to finish was about 11 months. But he knows the juice is worth the squeeze.
So what would he say to job seekers?
“Just do it. Just keep on doing it. Have faith that you can get into it.” In essence, don’t give up. Other advice he shared with me is to learn the tools you need to work remotely and share that on your resume and in the interview, develop your experience into a story, and highlight that you can manage yourself and work with little supervision.
Finally, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Network. Reach out to hiring managers. The worst that can happen is they’ll ignore you. And quite frankly, that’s not so bad. “At the end of the program, I learned you have to connect somewhere.”
Want to read more stories of how workers found their remote jobs? Check out Roberto's story.
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