Why Can’t I Find a Job?

Finding Your Stumbling Block

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes “Top 100 Career Websites”.

I consult with hundreds of clients every year, and the number one question I get asked is “Why can’t I find a job?” You can imagine that when the economy is challenging like it’s been over the past 12 months, this is on the mind of so many job seekers. Those in an active job search often become frustrated because they expect instant results-and that rarely happens in a job search.  Hunting for a new job is tough, it just is. If you’ve been in the grind for a while, it’s time to step back and really look at your situation objectively. Obviously, there are some factors that are beyond your control. Maybe internal candidates have been chosen, maybe for positions for which you were qualified had never even been posted, and the list goes on and on. But there are aspects of a job search that you CAN control and you need to evaluate these. Here are some to consider to help you understand what you may want to do differently. 

Your Resume

Have you updated your resume in the past five years? If not, that’s a problem! Even if you’ve been in the same job for longer than five years, surely you are learning new skills and achieving new goals that should be documented on your resume. A resume is a living document that needs to be revisited and updated on an annual basis. If you’re not doing this, then your resume could be the “dead” document that is thwarting your job search. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, have your resume critiqued by a certified professional resume writer. Make the recommended changes yourself, or, hire the service to ensure that you’re getting the best documents you can to market your skills. Yes…this is an investment, but you’re investing in your future. 

Social Media Presence

As a job seeker today, you must have a presence on social media. As soon as someone hears your name, the curiosity sets in, and a search will commence. Will you be found? Google yourself. What shows up? Clean up your social media profiles-both professional and personal. Be sure that your professional profiles clearly communicate your skill, experience, education, and value you can offer potential employers.  If you’re on Facebook, beef up your privacy settings. Don’t let strangers see your activity or allow your friends to tag you in photos or post onto your page. For other sites like Instagram and Twitter, keep your settings on private so that you have to approve any new followers. 

Ensure your LinkedIn profile has all the sections complete. This is where employers are finding their next hires. Be sure your profile brands you appropriately, is free of typos, and is filled with industry-specific keywords and keyword phrases that will get you found during SEO searches. Your profile photos should not be from your college fraternity days. A clear headshot with a clean background works best. Join groups and network within those groups. NOTE: Don’t comment on posts or in chats where you have no clue what you’re talking about. 

Job Search Tactics

Before you go down the “why me” path, you need to take a long look in the mirror and ask these questions…

  • What am I actually doing to find a job?
  • How much time and effort am I devoting to my job search?
  • What types of networking opportunities am I taking advantage of? 

Asking these questions will help you to determine what you aren’t doing well, and how you can do things better. Are you only searching for job posts on one or two sites? Are you targeting individual companies, and if so, are you applying for jobs directly on their site? What about networking? Are you engaging in conversations on social media sites or even attending job fairs? In today’s competitive job market, you need to be diligent in exploring as many paths as possible to find your next job.

job interview

When searching for a job, there are factors beyond your control. But there are facets that you CAN control.

The Interview

You scored the interview! How you look, speak, and act during the interview can and probably will, make the difference between getting an offer, or a “we went with another candidate” letter.

Now it’s time to prepare. Study the company culture, including the position you’re interviewing for. Understand what the company does, who they deal with, and what expectations they have for your position. If you have a contact in the company, seek him out and ask a few questions so that you can dress appropriately, as well as can speak the company language during your interview. Be the answer to their pain points.

During the interview, listen carefully to all questions before you answer. If you get a “stumper” (and you will), don’t get flustered! Take a deep breath and think before your answer. Have concrete details of why you are the best candidate for the job, and speak to the credentials on your resume to reiterate your most important qualifications and achievements. Make sure you KNOW your resume. Nothing is worse than being asked about something on your resume and you come up empty!

Follow up with a thank-you note addressed directly to the person(s) you interviewed with. Even if you feel the interview didn’t go as well as you had hoped, you’re always leaving a good final impression when you send a thank you.

When searching for a job, there are factors beyond your control. But there are facets that you CAN control, and taking a hard look at each part of the job searching process to determine where you may need to make adjustments is crucial to finding your next position.

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