Common Job Search Problems
In this blog post, we have chronicled some common complaints from job seekers and explored several tested ways to overcome them.
Problem #1: I have applied for many jobs, but I’m not getting any interviews
There is no need to worry if you find yourself in this situation. Here are five ways you can overcome this frustration:
You will need to do targeted networking to become positively linked with your industry of interest. The number of your friends on Facebook or connects on LinkedIn are not a guarantee that you will be able to network your way into the job of your dreams. Start by attending talks hosted by renowned experts, industry events and even happy hours – and don’t forget to get business cards! Usually, these people are very connected to others who might be able to help you get a job; but remember it’s more important to connect to a few people with large networks. These people are typically harder to reach, but are worth the effort. Another quick way to do this is to reach out to recruiters through either LinkedIn or a recruitment agency.
Set up informational interviews
Once you have beefed up your network and connected with people of interest, arrange informational meetings (or “informational interviews” as they are typically called). This is a quick way to get into a real interview. There is a common saying that goes, “If you want an interview for a job, ask for job advice from people in that area.”
Revamp your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles
Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? Does it highlight your accomplishments? It is critical that you put some thought into your summary statement and highlight your experiences and strengths. Likewise, if you are not proud of some photos on Facebook, now is the time to take them down and remove any tags you might not want your future employer to see.
Create a traceable resume:
Most resumes are first read by a computer which matches keywords for the position with the applicant’s resume. Therefore, it is surprising to see such a large number of resumes that are still not ATS-friendly. We suggest customizing your resume for every single job application to ensure that you can add as many keywords to it as possible. We also recommend using an online resume software to do this, which will ensure that your resume can be read by an ATS machine. As a general rule, remember that most of the formatting that makes a resume visually appealing cannot always be read by an ATS machine.
Remodel cover letters
For most of us, a cover letter is an inconvenience that we just want to get out of the way so we can complete the next application. This is a major mistake. Let’s face it, most people don’t meet all the requirements for every job, but the cover letter is a chance for you to shine. Remember to use as many keywords in the job description as possible. We suggest using a cover letter tool to help with this.
Problem #2: I’m getting many interviews, but no job offers
In many ways, a job interview is a lot like a first date. Maybe the interviewer didn’t like your perfume or cologne (by the way, don’t wear these for an interview) or maybe you just weren’t the right fit. But assuming you are the right fit for the job, here are some ways you can maximize you chances of getting an offer:
Bring Your Own Self (BYOS)
You’re probably desperate to get the job – or any job – but it’s important to play it cool. Have you ever noticed that the guys with all the girls are also the ones who attract even more girls? The same is true about the job hunt: if you want something too badly, you’re not likely to get it. You can’t come off as too desperate. Psych yourself up the right way before any interview. Tell yourself that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t land this job. Be confident in your own ability and remember that nobody can know it all. Prepare hard, visualize your future success and have the attitude that if you don’t get the job, it simply wasn’t meant to be.
The more people who can recommend you for a job before and after the interview, the better. Get connected with as many influential people within the company as possible. Learn about hiring managers and reach out to as many people as you can who will put in a good word for you. A lot of advertised jobs already have internal candidates shortlisted. Perhaps you landed an interview because an insider recommended you, but remember that other people can be recommended for jobs by even more powerful and influential insiders. We all like to believe that merit and qualifications will always triumph, but strong human relationships are the most fundamental merit of all.
Admittedly, storytelling is a hard thing to master; however, you don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to do it right. If you have to think hard about stories you want to tell during the interview, it’s probably too late to make a positive impression. Begin by thinking about your qualifications and accomplishments (spare some thought for your failures as well) about a week before the interview. Develop a list of likely interview questions and write out your answers to them. Frame your answers in the PSR (Problem, Solution, Result) format. Revise and revisit them often, especially before any interview.
The very definition of “insanity” is “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Always seek feedback. We’ve heard people say that not all interviewers are willing to provide feedback. Try to get what you can and adjust for subsequent interviews.
Problem #3: After so many rejections, I’m desperate, frustrated and unsure of myself
This is a common and natural response to Problems #1 and #2 above. The job search experience can be very challenging and, in some cases, downright frustrating. After all, bills have to be paid and won’t wait for someone who will finally take a chance on you. We can relate to spending many months banging our heads against the wall in our own job search. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret. Here are some effective weapons to maintain your sanity:
Join a job center
The number of free job resources in the United States in staggering. Among them are job centers, which are available in many states. In northern California alone, there are at least four job centers located within a 20-mile radius. These centers are staffed by highly experienced professionals and most of their services are free. They provide workshops on resume writing, LinkedIn, behavioral interviewing, communication skills and other valuable information to help job seekers like yourself.
Volunteering is a great way to pass time when you don’t have a job. Volunteer at a church or homeless shelter, or build homes with Habitat for Humanity. Not only will this increase your sense of self worth, it might also be a stepping stone toward a new career.
Positive linking and meetups
Extend yourself. Go out of your way to make new friends and reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a long time. Use any downtime you have to join Toastmasters or a sports club, or get engaged in local politics if that’s your thing. Join other groups with similar interests and consider visiting a career advisement center, most of these are free.
The biggest asset you have during the job search is your self-belief. This will be challenged several times, but you can’t let this get you down. Remember that rejection is not about your ability, nor does it say anything about your future. Read biographies of the most successful people in history and you’ll find they are full of rejections and failures. Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison are all examples of individuals who experienced rejection and failure. Instead of doubting yourself, try embracing rejection and look at it as an opportunity to grow stronger. Remember, success is 99 percent hard work and 1 percent inspiration. Believe in yourself to succeed each time and don’t let other people’s actions determine the course of your destiny.
Author, Career 3.0