Okay so it’s a new year you told yourself; a fresh start you told yourself. 2013 looks an awful like 2012, only now you’re older, jobs on your resume are one more year out of date, even though a week ago they didn’t appear to be a year older. That optimism you had in the waning days of last year is already being tested and tried, and there doesn’t seem to be many more job postings showing up.
In the news, maybe you’re hearing about further lay-offs which to you only means more and more people competing with you for the jobs out there. It just doesn’t seem fair and all you really are asking for is a break – a chance to demonstrate to an employer that you’ve got what it takes to be successful. But, are you trying to convince an employer you’ve got what it takes or reassure yourself?
When the gap between the job you’ve had and your next job widens, there is a part of you that realizes skills are becoming increasingly obsolete. Contacts are less and less useful because their memory of your performance, and their ability to recall specific examples of your work are fading with the passage of time. If you are in an industry where things are always being upgraded, revised, invented and discovered, you might find your knowledge is outdated, and recent graduates with far less experience but more recent training are moving ahead of you in the hiring line.
If you aren’t getting any interviews at all, you’re discouraged because you can’t even get out of the starters blocks and sell yourself in an interview. Some of the people looking for work today remember the good old days where they didn’t even have to do a resume; they just walked onto the job site and used their charm to talk themselves into a job. The problem today is that many companies are using placement agencies to pre-screen applicants and applicants don’t even know what company they are applying to when they see a job posting. Companies want it this way so people like you don’t bother them with phone calls, walk-in’s, and letters. Oh if it was just you it wouldn’t be so bad but unfortunately, it’s hundreds of people applying for jobs much of the time. You’re just a number.
Enough already with the sad picture. The question really is what are YOU going to DO about your present situation? A fairly safe assumption is that if you are not even getting any interest from employer’s when you are submitting your resume and cover letter, you should change something up in the way you are going about your job search. Here’s a few basic things to consider:
Network. Get out and get known. Talk to people. Communicate both on-line and in-person, on the phone etc. Linkedin is great for connecting but sooner or later you’ve got to get out and meet people.
Target your resume. You had better be making sure that the skills and qualifications the employer has stated they need are in fact on paper so you match up. One new resume for every job you apply to; every single time!
Work full-time. The longer you are looking for work, the more likely it is that you are not putting in a full-time effort anymore. Are you really looking for a job 7 hours a day? Self-discipline is critical so avoid distractions as much as you can. You’ll like yourself more at the end of the day.
Widen your search. Be open to looking for work in an expanded geographical area. Show some flexibility and consider contract jobs part-time employment, possibly even looking outside your desired field to related jobs and opportunities.
Now one thing to remember is that part of your lack of success up to this point is due to the large number of people who you are competing with for employment. So sometimes you are doing all the right things and there isn’t much more you can realistically do except keep applying. This can be the most frustrating thing of all. After all, if you think you’ve got an excellent resume and cover letter, and you’ve sought advice and everyone tells you that’s not an issue, what more can you do?
If you find yourself with this problem, my advice is just to not give up. In other words, you’re getting close, even if you don’t see any tangible results to give you hope that this is the case. Please believe that if you are job searching on a full-time basis with motivation and enthusiasm, and you’ve got a winning resume and strong cover letter, you will be getting interviews soon.
When you do get granted an interview, here’s a little heads up. You just might feel strange pressure like you’ve never felt before to get it right; to have the perfect interview and sell yourself like you’ve never done before. You may find you’re thinking harder about just the right word to use, your posture, your clothes, and all the other gestures and pieces that go into the perfect interview. It may unnerve you so much that you feel you didn’t actually do very well in the interview at all – and then you get a call offering you the job!
Please don’t slack off in your job search and allow your self-confidence to slide any further than it may have already. You’ve got a lot to offer the right employer and you will be a valuable member of a team again, productive and with a new identity. Your future happiness and the length of time between then and now will largely be determined based on the actions of a single individual; YOU.