The Career Hoop, Part 1: 5 Reasons Why Your Job Search Feels Hopeless
Are you in the process of searching for a new job? Are you giving it your all, going to interviews, and still having no luck?
The job search can be overwhelming, especially when you’re interviewing but not landing a position. That can be a blow to your self-esteem which leaves you wondering,
“What’s wrong with me? Am I in the wrong field? Will anyone ever hire me?”
It’s time to get some perspective. Chances are there’s nothing wrong with you at all. You’re probably a great candidate with a lot to offer the right company. So why aren’t you getting a job?
Step back from your job hunt and take a hard look at what’s going wrong. You might see that it’s time to take a new approach.
Here the five most common reasons why your job search isn’t going the way you’d hoped:
1. You’re Applying for the Wrong Position
It’s possible that you’re looking in the right field but applying for the wrong jobs within that field. When you have years of experience under your belt, it’s easy to find yourself “overqualified” for certain positions. On the other hand, if you’ve only been in your field for a few years, you might be underqualified for the job you think you deserve.
If you’re overqualified, it’s possible many employers simply can’t afford you. This is a catch-22 situation for many job seekers, especially seasoned professionals. It may be time to look for a position that’s slightly higher on the ladder than your last gig.
Being underqualified can be equally frustrating. A new hire is a big investment, and companies don’t always have the time to train new employees. Wanting to advance your career is understandable, but it may be time to look for a position that requires the skills you already have.
2. You’re Applying to the Wrong Companies
Every company has a different idea of what the ideal employee looks like — and you won’t always be able to fit that picture, no matter what you do.
In your job search, you will probably interview with companies where you just don’t mesh well with the team. If your skill set and/or personality don’t align with the company’s vision, it’s time to move on.
Don’t take this type of rejection personally. It happens all the time. Besides, if the company doesn’t think you’re a good fit, you probably wouldn’t have been happy in that position anyway.
3. You’re Not Passionate About Your Field
It’s natural to look for a new job in a field in which you already have experience, but if you’re not passionate about that field, your lack of enthusiasm will show. Hiring managers can always tell if you are truly excited about what the company does. They can also tell if you’re applying for the position just for the sake of having a job.
If you’re not passionate about your current field, it might be time to make a change. No one wants to hire someone who only wants to collect a paycheck. Companies want employees who genuinely care about the work, add value to the team, and help the company grow. If your heart’s not in it, you may be looking for jobs in the wrong space.
4. You’re Not Applying to Enough Jobs
When you’re knee-deep in a job search, you’ve got to play the odds. Sometimes, getting hired is nothing more than a numbers game. The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances are.
With every interview, you’re competing with a pool of several other candidates who are equally qualified as you. The more people interviewing for the role, the smaller your chances are of getting hired. To get the numbers working in your favor, you have to apply for multiple jobs.
It’s easy to get your heart set on working for one specific company or taking on one specific role. When you limit your search, however, you limit your chances of getting any job at all. Expand your horizons. Apply for dozens of jobs if need be, and expect to face rejection from at least some of them.
5. You’re Not a Great Interviewee — Yet
You might have all the talent in the world, but if you’re not good at job interviews, you’ll have a hard time getting hired.
Take a step back and think about your behavior during your last few interviews. Can you identify any areas where your performance could have been better? For example, you may need to learn how to control your anxiety. Some people are so nervous in job interviews that they can’t communicate their true value.
It’s also important to follow proper interview etiquette. Dress the part so you look and feel your best. Greet your interviewer with a solid handshake. Sit up straight. Make eye contact.
If you think you’re bad at interviews, it’s likely you just need a little practice. Considering doing some mock interviews with a friend or former coworker who can give you honest feedback on how you could improve. And remember: Every interview you go on provides another chance to hone your skills.
When the job search starts to feel hopeless, take a day off to do some self-reflection. Think about what you’ve done so far and whether it’s time to go in a new direction.
Feeling discouraged will not help you land a job, but feeling optimistic and excited about the future will!
Check out part two of the series, which explores how to find and land your dream job!
Jennica Stevens is the business manager at Meridian.