Why Would I Want A Mock Interview?


I can just imagine many of you reading today’s blog about the benefits of a mock interview. You of whom I envision are thinking to yourselves, “I don’t like interviews, they’re so stressful! So why, when I don’t like them in the first place, would I voluntarily want to do more interviews? Especially when they aren’t even real! No thanks; interviews are painful, nerve-wracking and overall a negative experience to be avoided as much a possible. So a mock interview? No thank you!”

That’s a pretty strong reaction, but for many I’ve met over the years, it accurately sums up their feelings. They see choosing to ask for a mock interview like asking to have a root canal when there’s no need for one – just to be ready for the real thing if/when needed. Yep, a big NO.

The unfortunate reality of those who avoid the mock or practice interview is this: without practice, there’s no opportunity to get feedback and improve on their performance, so the outcome is performing poorly in the real thing. Poor interview performance of course leads to one thing; an unsuccessful outcome and having therefore to apply for more jobs and go to more interviews. Yet somehow, it seems preferable to some people to avoid all the research, practice, feedback, adjustments to delivery and just wing it. Not to sound trite but I ask you, “How’s that working out?”

Now there’s three possible outcomes you can arrive at when you typically go about interviewing by just winging it.

  • You succeed and get a job offer
  • You fail and keep on going about things the same way
  • You fail and decide to get help and improve your odds of success

It’s that first one; that belief that despite the odds, you could succeed without ever having to go through practice interviews, that keeps people from seeking out help. It’s very much like a lottery; the odds are heavily stacked against you succeeding if you interview poorly, but there is that slim chance of success and you’ll hang on to that if it means avoiding practice interviewing. The irony is that the people who avoid mock interviews are typically the ones who could benefit the most.

So what goes on in a mock interview? Let me just say to be clear here, I’m not talking about a couple of questions you give your partner or close friend to ask here. The problem with these willing and well-intentioned people taking you through the mock interview is their reluctance to point out areas to improve because of your potential negative and volatile reaction to their feedback. And if we’re honest, you’re likely to dismiss what you don’t want to hear anyhow and tell them they don’t know what they are talking about because they aren’t an expert!

If the mock interview with friends or family works for you however, great. It’s a start and who knows, they might just observe and hit on some things that turn the experience around, helping you land that job offer. If so, well done everyone!

However, if you really want to maximize your odds of success, it’s good advice to seek out the support and feedback from a professional. Employment Coaches, Employment Counsellors and others who provide job search coaching are the people you’re after here. Many of these people can be contracted with at no charge through community social service organizations. If you’ve got the desire and the funds, you can also contract with a professional privately too.

Now, some of you I’m sure are raising the argument that if you’re out of work already and funds are tight, why on earth would you lay out your money and pay someone to put you through the mock interview? The answer of course is one you instinctively know already; if it increases your odds of success and getting offered a job, that’s money well spent. But I don’t want to appear to be just writing an ad for buying services people like me provide.

So what would a mock interview look like? Well, depending on the person you’re getting help from, it could look like this:

You meet and discuss how you’ve prepared in the past. Maybe a couple of questions get tossed out just to determine what you’ve been saying to date. From these, a baseline is established. An Employment Counsellor / Job Coach will provide feedback on:

  •  First Impressions (Clothing, Body Language, Handshake, Hygiene, Posture, Tone of   Voice, Eye Contact)
  •  Answers (Quality, Length, Sticking To A Format Or Winging It, Are You Answering The Questions? Using Examples?)
  •  Suggestions For Improvement (Some Quick Improvements and Some Longer To Master)
  •  Final Impressions (Ideas On How To Wrap Up The Interview On A Positive)

Now of course this doesn’t include how to prepare for and follow up on your interviews; both of which are extremely important and both of which you’d get a lot of help with from a professional.

Interviewing methods evolve over time and how you may have succeeded in the past could no longer be working. I suppose the real question here is whether or not you are performing well enough in your job interviews to land job offers. If you’re getting a high percentage of interviews for those you apply to, and if those same interviews are resulting in job offers, you don’t need help.

If on the other hand, you seldom get interviews at all, and the ones you do get don’t result in job offers, do yourself a favour and think seriously about getting help – and that includes mock interviews and feedback.

 

 

 

 

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Job Advice: Less Computer Time


Sitting in front of a computer screen for days or weeks on end, searching job postings and applying for the occasional one with your standard resume is not the best way to go about looking for work. It’s not that looking for jobs online and applying for the odd one here and there isn’t a good activity, it’s just there’s so much more you could and should be doing to find work.

I’ve come to believe from the many conversations I’ve had with job seekers, that many do sit for hours each day, scanning their favourite job posting websites. There’s a certain irony that while they wonder why their job search isn’t successful, they keep returning to this daily routine, repeating the same behaviour that isn’t generating results. Not only is this hard to understand therefore, there are real dangers to be aware of if you’ve fallen into this pattern of behaviour.

One key danger is the solitary nature of the online job search. When it’s you and a computer screen for hours, day after day, week after week, your human interaction is restricted. About the best you can expect is a computer-generated, auto-reply from employers confirming receipt of your resume. Well, and there’s the also the computer-generated pop ups that suggest you upload your resume to the job search website so you can be notified of jobs matching your recent searches.

This lack of human interaction can prohibit the development of your people skills; and it’s these interpersonal skills that are so vitally important when you find yourself taking a phone call or being granted an interview. A prolonged job search when you only go about it 2 feet away from a computer monitor also means you have to be fairly sedentary. In other words, you’re not as physically active as is healthy. This is even more the case if, when you do set aside the computer, you pick up the remote and sit for a few more hours watching television,  troll the internet or playing a video game etc.

Eroding your people skills through lack of use can and often does increase your anxiety when you do get into situations requiring social skills. Your lack of practice might even develop quickly into panic attacks, and you’re left thinking, “When and how did I suddenly find just talking to people so nerve-wracking?”

One odd reality I’ve noticed is that today more people carry a cell phone with them than ever before. Yet, the functionality of the phone feature is not one they often use. The device is used far more for texting, using apps to interact with others by tapping on ‘like’ buttons or using handy pop up auto-generated prompts so you don’t even have to think about what to say anymore, just tap one of the word bites offered up.

Ask a job seeker to make a call to a potential employer, a reference, a contact in their network and often the reply is, “I don’t really like talking on the phone.” Unless pushed, many will do their best to put off phoning anyone but a friend. An email is far preferable than potentially talking to the same person live on the phone.

This skill of communicating effectively in a dialogue was originally thought of as being enhanced when our world shrunk with the wide-spread use of personal computers, cell phones. Some of the most prolific communicators on the web are in fact largely one-way communicators when you stop and realize much of their presence is in sending out blogs, posts and carefully edited articles. Their thousands of followers may comment and reply to comments by other followers, but real dialogue between the follower and the originator of the post is scant at best, and often non-existent.

Now to you. When did you last get out and go talk in person with someone in an effort to gather more information that would help you eventually land an interview or job? You know, dropping by a potential employer to pick up a full job description, a quarterly or annual report? When was the last time you introduced yourself to a stranger and initiated your pitch? If it’s been a while, does the prospect intimidate you? How then are you going to fare when you do land the interview you’ve been hoping for? My guess is that those dormant people skills are going to be rusty at best and you’ll wish (too late unfortunately), things went better than they did.

Pick up the phone and make some calls. What’s the worse that can happen? Cold calling is more than just phoning to see if someone is hiring. Talk with the people who have agreed to be your references. Tell them how you’re faring, and how you genuinely appreciate their support. Maybe ask if they have any leads, offer to buy them a beverage and catch up for 15 minutes during their work day.

Call someone who does what you want to do and ask for a 20 minute chat to better understand their role from the inside. Get advice on how to get in, ask them about their job and what they find interesting and rewarding. Get into a few workshops or networking events to mingle and practice conversing.

A lot of jobs are never even posted on the web – anywhere on the web. They have fewer applicants too because of it.

“Sorry, We’re Going With Another Applicant”


The call you’ve been waiting for finally came; the news you received however is not what you were hoping for. Another rejection to add to your growing list of rejections. This is one you’d really wanted too, which is why it hits a little harder and hurts a little more than some of the others.

It’s tough on your self-esteem though I admit. When you saw the number on your phone you lit up, answered with great optimism and had a smile on your face. As you heard the decision hadn’t gone your way, you moved from giddy anticipation to surprised disappointment. Like all setbacks, it’s not the setback itself but rather how you react to it that is going to define what you do now and whether you move further from or closer to your goal of finding employment.

First of all, I want to point out and commend you for one very important thing. The job you were competing for was a good one to go after; the hurt you’re feeling is indicative of the passion you felt for the possibility of working in the role. Had you felt nothing whatsoever in being rejected, I’d question how much you really wanted it in the first place. So the level of sting you’re feeling now is one good indicator of whether this job, or one similar to it is right for you.

Okay so now what to do. First of all, let me suggest you dash off a quick letter to the organization you just heard the bad news from. In this brief letter, share your disappointment at having heard the news and state your ongoing determination to compete once again when this or a position of a similar nature becomes available. Although you may not get a response, it’s professional and says a lot about your determination to move ahead beyond this setback if you also ask for suggestions on how to improve your chances in a future competition.

Why bother with such a letter when the job is lost? Simple really. Most if not all of your competitors will move on without any further contact. It would seem like a waste of time and energy, not to mention the cost of a stamp and stationery. This is precisely why you should pen one. With only 1% of people writing a letter of rejection, you stand out. So if another position opens up or the hired candidate doesn’t last long, they might just get back to you in a month or two and offer you the job if you still want it. Your character you see, came out in that letter.

With that letter sent, by all means it’s time now to turn to other opportunities. If you feel bitter and extreme frustration though, take the rest of the day you get the news off entirely. Scrap the job search for this single day and do other things you’d rather like read, go for a walk, soak in the tub, visit your son or daughter, work on a hobby or go window-shopping. You might even want to share the news with someone who will listen. Whatever you do to gain some broader perspective is good. The darkness of this evening will be replaced by the light of tomorrow’s dawn, the world will go on and you’ll go along with it.

This is a test of your ability to create a positive attitude which is needed to experience success. Your attitude is your responsibility alone. I know, I know, you didn’t want to hear that. You’d rather have had a sympathetic ear so you could commiserate with me and have me say things like, “oh you poor thing”, or “wow, you’ve got every right to just chuck the whole get-a-job thing.” Sorry to disappoint. Empathy I’ve got in abundance for you of course, but now it’s time to refocus.

You owe it to yourself you see. Those other jobs you applied to may just call with requests for interviews or the good news of a job offer. You don’t want your voice to showcase resigned apathy or profound ambivalence. You’ve got to respect yourself because the momentum you’ve built towards your goal needs constant attention. You’ve moved forward and come further than you were when you first made the decision to look for work. Don’t hurt your future chances by stopping now.

At any one time in your job search, you should have some organizations you’re waiting to hear from, some applications in the process of being readied to submit and an eye on new jobs and positions that you don’t want to miss. Interspersed among these should be some regular expressions of thanks to those helping you along, such as your references or supporters and networking both online and in-person. This balanced approach to your job search keeps you fresh and energized; active and engaged. Just sitting in front of a computer monitor day in and day out is a rough and isolating way to spend the hours you need to be successful.

I speak from experience my reader. Like you, I’ve had times in my life when I’ve been hunting down a job and it’s taxing times; filled with highs and lows. I do appreciate the disappointments are hard to take and keep coming back strong with a determined attitude. Ultimately though, no other approach has ever worked.

Fresh Starts Happen When You Want Them


Okay so the calendar today reads December 10 and New Year’s Day is still a few weeks away. Typically the days leading up to a flip in the calendar are when most people think of making some major changes and starting fresh. Be it losing weight, changing a bad habit, getting a job, or any number of other goals, January 1st seems to be a day when the majority set out to put their new behaviours into action.

However, when you think about making some changes, think about that line, “there’s no better time than the present.” I suppose the reason that right now is the best time is simply because it’s now that you’re thinking of whatever you want to change so take the opportunity to get on that change while you see the value in going after your goal. If you put off making that decision until some point in the future, you might not feel the same compulsion later. So what are to do? Wait another year until another January 1 comes along?

As for needing some external stimulus for change – like flipping the calendar to a new year, there’s plenty of those moments. For starters, we all flip the calendar 12 times a year; that’s 12 times we could opt to start some new behaviour. There’s your birthday too, although that comes around once a year, you might just be motivated to change things up on this anniversary of your birth.

The thing about your birthday is that it’s very much like New Year’s Day in that it only comes around once a year. If you’d like more opportunities, consider that there are 365 days in a year, and every day you wake up could be the sign to hit the reset button on something you want to give up or something you want to start.

Now suppose it’s a new job you’re after. Whether with the same employer you work with now or a new one, a new job might be just what you want. If you plan on getting hired January 1st, 2019, you can’t put off applying for jobs until December 31 can you? No, of course not. You’d actually need to be doing an active job search now; researching, job applications, resume and cover lettering writing, interviews and networking meetings. Even so, how many employer’s are even open on New Year’s day and of those who are, how many are training the new person on January 1? Not many.

Of course, you might be telling yourself that January 1st is when you’re planning on starting the job search. Nothing wrong with that goal. Of course, between now and January 1st you may be missing some good job postings, and it would be a shame if the job you’d really love has a deadline that you miss when you’re kicking back waiting for the calendar to roll over. The people you’re competing with will thank you for that one!

Let me give you a small piece of warning and advice if I may. When you make the decision to change your present behaviour and start to seriously job search, it’s going to be a challenge to first make the change in behaviour and then sustain that momentum you start. Your body and mind are going to rebel and in both cases because the status quo is easier.

So if you have a job already, the extra work you have to put in outside of work hours with a job search might come across at times as too much extra pressure and extra work. If you’re unemployed you won’t have that problem, but when you’re out of work, the habits you’ve developed – possibly sleeping in late, having a nap mid-afternoon, watching too much television or playing video games etc., might get in the way of sticking with the job of finding a job.

So be ready for the kick-back; that want to fight change and just go on with things the way they are. It might take some real perseverance and stamina to sustain change. What will help is keeping your mind focused on why you started the change in the first place. In other words, if your goal has enough meaning to you, it’s easier to stay focused on it because you want it bad enough to fight past the barriers that stand in your way.

It’s when you don’t want something enough to fully commit to it that you’re likely to fail. So in other words, if other people keep telling you to get a job and you grudgingly agree to start looking for one, the chances of success are lower as you’re more likely to revert to your old habits when no one is looking. When YOU want to work more than you don’t, that’s when your odds on succeeding will rise. It’s not just about getting a job by the way, the same is true of any goal we talk about; changing eating habits, learning to drive, being more polite, expressing more gratitude, taking up a new hobby. Whatever you’re contemplating, it will come about sooner if you commit to it.

Finally, if you’ve been after your goal in the past and not had success; so you haven’t got interviews or job offers, think about going about your job search in a different way. Trying a new strategy may get you different – and better results.

Thinking Of A Return To School?


So the job search has become a long, frustrating experience of being rejected over and over. You’re over-qualified for some jobs, told you’re not who they are looking for others, and then there’s the ones where they say you were great but they decided to go with someone else. In the end, it’s all the same – no job. So now you’re so frustrated with the entire job search process, you’re thinking of going back to school instead.

A return to school would give you current academic credentials; a big upgrade on your mid-1980’s degree or diploma. Surely some current education and your life experience would be a winning combination! Well the short answer is yes. However, it’s important to consider a number of factors when you’re weighing the option of upgrading your education.

First of all, are you going back to upgrade your education in the field you’ve worked in all along or are you venturing into another field altogether? If it’s something new to you, think now – before you pay any tuition, if and how what you’ve done in the past can in any way be leveraged to help strengthen your job interviews after you graduate. So if you graduate with a Police Foundations Degree, how will your 15 years of Engineering work help? Will you be able to draw on transferable skills or will you have a different kind of answer when they ask why you’re taking this U-turn after looking at your work history?

There’s nothing wrong with changing direction in your life. It is a wise and courageous person indeed who isn’t afraid to stop pursuing work they can no longer do or be hired to do, and venture out in some new occupation. It can be invigorating and liberating to learn a new profession and it can fuel you with energy and enthusiasm if you’ve felt stuck in a rut. Pity the poor person who has come to no longer find joy in their line of work but who pursues it because it’s all they know and they feel they can’t risk going back to school and taking on more debt.

Ah yes debt. That’s one way to look at things of course; going back to school and graduating with a degree, diploma or certificate that costs you tens of thousands of dollars. You might be reasoning that while your out of a job now, at least you don’t have the added burden of all that debt on top.

There’s another way of looking at the money part however, and I always encourage people to see any costs associated with returning to school as an investment. An investment in what though? The answer is yourself. And what can you invest in that is of greater importance and benefit than yourself? Whatever you learn in school, you’ll take with you for the rest of your life. Oh sure you won’t recall some specifics, but you’ll emerge changed and better educated. School changes how you view things, and if you’re like many, you’ll use what you learn in school daily. It’s not so much that you apply a formula to a problem, remember some passage in a book or quote some theory. It’s more about how you think with a broader perspective and interact with the world in a different way when you graduate.

Now if you’re going back to learn a trade, I applaud you. People who have experience and recent education in the trades are not only in short supply, you’ll pick up skills you can use not only in your professional life, but your personal one as well perhaps. When you don’t have to call an electrician or auto mechanic for minor repairs, you’ll save money and feel empowered too.

School isn’t for everyone granted. What is? This doesn’t mean however that because you heard from a friend that it didn’t work for them that it won’t work for you. It can be a welcomed change to a frustrating job search to be connected with other people in a classroom who are interested in what is being taught just like you. You’re also likely to find that it isn’t as bad as you first imagined either. You wake up and you’ve got somewhere to be, at a certain time, and it’s motivating you to get into a good routine. You’re likely to apply your earlier work and life experience in the classroom too, and your marks might just be higher than you ever thought possible.

When you do finish school, you’ll emerge with something new and something current to stick on that résumé of yours. You’ll feel confidence like you haven’t in some time too because your education was rather dated prior to school. Now if you did your homework before you even started by asking some questions, you picked a course of education that has an upswing in employment. There are jobs out there and you’ll feel optimistic about your chances.

Oh and should you be deciding to upgrade your current education in your field, how can that do anything but help you? Now you’ve got extensive experience and learning of best practices, latest trends and you’ve got credentials once more.  Remember, education is never a bad thing, and the investment you choose to make in yourself will stay with you, unlike a purchase you make in a car that loses its value the second you drive off the lot.

The Hand-Written Thank You Note


How many of you have recently wrote a hand-written thank you note? Hands up out there. Hmm… not many; no not many indeed.

Okay, another question if I may. The last time you received a note of thanks from someone expressing their gratitude, how did it make you feel?

Interesting isn’t it? You enjoy receiving but aren’t doing the giving. Now of course many of you out there might just be the kind of people who are very thankful and gracious with your words of thanks, it’s just that your saying them face-to-face or in an email. After all email is so convenient, accessible and immediate. You can dash off an email expresses thanks in the same time it would take to put on your coat and find your car keys. That trip to the stationery store to buy a card just seems so unnecessary.

I admit the card of thanks takes more effort. Yes, you have to go to the store, pick out a card or a set of cards that expresses thanks but doesn’t communicate the wrong message with some flowery verse on the inside. Then there’s paying for the cards, (because email is free), and if you misspell a word as you write in pen, there’s no delete button to quickly erase your error. Then there’s the exorbitant cost of a postage stamp, addressing the envelope, the trip to a mailbox. Just too much effort!

Or is it?

Think for a moment what someone has done for you in the first place for which you might be contemplating issuing words of thanks. I suspect what they’ve done, or what they continue to do is worth a bit more than the total cost of an envelope, card, postage stamp and your time. In fact, I’d wager your effort and words of thanks pale mightily in comparison. Too much effort on your part? How unfortunate if you feel this way.

The thank you card could be composed and presented to any number of people and for many reasons. Here’s a few to inspire some action on your part:

  • An interviewer after a job interview
  • A co-worker who has your back when work piles up
  • Your Administrative Clerk; the one who ‘does everything’ for you
  • Your job search references; those who back your credentials
  • The Barista who makes your every morning must-have
  • The Teacher who instructs your child
  • The Child Care Provider who nurtures your child
  • Your neighbour who looks out for you in your absence
  • The Receptionist who greeted you on interview day

That’s a lot of people you COULD be thanking. Better get a stack of cards when you’re out and save yourself a lot of return trips. If you look over that list by the way, you’ll note I hope that not a single note of thanks requires postage at all. Nope, each one can be hand-delivered.

The thing about a note of thanks is that it is short and yet powerful; so powerful in fact that many people will hang on to notes of thanks long after they’ve been received. An email of thanks by comparison may be read and deleted in the same day, or immediately after the person replies with a ‘Thanks’.  Then they switch gears and get on with their day.

I give my job seekers with 5 cards of thanks – blank on the inside – and 5 envelopes. I recommend they make use of them and there’s more available if they need them. Sadly, many don’t even issue one. Those that do however, find them surprisingly effective. Oddly enough, they feel better too when the person expresses thanks and a little shock at having received one.

Take your references as an example of people to thank. These are the people you provide to a potential employer as those who will attest to your work ethic, accomplishments, personality, teamwork, etc. After you’ve done your best to wow an employer, they are the ones who will either close the deal or raise some doubt on your application. Suddenly I think your protest that a card of thanks being too much work is failing miserably.

“Just  a few words of appreciation for standing with me as a valued reference. As I transition to a new place, I’m grateful to have your support.”

Now honestly, how long do you think that would take for you to write? Time surely then, can’t be your argument for not writing one, and we’ve already talked about the cost.

So if time and money aren’t the real reasons, we’re left with you don’t know what to say – see example above – or you just can’t be bothered – which means you truly aren’t that grateful. You could have literacy issues I suppose, which I grant.

Need another example? Okay…

Thank you for meeting with me this afternoon. I found our interview informative and enlightening. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work together and look forward to this with enthusiasm. I am excited about the next step in the hiring process.

Short and to the point. Come on people, you can do this. You’re looking for an edge over your competition aren’t you? Don’t be the candidate who just goes home and waits for the phone to ring. You can pen this one sitting in reception and hand it in right after the interview to the Receptionist.

Or not.

You Need Acknowledgement, Progress And Success


Talk to anyone looking for a job and you’ll find what they expect at the minimum is to have their efforts acknowledged and feel progress is being made towards ultimately being successful.

If a person applies for work repeatedly without any acknowledgement from employer’s, or if they feel stuck without making any progress, their effort will likely ebb and flow at best, or they will give up altogether.

Now, depending on your personal circumstances, your motivation for seeking this new job and the results you are achieving, can have a significant impact on your self-worth, self-esteem and your confidence. Although very similar, they are different from one another, and all three are critical to your self-perception. You do want to feel good about yourself, feel valued; that you have something to give which others recognize and appreciate. When we feel appreciated, we feel better about who we are and that positivity  carries over into other aspects of our lives. Without feeling valued, we can start to feel doubtful, our ability to contribute suspect, and our worth as a person comes into question.

Acknowledgement and progress lead to success no matter what the situation. Were you to buy some carrot seeds and plant them in the garden, you’d feel optimistic when you laid them in that shallow trench. With the first sightings of some fragile green leaves popping up through the soil, you’d feel encouraged. As the plants take root and sprout, the higher the green leaves grow, the more you believe the orange carrots below are getting bigger and thicker. The promise of successfully harvesting some vegetables becomes stronger. When you do dig up those carrots, there’s satisfaction in washing them up and eating them.

However, without any seeds germinating, you wonder what went wrong. Not enough sun or water? Planted them too shallow or too deep? Bad soil? Bad seeds? Or maybe you just say you obviously don’t have a green thumb. That lack of progress in seeing something grow can put you off trying again. If that lack of success happens not only with the carrots but also the onions, potatoes and tomatoes, you might believe you’re not cut out to be a Gardener. In short, you’ll give up.

The thing about growing your own vegetables is that if you’ve never done it before, you might ask others with more experience or at the very least, read the instructions on the packets you buy and follow the directions. When you do this, you’re taking advice from professionals, and you do this because you trust their experience and want to give your seeds the best chance of ultimately being successful vegetables.

When it comes to applying for jobs, you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this same pattern of behaviour. No, a lot of people – perhaps yourself – go about applying for work as best they can figure out on their own. It’s ironic don’t you think that someone will buy a package of carrots for $1.50, read the instructions and follow the advice to the letter, but then ignore the advice that’s available from professionals when it comes to finding work that could potentially bring in tens of thousands of dollars a year?

As I’ve said in many articles over the years, job searching without success is frustrating. That’s got to be a major understatement of the obvious. However, job searching with progress or even basic acknowledgement is even more disheartening. Resumes and cover letters take time to make, applying online takes time as does even finding the right jobs in the first place. You feel your time is valuable, and the last thing you want to do is put in a lot of time and get nothing in return. For some, even just being acknowledged by an employer that they’ve received your résumé would be nice.

Look, you have to decide what’s best for you personally. That has and will never change. If you are getting regularly acknowledged and are getting interviews, you might feel progress is being made and success is imminent. However, if you feel stuck and you’re losing momentum or have no progress whatsoever, what are you going to do about it? Your choice would seem to be keep doing what you’re doing and hope for a different result, or change what you’re doing and hope for a different result.

Changing what you’re doing is almost impossible if you don’t consider advice from others who have had success in what you’re trying to do – get a job. Without learning how others have gone about it, you’ll just be guessing about what you need to change or how to go about things differently. For all we know, how you’re going about looking for a job now might be like buying a packet of carrot seeds and planting the packet while still in the envelope or scattering the seeds on gravel. There’s always a chance one or two might grow, but the odds are slim.

By all means, do what’s best for you. Hammer away doing the same thing or enlist the help of a professional who can share some ideas on how to improve your odds of success. It starts with having your skills and experience as well as your applications acknowledged, moves forward with feeling you’re making progress as interviews start coming, and ultimately you’ll be successful when the job offer is made.