Finding a job is not an easy task. It’s especially frustrating when you’ve sent out resume after resume and haven’t landed the dream job you’ve been working so hard for. It may be time to reflect on the real reasons you’re not getting hired and how you can fix them so you can finally land a job you love.
1. You’re overqualified or underqualified
Recruiters and hiring managers expect your experience, strengths, and skills to align with at least 1/2 — preferably 3/4 — of those listed in the job posting. So honestly ask yourself, are you applying for jobs that are above your area of expertise? Or are you beginning to feel desperate and just about ready to accept any offer, even one well below your pay grade?
Solution: It is your job as the candidate to show how your previous experiences line up with those outlined in the job posting. Use language found directly from each individual job posting, then relate it back to your own experiences and skills before applying. If your resume doesn’t clearly show how you’re a good fit, you’re not going to get calls.
2. Your resume needs some TLC
With recruiters only spending a handful of seconds on the first pass of a resume, your resume game needs to be on point and immediately catch their attention.
Solution: Start your resume with a brief summary that quickly highlights how you’re the perfect fit for the company and position. Use the remainder of the page to focus on the value and results you have delivered over the course of your career. A majority of this should be done using accomplishments.
3. You’re submitting your resume and not doing anything else
Submitting your cover letter and resume is not enough. Every application you submit should be coupled with extensive company research and networking, as networking accounts for upwards of 85% of new jobs.
Solution: Each time you apply for a job, seek out five people at the company who hold similar positions to the one you’re applying to. Send a friendly message and don’t be afraid to reach out to them by setting up a networking call or coffee meeting to learn more about the company and the work they do. You have nothing to lose and might just get yourself a reference — or job.
4. You’re networking passively or overly aggressive
Sending your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager with the message, ‘Attached is my resume. Please let me know if you have any positions available’ is passive networking.
Proceeding to then connect with them on multiple forms of social media outside of LinkedIn is overly aggressive networking — and honestly just a bit creepy.
Solution: You need to play an active role in your job search. Networking takes time, energy and effort as you work to develop two-way relations. As a job seeker, you need to put in just as much work as the recruiter or hiring manager.
Follow the companies you are interested in working at and reach out to employees to get a real glimpse into the company’s morale. And don’t be creepy!
5. You’re in need of some honest feedback
If you’ve followed all of the above steps and still aren’t landing interviews, you’re likely in need of some honest feedback.
Solution: Seek out a mentor or coach who can give you the advice you need to hear, not the advice you want to hear. While family and friends can serve as great support systems, they are not the objective lens you need. A mentor or coach can work with you to identify obstacles and remove roadblocks during your job search.
6. You’re blaming it on bad luck
While luck is involved in any job search, the role it plays is small. A vast majority of job search success comes down to hard work and effective job searching methods.
Solution: Focus on the aspects of the job search you do have control over — updating your resume and cover letter, leveraging LinkedIn and networking, seeking out mentorship and coaching, and preparing for your interviews.
Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES is the Career Coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com where he helps people find jobs they LOVE (or at least tolerate). He loves coffee (if you couldn’t tell), writing, and eating the same thing at different restaurants.