Here are 8 reasons why your job search might be failing, and what you can do about it.
1.) You aren’t exploring your options
Finding a job IS a full time job. You should be searching online, leafing through newspapers, visiting establishments, working your contacts, making cold calls, and attending job fairs. You should not be applying for jobs one at a time, waiting for interviews, and moving on if you get rejected. That kind of minimal effort will limit your options to a trickle.
2.) You aren’t being aggressive enough
Beyond pursuing a wide range of recruitment resources, you should be communicating aggressively with the companies at which you’ve applied. After sending in your cover letter and resume, you’ll hopefully get a quick response from the company.
However, if you don’t, wait until the following week to send a follow up e-mail, politely asking if they received your application materials, and that you’re looking forward to exploring your opportunities with the company.
Obviously you shouldn’t go overboard with badgering e-mails, but the fact is that hiring managers can often become very busy. Even if they’re interested in you, e-mails can flood into their inbox and soon enough they’ll have forgotten you exist. Remind them.
3.) Your resume isn’t up to par
So, you’ve been vigorously exploring your options, and have been aggressive about contacting potential employers – but you’re still coming up short. Don’t worry! It’s probably not you. It’s your resume.
Given that this is Resume Companion, we’ve got a wealth of excellent tips and rules that will help you write a much better resume. I would recommend reading the following three posts, in order, and following their instructions closely.
You cannot go wrong if you update your resume to adhere to the standards we’ve outlined in the above posts. Get started now.
4.) You just don’t have the experience
In some cases, the problem might be that you don’t have any higher education, or your work experience is spotty. You may have only worked in stints for a year or lower, with large gaps of time not working. And the work you did do may have been quite basic, which will lead hiring managers to be skeptical of your abilities.
There are a few things that you can do in this situation, and none of them are easy. They require either taking a leap of faith, or breaking old habits.
A. Go (back) to school.
Getting a degree can knock down at least part of your problem, and can at least lead to you getting internships, which can solve your work experience problems too.
B. Start volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to demonstrate that you’re an active person, and you can learn valuable skills from the jobs you’re required to do for them.
C. Aim for low wage jobs
There’s nothing wrong with eating some humble pie for a while. You’ll generate income, gather work experience, and be able to think carefully about what you might be interested in doing in the future. If possible, try to do a mix of volunteering or school while doing this job for the best results. Obviously, some jobs can be totally exhausting.
5.) You’re suffering from discrimination
It’s completely illegal, but everyone knows it happens. If you’re a minority, or an older person, it’s possible that you’re being discriminated against. Actually, and this is not to discount the tangible effects that racism still has in America today, ageism is one of the biggest sources of job discrimination in modern times.
I would be very careful about blaming your job search issues on discrimination, however. This can have a defeating effect on your psychology, and cause hopelessness. This page has a lot of great information about age discrimination, how to notice it, and how to combat it.
6.) You aren’t interviewing well
Maybe your resume is written up well, and you’ve been aggressive about the search. You’re getting interviews, but you just can’t seem to clinch the job.
You may need to brush up on your interview skills. You may appear to be nervous, fidgety, and unprepared, leading your interviewer to think that you’re untrustworthy, or incapable of doing the job. That would be unfortunate, especially if you are qualified for the job, and are normally a calm and competent person outside of the unnatural interview process.
I’ve written up an article about how to prepare yourself mentally for an interview. If you’re having problems in this area, that article should be helpful.
7.) You’re not doing your research in an organized manner
Part of crafting eye-catching resumes and cover letters is making sure you’ve tailored your resume and cover letter really catch the attention of a company’s hiring manager. To do that, you need to do some proper research on the company and their goals. Most job seekers do minimal research on the companies they apply for, and as a result they are unprepared when it comes to the interview stage (see point number 6 in this list). To help you stay organized when doing your company research and application process, we’ve made a handy spreadsheet you can access here. Just select ‘Make a copy’ in the ‘File’ menu and you’ll be on your way!
8.) You’re just having bad luck
You can’t rule out that the Universe just isn’t on your side! Especially if you’ve just started out on the job hunt, you should be treating failures like dirt on your shoulder. Just wipe it off, and keep moving forward. Even a long string of failures could just be bad luck.
As long as you’re trying your best, and taking as much good job search advice as possible, you’ll eventually be successful. So don’t give up!