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Why Your Job Search Isn’t Getting You a Job

Elements beyond your control can impact your job search success: the job market, the economy, the health of your industry. Yet, there are many factors over which you have complete control. How you handle these factors can make the difference between a long, drawn-out job search and one that nets quicker results. Rather than focusing on what we cannot change, let’s focus on what we can. Here are five reasons that you may not be getting the results you want in your current job search:  

1. You’ve already convinced yourself that there aren’t any jobs available.
Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Attitude and confidence play a large role in success—whether you are an athlete, businesswoman, or job hunter. Your belief—or disbelief—in your ability to achieve success will greatly influence how you conduct your job search and the impression you make with others. 

Imagine an unseeded tennis player that is scheduled to go up against a top-ranking player in a match. This isn’t the situation that she’d hoped for. But, now that it is here, how will she approach the opportunity she’s been given? She has two options: 

She can step onto the court already looking defeated. Head and shoulders dropped. Slumped posture. Panged look on her face. She is, in effect, telling her opponent, “You’ve already won.” Not surprisingly, she will be right. Her fear will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

On the other hand, she can consider this to be a tremendous opportunity. She knows how good her opponent is and she respects her game. But she is confident in her own skills and ability. She sees this as the biggest opportunity of her career and she is determined to go for it. This attitude of confidence and self-belief is just as critical to her success as her talent and abilities. 

What is your belief about your ability to succeed in your job search? It will either limit your ability to succeed or propel you forward. Limit the amount of negative information you allow in each day. Find the balance between staying informed and absorbing every negative report about the job market and the economy. Improve your job search skills and techniques. This will further boost your confidence.  

2. You’re not as productive as you think you are.
“I’ve been looking for a job for months, but I’m not getting any results.” This is the most common complaint I encounter with my job search-coaching clients. My response is, “What have you been doing during those months?” Their initial response usually sounds promising. They’ve sent out twenty resumes or spend two hours per day combing job ads. However, when we look at the numbers more objectively, we usually discover room for improvement. Sending twenty targeted resumes out in two weeks is impressive. Sending out just twenty resumes over the course of two and a half months will considerably lengthen your job search. 

The average job search can range from three months to a year. The length of your job search is largely determined by the time, energy, and effort that you put into it. If you are a full-time job hunter, approach your job search much the same way you would approach a full-time job. Carefully assess your current job search. What kind of time and effort are you putting into your job search? Are you a full-time job hunter, a part-time job hunter, or is your job search become more of a hobby? Honestly, assess your situation and make adjustments where necessary. 

3. You have no clear plan.
Can you imagine a sports team entering a game without a game plan? From little league to the pros there is always a game plan in place. You study the opposition. Study the field of play. You play to your strengths while exploiting the opposer’s weaknesses. As a job hunter, you must take the same approach. 

Learn about different job search strategies. Conduct careful research on your field and industry. Learn as much as you can about your targeted geographic locations. Your industry may be dying in your local region yet blossoming in another. Create a plan of action based on the information that you gather and implement it consistently. Keep track of your results and make adjustments as needed. 

4. You shy away from high-risk, high-reward job search techniques.
It isn’t uncommon for a frustrated job hunter to reveal that they spend countless hours on their job search each day. The majority—if not all—of that time is spent in passive job search activities like surfing online job boards and combing through newspaper ads. These activities are convenient and feel safe. However, they are not the most effective strategies for landing your next job. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. If you are currently involved in a job hunt, networking should be an integral part of your strategic plan. Learn how to network effectively. If you are hesitant or perhaps shy, begin slowly. Practice with friends or family to raise your confidence. Then take the plunge. Realize that the best way to get over your fear of networking is to just do it. The more you network, the better you’ll become at this essential skill. 

Remember that networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships with others. Keep in touch with the members of your network. Don’t just call upon them when you need something. Look for opportunities to support them as well. 

5. You’re trying to go it alone.
A job hunt can be a lonely and devastating experience. Do not isolate yourself. Communicate with friends and family. Let them know how you’re feeling. Get support from others. If you can’t find the support that you need within your own circle: 

  • Join a job hunters group locally or online.
  • Buddy up with another job hunter and commit to calling each other at least once a week.
  • Work with a job search or career coach. 

Enlisting the support of others can provide ongoing support, encouragement, and added accountability. Many job hunters find that this greatly improves their results. Honestly assess your current situation. If your job hunt isn’t getting any traction, consider how leveraging support can improve your results. 

We are in a highly competitive job market. Yet, jobs are available. If your job search isn’t getting results, rethink your current strategy. Improve your outlook; ramp up your activity; establish a clear game plan; go for high-risk, high-reward strategies; and get needed support.

By Roxanne Ravenel of WomenCo.