As a Resume Writer and Career Coach, one of the questions I get asked the most is “Why can’t I find a job?” So many job seekers become frustrated during their search because they expect instant results-and that rarely happens in a job search. Hunting for a new job is tough, it just is. However, there are things you can do to help you to understand “why” you aren’t finding a job, and even more importantly, understand “what” you should be doing differently to land the job of your dreams.
If your resume has not been updated in the past five years, then you have a problem. Even if you’ve been in the same job for longer than five years, surely you are learning new skills and achieving new goals that should be documented on your resume. A resume is a living document that needs to be revisited and updated on an annual basis. If you’re not doing this, then your resume could be the “dead” document that is thwarting your job search.
If you aren’t sure where to start, have your resume critiqued by a certified professional resume writer. Make the recommended changes yourself, or, hire the service to ensure that you’re getting the best documents you can to market your skills. Yes…this is an investment, but you’re investing in your future.
Social Media Activity
Today’s job seekers must have a presence on social media. As soon as someone hears your name, the curiosity sets in and a search will commence. Will you be found? Google yourself. What shows up? Clean up your social media profiles-both professional and personal. Be sure that your professional profiles clearly communicate your skill, experience, education, and value you can offer potential employers. If you’re on Facebook, beef up your privacy settings. Don’t let strangers see your activity or allow your friends to tag you in photos or post onto your page. For other sites like Instagram and Twitter, keep your settings on private so that you have to approve any new followers.
Create a profile on LinkedIn. This is the most popular professional networking site and a great place for recruiters and potential employers to find you. Be sure your profile is complete, brands you appropriately, is free of typos, and is filled with industry-specific keywords and keyword phrases that will get you found during SEO searches. Your profile photos should not be from your college fraternity days. A clear headshot with a clean background works best. Join groups and network within those groups. NOTE: Don’t comment on posts or in chats where you have no clue what you’re talking about.
Job Search 101
Before you go down the “why me” path, you need to take a long look in the mirror and ask these questions…
- What am I doing to find a job?
- How much time and effort am I devoting to my job search?
- What types of networking opportunities am I taking advantage of?
Asking these questions will help you to determine what you aren’t doing well, and how you can do things better. Are you only searching for job posts on one or two sites? Are you targeting individual companies, and if so, are you applying for jobs directly on their site? What about networking? Are you engaging in conversations on social media sites, or even attending job fairs? In today’s competitive job market, you need to be diligent in exploring as many paths as possible to find your next job.
Your resume and networking strategies paid off- you scored an interview! How you look, speak, and act during the interview can and probably will, make the difference between getting an offer, or a “we went with another candidate” letter.
To prepare, study the company culture, including the position you’re interviewing for. Understand what the company does, who they deal with, and what expectations they have for your position. If you have a contact in the company, seek him out and ask a few questions so that you can dress appropriately, as well as can speak the company language during your interview.
Get your marketing tools ready. Have multiple copies of your resume ready to present to the interview committee, as well as copies of any credentials you may need for the job. Practice answers to common interview questions, and be sure you have solid details to back your answers.
Before your interview date, map out your drive and ensure that you allow for rush hour traffic, trains, construction, etc. Being late for an interview is never acceptable and shows irresponsibility and lack of potential right from the get-go. When you arrive, greet the receptionist with a smile and a firm handshake.
During the interview, listen carefully to all questions before you answer. If you get a “stumper” (and you will), don’t get flustered! Take a deep breath and think before you answer. Be able to have concrete details of why you are the best candidate for the job, and speak to the credentials on your resume to reiterate your most important qualifications and achievements.
Follow up with a thank you note addressed directly to the person(s) you interviewed with. Even if you feel the interview didn’t go as well as you had hoped, you’re always leaving a good final impression when you send a thank you.
Searching for a job isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard, either. Listen to colleagues, career coaches, and HR friends-find out what did/did not work for them and see what you can incorporate into your job search strategy. Having a solid job search strategy, putting in time and effort, and networking within your industry will set you right on your way to that new job, and hopefully a great new career.
By Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, BS/HR, a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She has achieved international recognition following nominations and wins of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award. Find Erin at http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com.