You know you’re talented; you have the experience and credentials to land any job that you want. The problem? You’ve submitted hundreds of applications and attended plenty of interviews, but you can’t seem to find a job.
It could be an organization changing its direction or someone being slightly more qualified than you. If you regularly feel frustrated because you can’t find your dream job, it might be time to take a step back and identify what you’re doing wrong. Asking yourself some tough questions and switching up your tactics will help you pivot into a more positive direction and eventually secure a new role.
You aren’t alone either. Here are 10 common reasons why you and many others can’t find a job.
1. You’re unsure of what you really want
One of the most common reasons people can’t find a job is because they have no idea what they want. Too often, people who are new to the world of work or are planning a significant career change tend to become frustrated when casually searching for a job to see what’s out there. To put it bluntly, this isn’t going to work. A causal approach will provide casual results.
Before you submit any more applications, stop hitting apply and begin thinking about what you want. Decide on the industries you’re interested in and want to be a part of. Highlight your strengths, work out what you enjoy and then use that list to research your options before narrowing down your choices.
If you have a list of 30 different job titles, it’s likely you still don’t know what you want to find.
2. You’re only looking in one place
Yes, job boards like Monster and Indeed are arguably the best places to find a wide range of jobs. However, they shouldn’t be the only place you go to find employment. If you’re using them, remember that hundreds or thousands of people have the same idea. That’s not to say you shouldn’t apply here, but you’re also missing out on jobs that aren’t posted there.
To mix things up, check out the social media accounts of companies you want to work for, their websites, recruitment companies and nice websites like Idealist or Encore. You can even network to open up another avenue to have a better chance of securing a job. The last thing you should do is sit around and wait for positions to pop up on the well-known job boards. Go for a more niche approach and get there first.
3. You only ever talk about yourself in interviews
This might sound counterintuitive as interviews are supposed to be where you sell yourself, but only talking about yourself can raise some red flags to prospective employers. You’ve prepared to eventually work at their company and explain why you’re the right for the role from a work and culture perspective.
When you’re interviewing, talk about how you can help and what your experience is, but also explain how it benefits the company, what they’d gain and what you’re looking forward to the most. Also, ask them questions as interviewers love people who come prepared with questions as it shows they’re genuinely serious.
Whether it’s questions about the company or asking the interview why they like the company, thought provoking questions will help you stand out more than other candidates.
4. You aren’t following up
The job searching process doesn’t end once the interview is over. If you’ve been in plenty of interviews and have been left deflated after not hearing back, you probably can’t find a job because you’re never following up. The first thing you need to do after an interview is to send a thank you email. It’s a classy touch that the interviewer took time out of their day to speak to you, but it also keeps you fresh in their mind.
If it’s been a little while since you heard anything, get in touch and send a follow up email to ask if they’ve decided on what they’re doing with the position. You never know; they might have forgotten how good of a candidate you were and a follow up email reminds them to pursue you. If you’re informed that you don’t get the job, ask for feedback and utilize it in future interviews.
If you don’t follow up, you’ll never know why you didn’t get a job and you’ll repeat the same mistakes.
5. You’ve neglected your resume for too long
Again, this is another obvious one, but you probably can’t find a job because you’re unaware of what is and isn’t working on your resume. That, and the tendency to neglect a resume that doesn’t leave a lasting impression on interviewers are two big offenders. If you have big employment gaps and a poor structure, that should be the first thing you work on, so your resume is attention-grabbing and difficult to put down.
Although your eyes might tell you it’s a fantastic resume regardless of how many times you read it, it’s likely it could be better. You need to switch your attitude to go from a resume that screams “it’ll do” to something a hiring manager selects as one to bring in for an interview.
Even if you have all the skills in the world, poorly written statements and gaps don’t suggest you’re suitable for the job. Instead, sign up to a platform that either helps you build the perfect resume or pay a specialist to scan through it and provide you feedback.
6. You use a templated cover letter
Your resume and cover letter go hand in hand. If your resume is poor, then the interviewer won’t even read the cover letter. The cover letter is also another big offender which stops people from finding a job for several reasons. The first, if your writing style, spelling and grammar isn’t to a high standard, it doesn’t leave a good impression. If anything, it can feel like you didn’t bother proofreading it, which shows you didn’t show attention.
It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for the same role in multiple companies or entirely different industries. Each cover letter needs to be different and catered to each specific position or company to stop your application from getting eliminated.
7. You’re limiting your search
Another reason why you can’t find a job is that you’re limiting your search. This could be by location, role or company. Not every company uses the same job titles, so you might need to dig around more to find out that job titles that sound different are actually what you’re skilled in.
You might also be limiting yourself because you’re only searching for traditional jobs where you’re in the office. Broaden your horizons and see which companies offer remote or hybrid working models. By searching for fully remote positions, you stand a much better chance of securing a job because you’ve cast your net is much wider.
8. You’re holding out for one job
You found the perfect job, you worked on your resume and impressed in the interview but you didn’t get the job. Now, nothing is ever good enough and won’t ever live up to the dream role you narrowly missed out on. If this sounds like you, you aren’t finding a job because you’re still hung up on a job you missed.
The dream job might not be all it’s made out to be. You can’t stop your professional or personal life from progressing for the sake of one job. Keep searching and remain motivated during the hunt.
9. You haven’t asked for any help
Although the job is for you, people can’t find a job because the process is too much and they aren’t asking for help. Speak to friends and family so they can help you practice. Plus, it can help take your mind away from the stress involved. They might also be able to describe what you’re like as a person better than you can — something you can use in your resume and cover letter.
10. Your interview skills need improvement
If you’re at the interview stage regularly, it’s clear you’re doing something right. But if that’s the hurdle where you always fall, then it could be your interview skills holding you back and why you can’t find a job. You need to come across as confident but not too bold, leaving a position impression.
While the interview is where you need to show you’re up to the job, you also need to show the interviewer you’re a person worth investing in. Mock interviews are a good first step, but you can also sign up to a platform where you’ll receive assistance in getting prepared to show up as your best self in your next interview.
Interviews can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to share weaknesses. At VanHack, we’ll help you learn the professional and cultural nuances with 40+ live classes every month and teach you how to ace your next interview. Join the Premium Academy here and start your journey to landing the dream job.