The process of finding a new job can be discouraging at times. You spend weeks, or even months, submitting application after application, going on interviews, waiting by the phone, only to come up empty-handed. You can’t help but wonder, “Why won’t anyone hire me?”
With the average job search taking five to six months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you must put in the effort to find the right job and be patient when dealing with the inevitable setbacks. The job search process is not linear. You may have to apply for dozens of jobs before getting a single interview, and you may be rejected many times before landing a job.
But there are reasons you’re not getting job offers – and things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired.
Your Resume & Cover Letter Need Work
You may be the perfect candidate for the job, but if your resume and cover letter don’t convey that, you won’t be getting called for an interview.
Hiring managers only scan your resume for 6 seconds on average, and many companies also use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to check for keywords. So make sure your resume is scannable if you don’t want it to end up in the “no” pile.
A generic resume and cover letter are more likely to get lost in the shuffle than ones tailored to the company and position, so take the time to customize them.
Don’t forget to double-check for spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors.
You Don’t Stand Out
Although your resume is about you, it’s really about what you can do for employers. Show them why they need to hire you. Demonstrate your value and what you’d bring to the company. Make it blatantly obvious.
Consider your strengths and how they support the business, and put that on your resume. Stand-out resumes are more about accomplishments than job duties. For example, did you cut costs by 25% in your last job? Or increase customer satisfaction? Did you solve any problems or introduce new, more efficient systems? Employers want to know these sorts of things!
You Suck at Job Interviews
If you are getting interviews but aren’t getting hired, the good news is that your resume is doing its job. The bad news is that you might not interview well.
Job interviews are an art form. They range from casual conversations to intense, multi-step processes with projects or homework to complete. You need to prepare for them. Practice mock interviewing with a career counselor, friend, or family member to overcome your nerves and prepare your best answers to common interview questions.
During your interview, having poor personal hygiene, being negative, not asking questions, or appearing unprepared are all things you want to avoid. Knowing nothing about the company you’re applying to won’t get you very far.
There are also things you should do after every interview. First, think about what questions they asked. How did you answer them? Did you forget anything? Do you have a better example you could use? If so, address what you can in your thank you letter. And yes, you should be sending a thank you every single time! It does make a difference and can improve your chances of getting hired.
If you were not the successful candidate, use this opportunity to learn and grow. Ask if they can provide constructive criticism or feedback. Of course, you won’t always get an answer, but there’s no harm in trying.
You Don’t Have the Right Skills
The labor market is constantly changing. As a result, your skills may no longer be sufficient.
One option to fix this is to take an online class to learn new skills or improve the ones you have. Another is attending job readiness workshops by local organizations or community colleges. They teach communication skills, critical thinking, and using technology, as well as how to write a resume and prepare for a job interview.
Volunteering somewhere related to the field you want to work in is another good way to gain skills and experience and make yourself more marketable.
It’s usually easy to determine if an applicant is lying on their application. Employers do background and reference checks. Your social media profiles also give away information about your past. There’s a good chance that employers know you personally in small communities or industries.
Don’t lie on your resume. It will more likely ruin your reputation than land you a job.
You Have a Criminal Record
Criminal records can prevent you from working in specific roles and industries, but plenty of opportunities are still available. There’s no point applying for positions where you won’t pass the background check, so apply to companies known to hire felons and people with criminal records.
You Are Expecting Too Much
Asking for an outrageous salary could be why no one is hiring you. You deserve to get paid what you’re worth, but do your research and ensure you don’t have unrealistic salary expectations.
Figure out a realistic salary range based on the job requirements and your experience, but leave room to be flexible and negotiate.
It’s Not You, Really
It’s disheartening when you’re doing everything right and still not getting hired. You update your resume, make sure there are no typos, and brush up on your interview skills, but you still can’t seem to get your foot in the door.
It’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong, but sometimes the problem truthfully isn’t you. You are not doing anything wrong. You’re just not getting hired due to other factors.
Internal qualified candidates get hired over external ones. Nepotism and personal favors still happen. A bad labor market means high unemployment and more competition. Discrimination is still an issue. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do about these things.
When no one is hiring you, the best thing you can do is keep trying. Eventually, you’ll find a place that recognizes your value and will give you a chance.
More Articles from the Wealth of Geeks Network:
- Where Can I Get Resume Help? 14 Free and Affordable Options
- 30 Places to Learn New Job Skills for Free!
Image Credit: Unsplash.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and more. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a free library of career & job search resources.