Twelve Reasons Your Job Search is So Long -- And How to Fix It

by: Joanne Meehl

You're in a job, want a new one, but your efforts are getting no traction: no interviews, no calls, nothing.

Or you're between jobs for month after month, nothing happening. Soon it will be over a year, and you're wondering if you'll ever land a good job again.

My observation of professionals in job search candidates over the last 10+ years, and especially since 2008's crashing economy, has shown that these -- like it or not -- are the top twelve reasons for job search failure. With each are some tips for fixing it:

1. You turned down an offer only to realize later that it was a great one, but your insistence on some little point related to your last job caused the hiring manager to withdraw the offer. Get real about the ongoing competition in the job market, and how companies and organizations are today.

2. The job you're looking for no longer exists. It was replaced by an automated process or software app, or moved to another country. You have no control over this; the world is changing and some jobs inevitably die off. It's tough when it's yours. While you can't control world events, you DO have control over YOU. Seek out retraining resources, classes, tutoring to learn something new that's more in demand.

3. Your presentation is poor. This could mean your personal presentation (old-fashioned eyeglasses or hair style, low energy, etc.), or your job search tools, or both. Tip: Ask your hair stylist for her honest opinion about your "look". Ask her about your posture, your wardrobe, and ask for utter honesty. Tip for your marketing materials: have someone in recruiting or HR who is not a friend -- friends are too nice to tell you what they really see -- look at your resume, etc., and tell you what you need to change. Then work with someone to upgrade these.

4. You're using old job search methods that not only date you, they just don't work today. And you're refusing to learn newer methods that show you're "with" it, such as social media, considering them silly. These are not: the better companies take them seriously. Learn. It will make you ageless.

5. You keep changing goals. This month, you're pursuing Director of Operations in collections, next month you're going after Marketing Manager positions in banking. It's impossible for you to make progress with networking, for example, if you're splitting your precious job search time among various goals. And your LinkedIn profile can't possibly portray you having more than one direction or you will come across as confused. Choose one, and align all your activity behind it -- you'll be amazed at how things will finally happen for you.

6. You're stuck in "wishing, hoping, thinking, and praying". As my mom used to say, "God helps those who help themselves", so in addition to wishing, hoping, thinking, and praying, take ACTION to keep moving forward. Set goals and reward yourself? when you hit them.

7. You waited too long to get help. You kept thinking you could do this thing called The New Job Search on your own -- after all, there's all that free stuff on the web. You've been to networking groups with others in search but they are fumbling around just like you. It takes a few weeks to get oriented to searching these days, but if a couple of months go by and you're not getting interviews or able to make new contacts, you'll start feeling down. Tip: Seek out a consistent partner like a job search coach.

8. You're not taking advice from one person but are listening to everyone at once. You go to workshops and add things to your resume, then to another workshop and take them out. This results in confusion and constant changes to your resume and LinkedIn profile, making your search seem like you're on a gerbil wheel. Tip: Choose someone to follow, or a coach, who gets results, and stick with them.

9. You're doing an on-and-off job search. It's spring and the house needs painting. Or there's that "honey-do" list, or the heartfelt request that "since you're not working, you can taxi Mom to the doctor, right?" Set boundaries, with yourself and with others. Your search is like a shark: it needs to keep moving so that oxygen passes over its gills. Your search needs that oxygen, as well.

10. You're doing a resume-based job search. Meaning, you're sending out resumes but doing little else. My study of how people across the US have been landing good jobs is they are doing it through connections. They may see an opening, and apply knowing not a soul in that company. But the day they apply, they are on the phone and on LinkedIn and at church asking "Who knows someone at ABC?" Tip: It's making those personal contacts that have shown me that especially since 2008, fully 95% of people who are landing good jobs are doing so through old AND new friends.

11. You're basing your job search on how you FEEL, not on sticking to a plan. You veer between one end of things --? confidence, hope that "something will happen" and doing a lot of activity -- and despair, so you stop sending out resumes and making connections and doing networking meetings. This is a job search fail waiting to happen because you keep sapping your search of momentum. On, off, on, off -- you are guaranteeing that you're adding months to your search. Tip: stick to it, every day. Have a plan A and a plan B so that you are always moving forward.

12. You're an executive who's used to having an assistant do all kinds of things for you. Now you have no such assistant, and you resent having to write your own cover emails and make your own appointments with networking contacts, so you drag your feet doing it. Join the real world: only YOU can do your job search. Commit to that.

You can fix all of these using the suggestions in each.

Finally, my overall philosophy is that the SOONER you do MORE connecting with people in your search, the SHORTER the search, has been what I've seen for more than 20 years. Use the tips above and see your search change -- and finally end with a good job offer.


Stuck in your job search? Join others who have taken their search in hand and made it work, in less time: contact Joanne


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