It’s been six months or more, and I’m still unemployed. What am I doing wrong? Am I that undesirable as a candidate?
The job search can be more than challenging. Even the most qualified of candidates can have a tough time finding employment. With each passing day, unemployed candidates run the risk of losing relevancy in this ever-changing work environment.
If this describes you, and you’re one of many vying for a new job, don’t give up hope. A new job is out there. You just have to change up your approach a bit.
- Make finding a job your job. It’s easy to fall into the trap of not actively looking. Or maybe you’re putting all of your efforts into just one or two positions you’re really hoping to land and not really branching out. Don’t stop there. If you’re not working, you should spend your eight-hour days checking out job boards, applying to various companies, going to job fairs, dropping off applications and more. Make the most of your time and watch as those opportunities begin to open up.
- Widen your criteria. You might be an expert in one particular field or business. You naturally think that’s the kind of position for which you’d be an excellent fit moving forward. You’ve applied countless times to jobs for which you think you’d be a great fit. And still nothing.
Yet your own skills might translate over into different industries. Perhaps some of the other things you did at previous positions might be relevant to other job postings.
Don’t limit yourself. Consider applying for jobs outside of your comfort zone. Widen your commute radius and be open to accepting a decrease in pay – get in there and show a company why you’re worth more!
- It's all about networking. A passive job search would involve the normal emailing of resumes or setting up an online profile with a company’s recruitment website. There’s so much more to it than that, especially in today’s network-minded workforce. As Katherine Hansen, Ph. D, of LiveCareer.com wrote, “Job-seekers today can’t rely on passive methods of job-hunting. You have to meet people and tell as many of them as possible that you’re looking for a job (be specific).” This means being social – going out and introducing yourself to as many people as possible.
Talk to people. Let them know you’re on the job hunt and actively searching. Don’t be afraid to join job forums, like those on LinkedIn and Indeed, where you can interact with both employees and hiring managers of different companies.
- Target employers who will need your skill set. Employers can easily determine which candidates definitely want to work for their company and those going in with more of a “shotgun approach” – sending out resumes to every place possible with the mere hope of landing something, anything.
Instead, comb through a list of open jobs you know you can do well. And remember, you’ll have to convince employers you’re the best candidate for the position. This means tailoring your resume and identifying your relevant skills in a cover letter in order to make you stand out. Remember, employers are quick to determine whether or not you have enough experience or the right kind.
- Register with a staffing agency - or two or three. Staffing agencies are in the market to find qualified candidates for businesses. That’s what agencies do and do well. Just think, even if you’re doing everything possible to find an opening somewhere, you can’t possibly be on top of every company’s search for its next great employee. Putting it simply, a staffing agency is another set of ears on the ground. They know what the job market looks like, who might be hiring and where a good skill set might be applied. Best of all, they can get you what you need most – a foot in the door.
- Don't give up. You almost want to throw your hands up and admit defeat, right? What else can you do? The key thing to remember here is perseverance. You might need some encouragement, which is why networking can be so crucial, but continuously remind yourself you have what it takes to land a good job.