What am I Doing Wrong in My Job Search?
Learn what you might be doing wrong in your job search and discover ways to improve your approach. Gain insights to boost your chances of finding new job.
Like clockwork, every week I'll find at least one message in my inbox that goes something like this: "I've sent out application after application, and nothing seems to be working. Based on your expertise, what am I doing wrong in my job search? How can I up my game?"
First and foremost, let me say, I genuinely wish I had a one-size-fits-all answer. I wish there was a magic wand I could wave or a secret recipe I could share that would guarantee you an interview or, better yet, your dream job.
But here's the truth: If there’s one thing I've come to understand in my time as a career coach, it's that every job search is a unique journey. There isn't a universal "hack" to it. No single resume template or interview script can promise success for everyone. No single strategy, no matter how tried and tested, guarantees results for everyone.
What Am I Doing Wrong in My Job Search
Now, let's address the big elephant in the room: Why aren’t you landing the job offers?
You’ve crafted a resume that's worthy of a spot in the Resume Hall of Fame. But during the interviews? Things might not be going as smoothly. Remember, an excellent resume can get your foot in the door, but acing that interview is what gets you the job.
That's why it's crucial to have mock interviews. A mock interview is like a practice job interview, where you can identify your weak points and areas for improvement. It's also a great opportunity to get familiar with the questions employers might ask and give you an opportunity to improve on your responses.
I still remember my very first interview. I had zero experience, so I can't really blame those who rejected me when I was looking for a job right after school. I mean, I wouldn't have hired myself either! But you know what? Over time, I picked up some tricks that really helped me excel during interviews.
On the flip side, maybe you’re a star when it comes to face-to-face (or Zoom) interviews. But that stellar personality and expertise aren't shining through on paper.
Here's what I learned from my time working in a recruitment agency: Sometimes, the best candidates I placed with clients had terrible resumes. You know why? Because they never asked anyone for help, and nobody helped them either. So, before we sent them to our clients, we polished their resumes, and guess what? That dramatically improved their chances!
Not having a good resume could be often why you're not getting called for interviews in the first place.
Perhaps you've got both the resume and interview game down pat, but there's a mismatch. Are you applying for roles that align with your skill set and experience? Or are you casting too wide or narrow a net?
Like I mentioned in this newsletter issue "Truth About LinkedIn's Job Applicant Numbers," every recruiter can attest to receiving hundreds of candidates every week who are applying for roles that don't align with their skills.
Their resumes may be impressive, and they may have great interview skills, but applying for a Senior Sales Manager position when you've only worked as an Accountant your entire life won't land you the job. That's just a fact!
For international job seekers, the visa situation can often throw a wrench in plans. You might be the best fit for the role, but if a company isn’t offering visa sponsorship, that could be the deal breaker.
And then there's the more ambiguous, yet very real Scenario 5: Sometimes, it’s just not a match. It's not you, it's not them; it's just how the pieces of the puzzle fit. Not getting a callback doesn't necessarily reflect your worth or capability. It could simply mean that for that particular role, at that particular company, there was a different vision.
I hope these scenarios answered your question, “What am I doing wrong in my job search?”
When You Are Not the Problem
There could be plenty of other scenarios that might come up, and sometimes, it's not really your fault - it's the company's fault.
Believe it or not, there are times when not landing a job has little to do with you.
Volume of Applicants: In today's digital age, it's common for companies to receive a deluge of applications for a single role. It's quite possible for your application to be lost in this vast sea, or for another candidate, just slightly better-suited, to edge you out.
Retracted Job Listings: It's not uncommon for companies to post a job, only to pull it down due to internal changes.
"Phantom" Positions: Occasionally, job listings are mere formalities, with companies already having an internal candidate in mind. Such processes are conducted to ensure transparency, but in reality, the decision might already be made.
There are some things that you won't be able to influence, but there are things you totally can! The good news is, that the things you can influence are right here in this checklist.
Job Seeker's Self-Checklist: Are You on the Right Track?
Is my resume updated with the most recent experience and achievements?
Have I tailored it to the specific industry or role I'm applying for?
Is it free of typos and grammatical errors?
Have I included relevant keywords/phrases?
Have I researched the company I'm interviewing with?
Can I confidently explain my work experience and its relevance to the new role?
Have I practiced common interview questions and prepared some stories to illustrate my experiences?
Do I have questions prepared for the interviewer?
Am I applying for roles that match my skills and experience?
Am I reading job descriptions thoroughly to ensure I understand the expectations and the role?
Have I considered seeking feedback on my approach from a mentor or industry professional?
Am I actively reaching out to professionals in my desired industry or role?
Have I attended any recent webinars, workshops, or networking events?
Am I engaging with relevant content on platforms like LinkedIn and connecting with industry influencers?
Does my LinkedIn profile mirror my resume?
Am I showcasing my expertise, perhaps by sharing or creating content relevant to my field?
Have I asked for recommendations or endorsements from colleagues or superiors?
Are there new skills in my field I need to learn?
Have I considered taking online courses or attending workshops to bridge any skill gaps?
Am I up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in my industry?
Visa and Work Permit Considerations:
If I’m looking internationally, have I researched countries and companies open to visa sponsorships?
Do I have all my documents, qualifications, and papers in order?
Is it clearly stated in my resume that I do not require a work permit in the country where I am applying for a job?
Is it clearly stated in my resume that I am looking only for a remote role?
Feedback and Reflection:
After interviews, am I seeking feedback to understand where I might have gone wrong or what I could improve?
Do I take time to reflect on any patterns in feedback or recurring issues in my job search?
Well-being and Mindset:
Am I taking breaks when needed to avoid job search burnout?
Am I maintaining a positive mindset and reminding myself that rejection doesn’t define my worth?
Do I celebrate small victories in the process, even if they're as simple as getting a callback?
Have I considered interim roles, freelancing, or other opportunities if my ideal job isn't immediately available?
Am I open to roles slightly outside my target if they offer transferable skills or a step in the right direction?
Continued Learning and Industry Awareness:
Am I subscribed to relevant newsletters, like the Job Search Guide Newsletter, to continuously learn and receive advice on best practices for a job search?
By regularly revisiting and ticking off this checklist, job seekers can ensure they're maximizing their chances in the job market. It's also a great way to stay proactive and motivated during the process!
If you like this checklist, you will love this one even more. The Job Search Guide Checklist is packed with up-to-date job-hunting strategies, advice on crafting a compelling LinkedIn Profile, insights on networking, and impactful interview questions.
Job Search: Common Mistakes
After reading this newsletter issue, you should already have a better idea if there's something off in your job search. If you're still not sure, no worries! You can try finding your mentor, hiring a career coach, or expanding your knowledge with a good book.
Job hunting is as much an art as it is a science. There's no perfect formula, but with reflection, adaptability, and perseverance, you can increase your odds. Remember, every rejection is a step closer to the right fit. Keep learning, keep refining, and keep applying. Your perfect role might be just around the corner.
So, where does that leave you? While I don't have a definitive answer that will solve all your job search problems, I do have a piece of advice for you: Keep going. Adjust. Learn. Improve. Seek feedback. Network. Understand your strengths and areas of growth.
Remember, your unique journey might have a few detours, but it's these experiences that lead you to the right destination.
Stay resilient, seekers! Your dream job awaits.
Few Extra Tips
As always, I have additional insights to share with valued newsletter readers supporting this newsletter. These are key factors that can significantly influence your job search journey: