Job hunting can be a long, tiresome, and an overall frustrating process. You spend countless hours putting together a resume, applying and interviewing and you still have no luck. It can be a mental drain and an emotional hit on your self esteem.
After a few months of striking out, candidates will come up with excuses to explain why they haven’t had luck in landing a position. Usually you will hear that there aren’t any jobs available in their field or that the market is saturated with candidates. The sad truth is that there are jobs out there in your field and other candidates are landing those jobs.
What if I told you that it isn’t about how many jobs are available or how many people were applying? Maybe there is something you are forgetting or maybe there is something you need to change?
What to do?
The good news is that if you need to make a change it is usually an easy fix. Most of the time if candidate is doing something wrong they may not even realize. Take a look at the tips below. Some of these are no brainers, but it may make you may realize that you need to make a few changes.
Are you taking action?
Whenever I have a candidate tell me that they are not having luck finding a job I always ask them about their process. How are you searching for jobs? Do you send out the same resume to everyone? How are you preparing for your interview? The typical response is that they have posted their resume online and they haven’t heard from anyone.
The most important key to any job search is that you need to be proactive. If you are looking for a job, you need to grab the bull by the horns and take action. Today there are so many tools out there from professional networking sites to job posting boards that can help assist in your search. If these tools are utilized correctly they should warrant solid success.
It’s a great idea to sign up on various job sites to get alerts when new positions are posted. Many of them even have apps that make it even easier! You can also use networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to help find common connections and leads.
If you are in need of immediate traffic to you resume you can post your your resume publicly, but be sure to review The Cons… and Pros of posting your resume online.
Here are a few great articles on some of the current tools and how to get the most out of them:
Are you looking at the right jobs?
This tends to be a very common issue for job seekers that aren’t having much luck. It is important to apply for positions in which you are qualified and that fall in your realm of experience.
If you haven’t had any experience and are looking to transition to a completely new field it may be a challenge. It will be very difficult to compete against a more experienced applicant. My suggestion is that if you are looking to change fields, try your best to highlight any applicable experience that they are looking for on your resume. This can be anything from training courses, past jobs, or even software experience.
You also have to look at the requirements and decide if you are qualified, under qualified or over qualified. A lot of times when job seekers are having no luck they will just start applying to any and all positions hoping that something comes to fruition. Honestly this is a bad strategy. You do not want to blast your resume all around town as it raises a major red flag. If you apply for a position that requires 10 years of experience and you only have 3 it is highly unlikely that you are getting an interview. The same thing goes in the opposite direction. If you have 10 years of experience and they are looking for 3 they will consider you overqualified. The experience requirements are there on purpose and they tend to stick to them plus or minus a few years.
Are you tweaking your resume?
This is a big one. I did a piece on How Long Employers Look at You Resume and the results were pretty shocking. You only have 6 minutes! With that being said it is even more important to tweak your resume to the opportunity that you are applying for. Employers are sifting through hundreds of resumes looking for certain buzz words and experience so you need to make sure you have it listed properly. Look at the job description and be sure that you highlight any specific experience that they are looking for in your resume.
Have you done your homework?
Research is a huge key when it comes to landing a job because it reiterates your interest in the opportunity. It also shows that you are taking the process seriously and that you respect the Hiring Manager’s time.
Be familiar with the job description. Have an idea of what they are looking for and bring examples of past experience that is pertains to the position that you are interviewing for. Also, research the company and familiarize yourself with their products, management staff, etc. I always suggest marking down a few questions that come up in your research as it makes for good talking points.
How’s your attitude?
Even if you are the perfect candidate for the job you can still mess it up with a bad attitude. It is important to be personable, energetic, and likable. Make sure that you listen and smile often. Don’t be over confident or brag. Try to relax and be easy to talk to. Keep your body language in mind and make sure you have good eye contact.
Are you practicing and getting input?
Practice makes perfect right? Even though it may sound silly this could be something that could help you land your next position. Recruit a family member to conduct a mock interview. Have them ask you a series of questions about your background, experience, future goals etc. I also suggest having them ask you a random question that you aren’t expecting to make you think on your toes! When you are finished have them give you some feedback. This will help you fix any problem areas that you may be having and it will also help you nail down answers to some of the commonly asked questions.
How is your presentation?
Finally, take a minute and review your presentation. Start with your attire and ensure that you are property dressed for the position in which you are interviewing. If you are unsure check out our post on What Do I Wear to a Job Interview? Make sure that you are prepared and don’t arrive too early. When you meet with folks be sure to give a nice firm handshake, introduce yourself, and make eye contact. It is always a good idea to bring extra copies of your resume with you. Take the process seriously and don’t joke around too much. Stay interested throughout the whole interview and make sure that you don’t look bored.
Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig. Follow his blog for more great tips like this!