Have you been looking for a new job for some time, only to repeatedly get turned down? Or worse yet, apply and apply online only to hear nothing? I’ll warn you up front that this is a longer than usual blog, but I hope you find it valuable.
The length of time it takes to get a job is getting longer. I read an article in US News & World Report that explains why. There are many factors, and for those who have not been in the job market for some time, it’s a difficult reality. More people in the market, more reliance on technology, longer interviewing cycles, and the list goes on. Read the article to get some great insights.
I’ve coached hundreds of job seekers. Most land jobs fairly quickly due to experience and skills that are in high demand. They are the lucky ones. For the rest, not so much. Whether it’s a specific skill that’s not currently in demand, your length of time unemployed, or any number of mitigating circumstances, it can be difficult to land that next great job.
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve seen is the inability or refusal to take a good long look in the mirror. If you are educated, highly skilled, have recent work experience, but are still not landing jobs; there could very well be something you are overlooking. Here are a few that I’ve seen many times.
RESUME. Yes, it all starts here with the resume. You think you have a great one. People like ‘the way it looks’. But, remember, the resume is about telling the EMPLOYER what THEY need to know about you. People get very attached to their resumes, their stories. They want to include EVERYTHING, resulting in a 4-page monster. Keep it simple. Include only what’s pertinent for the job you seek. Make it easy for THEM to read and make them want to learn more about you. The resume’s job is to get you invited in for an interview. Don’t leave it all to paper. Only you can tell your story best!
NETWORK. You’ve been working hard for years, thinking your job is secure or you are simply happy where you are at, so you’ve neglected your network. Bad idea. You should ALWAYS keep your network alive. Be available to help others. You never know when the shoe will be on the other foot. Grow your network on LinkedIn. Having a large and healthy network can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the length of your search. People like hiring referrals.
INTERVIEW. Ok, let’s get real. You’re getting interviews. Yay! That means your network and your resume are working for you! You’ve passed the first two steps. But why are you the one getting the email telling you that while you were a strong candidate, they’ve gone with another candidate? The reality may be the competition was internal, or someone’s friend, but the stark truth may simply be that you aren’t interviewing well. There is an art to interviewing. It takes work, practice, and confidence. If you aren’t doing all three, you’re like to continue getting those emails. Practice your stories, review the job description, read up on the company, PREPARE GOOD QUESTIONS. Figure you’ll spend several hours preparing for each interview.
APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS. This has become an ugly term to many job seekers. An applicant tracking system is a software package that allows companies to filter through hundreds of resumes and applications online. The numbers vary, but in general, if your resume is not at least an 80% match to the criteria assigned by the employer, no human eyes will ever see your resume. Don’t rely on sitting at home behind your computer to land a job. Get out. Network. Ask for informational interviews! If you think sitting at home will land you your next job, you’re in for a very long search.
JOB FIT. Sure, there are jobs out there that you’d love to do, that are sexy or interesting. But be real. Do you have the skills and experience to support your candidacy? If not, you will pale in comparison with the hundreds of other applicants to do have what’s needed. If you really want to change careers, be prepared to do the work required. That might be to go back to school, or do an internship to gain some real experience. Do not expect a company to hire you because you ‘know you can do the job’. They need evidence to back you up.
RESEARCH. You can’t expect companies to hire you simply because you are skilled. Companies are hiring you to help THEM make their business a success. You aren’t doing them a favor, and last time I checked, companies weren’t doing that for you. Do your research. Find out WHY you want to work for them. Culture? Pay? Mission or Values? Technology? Take the time to have this answer. If you don’t, I’ll guarantee you your competition does.
The point is, if you’re not getting interviews or if you’re not winning the job, stop and look in the mirror. What is missing? What aren’t you doing? If you can’t figure it out, seek advice – from a trusted friend, a professional, an advisor. The right job IS out there for you. Once you figure out what the obstacle is and resolve it, nothing will stop you and you WILL land that perfect job!
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.