Not Remotely Optional (+ 202 remote roles)

Hey all,

I have a number of Q&As with companies that are hiring remotely that are in the works but are not quite ready to go out yet. I wanted to hold out sending the next issue of the newsletter until those Q&As came together; I’ll instead include them in a separate issue over the next week. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions that you like to ask startups that are hiring remotely about their application process, culture, what they value in a remote hire or anything else.

❶ Not Remotely Optional

Inspired by Index Ventures’ Not Optional initiative, I’ve created Not Remotely Optional to bring attention to companies that offer stock options to at least a portion of their remote staff.

At present, the project has 50+ companies that I’ve gathered together. If you’re looking for your next remote role at a startup, I encourage you use Not Remotely Optional as a jumping off point. Most of the info here is from AngelList and is highly reliable.

The company info includes the types of roles that they’ve recently had open where stock options were advertised as part of compensation and the geographies where they’d consider hiring.

The focus on stock options isn’t to the exclusion of a livable base salary; all companies here were/are offering stock options and a salary.

From here, I intend to use this as a means of starting conversations with all of these companies, and I’ll continue to add to this list. The goal here is really to shine a light on remote companies that are offering stock options, to encourage more to do so, and to potentially start a larger conversation about the barriers that are in place to offer cross-border stock options in some jurisdictions.

The other goal is that in starting conversations with these companies I can learn 1) about their hiring practices and culture to give all members of this community a leg up when applying, and 2) to try to directly connect members of this community with open roles there.

Not Remotely Optional

Questions, comments, feedback: Email me.

❷ Pre-Application Process

What are the series of things that you should do before you actually begin applying for your next role? That’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. The pre-application process sets up the foundation for the job hunt. What steps can help you reduce some of the inevitable stress and anxiety that comes from applying? What steps can increase your chances of successfully landing a job, or better yet, a job that you want? It’s something that I’m going to come back to, explore, expand on, as I gather resources. Below are a few tips to help set a strong foundation for your next job hunt:

  • Figure what type of job you want. Obviously, this might seem self-evident. But it’s worth writing down what type of company you’d like to work at, what type of role you’d like to land, what you want to be doing on day-to-day basis, and perhaps some things that you’d like to avoid. It’s a living document. Go back and refine it as you move through the process.

  • Set up a schedule. Key to not feeling overwhelmed. Block off chunks of your calendar for specific tasks (e.g. finding roles, crafting a cover letter).

  • Master resume. Gather together all info from previous roles in one doc. Add everything. I offer to help members by reviewing and providing feedback on their CV. One problem is that it’s difficult to suggest what else might be added to a bullet point, how else the narrative of your career journey might be told, or what else to emphasize for a specific role because I have a limited view of what you’ve done in each role. This will help. It’ll also help as you craft different versions of your CV, tailored to different roles. Here’s a good guide.

  • Update your CV. One important note: one column CV might be best for getting past ATS. But if you have someone’s email address and you’re reaching out directly, I’d opt to go with a two column layout.

  • Make a list of contacts and reach out to them. Try asking for referrals.

  • Update LinkedIn.

  • Try posting content regularly.

  • Work on your 2-3 sentence bio. Figure out how to concisely answer the question every interview begins with: “tell me about yourself.” Highlight hard and soft skills. If you’ve worked at a name brand company, name drop them. Then practice. If you’ve got a good one, and you’re open to sharing, send it over or pop it in the community channel on Slack.

Are you looking for a connection before you apply to a specific company. Send me an email with the company you’re looking to get hired at and I’ll put a call out in the Slack group to see if someone has a connection.

❸ Breathing Techniques to Get Things Done

Applying to jobs can be a difficult thing to get motivated to do or it can be completely distracting, as you feel pulled in a million different directions, with a long list of things to do. Here’s a couple breathing techniques from neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman’s that will help you focus.

  • Two techniques (starting at about 1:16:57):

    1. Some people aren’t aroused or motivated enough. Can’t send the email, get the project done, do the next thing on the to do list.

      For this state, you need to get good at taking yourself from low energy to high energy; learning how to self-generate adrenaline. You need to practice super oxygenated breathingtake 25-30 deep breathes in through the nose and out through the mouth.

    2. Some people are in a constant of being drawn off course. You have difficulty putting the blinders on. Learning to calm the nervous system here is very powerful.

      For this state, you need to practice physiological sighs: two inhales, followed by an extended exhale. Not just a deep breathe. It’s that specific breathing pattern. Sometimes you only need one of these double inhales, and sometimes people need two or three.

❹ Writing Practice (Zoom)

We should all strive to be better writers or written communicators. Regardless of the role that you’re after, or your career aspirations, it’s a skill that will set you apart from everyone else that you’re competing against–for a job, for followers, for investors.

If you’re interested in improving your writing, whether that’s for a cover letter, or for blog posts, or for anything else, I’ve slotted a half hour in my calendar daily for practice. For those interested in improving, come meet daily, via Zoom. There won’t be any talking; the group will hold each other accountable. If you’re interested, shoot me an email.

On that note, Alexander Chee’s book ‘How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays’ is a book that you should read, consume, digest, and that can help you become a better writer, even if you don’t want to write an autobiography. It’s fantastic.


  • 1-on-1s: I tested out a tool to automate the 1-on-1s in the Slack. For the time being, I’m going back to the manual process. If you want connect with someone from the community, shoot me an email with “1-on-1s” in the subject line and your brief bio.

  • Talk to me: Regardless of whether you’re a paid member or on the free list, I want to know how I can help you. What part of the job hunt process are you stuck at? Are you looking for a connection? Do you want to know more about negotiating and compensation? Shoot me an email. This is open-ended. Tell me some things about you and where you’re at. It’ll help keep you top of mind for when something comes up.

  • Two wins to highlight: Gabe recently landed a new design role after making a connection in the Slack group, and Christine recently rebooted her resume with the minimalist CV templates and landed a new customer success role. Congrats to both!

Chris ️

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