So you have found yourself unemployed, and now you can’t seem to find a job. You have interviewed with multiple companies, some have even invited you back for 2 or 3 rounds, but no one has made an offer. What the heck is going on?!
First things first…breath! In the current market, it still takes on average 6 to 10 weeks to find a new position, assuming you are making finding a new job your full time job. That includes the application process, interviewing, and then starting a new role.
Here are some facts and insight to give this struggle some context:
1. It’s a numbers game. Even in todays candidate driven market, you have to assume there are many other people applying for the same job as you. Only a small percentage of people who apply will get called for an interview, and only one gets the job. You have to apply and keep applying, and then apply some more. Follow up with the employers who posted the job, if possible. Take initiative and try to stand out, in a positive way, from the rest.
2. Many open jobs are not posted online. “SO WHERE DO I FIND THE OPEN JOBS??!!!”
● Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
● Networking with others in your field
● Third party recruiters
You just have to get yourself out there!
3. Most candidates that apply to a job are eliminated by simple screening algorithms, usually because they haven’t tailored their resume to the job that they are applying for. For example, if you are applying to a Machine Operator role, read the job description and research the company to find out what types of machines and processes they run. Included your related experience on your resume, finding as many ways as possible to relate your experience to the open role.
4. Social media is now a huge part of our daily lives. Many hiring managers and human resource professionals will review a candidates social media profiles before considering them for an interview. It is important to maintain a positive online presence. This means avoid images or posts that show you in compromising situations. Avoid divisive discussions such as politics and religion and stay away from derogatory statements, public slander, or profanity (and definitely don’t post anything negative about your prior employer!).
5. Be patient. As time goes on, you will start to feel stress set in. Just remember that the more you stress, the less effective you will be in an interview. Get good sleep, wake up early each day, make a goal to apply to 5 – 10 jobs per day, and stay positive. Take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically. You will be back to the grind soon enough, so take some time to think about what you want in your next career move and how that will align with your short and long term goals.
Finding a job is always easier when you already have one, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a nightmare when you are unemployed. Be positive and stay the course. You’ve got this!
It’s not them, it’s you.
I know this sounds really harsh, but it’s the truth. And even if it’s not you, you can’t change or control another person, so you might as well look at yourself and what role you are playing in the situation.
Let’s think about all the reasons a job could not go well:
- Your manager is a micromanager
- The hours required to do the work are much more than you expected
- Your coworkers are all friends and don’t include you in their fun or activities
- Your coworkers are lazy and leave you with most of the work
- Your work is not fulfilling and you just don’t enjoy it
- You don’t get paid enough to deal with all the bs
- You have been passed up for one or more promotions or raises
- The commute is wearing on you
- You are missing out on other family or life obligations due to work
- You are always stressed out and emotional because of work
Sound familiar? You have a few options:
- Do nothing and stay miserable.
- Blame the situation for your problems and quit.
- Stop looking at everything around you as the problem, and figure out what you can do to change your current situation. This might still lead to you quitting, but it will lead to a much more productive outcome.
Here are a couple questions to think about as you try to improve your situation:
- Have you expressed your concerns with the appropriate people?
- We aren’t in elementary school anymore. If people are treating you in a way you don’t want to be treated, say something. You deserve respect, but so does everyone else. Find out if there is something that happened that led to the behavior and ask what you can do to change the interaction moving forward. People are not required to like you, but in a workplace setting they should be professional and respectful. Set boundaries and expectations for how you would like to be treated moving forward.
- Request one-on-one’s with your supervisor more frequently. Once a month is probably about as frequent as you would want to request, but it’s important to let your supervisor know that you care about improving yourself as an employee. You may also get some well needed feedback about how you can better interact with other employees.
- Seek feedback, don’t complain. You are there to do a job. At the end of the day, you aren’t there to make friends. Complaining about interpersonal drama will only put a target on you. Do your best to ignore and avoid workplace drama. Be kind and courteous. Don’t engage if others are trying to get you involved in drama. Stay focused on growing as an employee and elevating yourself in your career.
- Don’t be a hero. It is not your responsibility to teach other people how to behave as humans. You are not their parent. The only way to impact others is leading by example. Be positive, stay focused, and do a great job at work.
- What is the real underlying reason you dislike a job that you once loved? Or rather, did you accept a position that you really shouldn’t have accepted in the first place?
- No one owes you a job. No one else controls whether you are fulfilled by a job. This is all up to you. If you don’t want to do the expected daily responsibilities and duties, don’t accept the job in the first place.
- If the job changed since you accepted the position, ask yourself this: did you ask enough questions in the interview to learn about all of the expected responsibilities and duties. If you feel you did, then have a conversation with your supervisor about the changes to your daily duties and find out what their expectations are moving forward.
- Discuss your career goals with your supervisor. Let them know how you are wanting to grow as an employee and what skills you would like to learn. Find out if there are ways to incorporate some of this into your current work day.
- Are you really upset about the job, or are you allowing personal matters to interfere with your work? This is common. If you are facing challenges at home, the likelihood is that everything else in your life has a dark cloud over it too. You have to leave home at home and focus on work when you are at your job. It might seem easier said than done, but there is no reason to allow one area of struggle to ruin another important area in your life. If you just can’t find a way to separate work and personal for the time being, ask for personal time off to handle whatever it is you are dealing with. Work will still be there when you get back. And hopefully you will be better prepared to handle the day to day when you do return.
- What are you doing to improve yourself as an employee?
- Take responsibility of your own career. Look at what you can do differently to make the positive changes you need to be fulfilled by your work. Be grateful to the people around you that make you love what you do and lead others by the example you set.
Your job isn’t always going to be easy (and it shouldn’t be), but it also doesn’t have to be so difficult day to day. Stay humble and keep it professional!
One of the most important lessons I have learned in my recruiting career is that communication is key!
Remember back to your COMM 101 class and accept the fact that everything your professors taught you is still true and very relevant!
Communication is a two way street and takes more listening than talking to work! Don’t forget: every person you speak with is bringing their past to the table. In other words, we are all who we are today because of our life experiences, good or bad. In recruiting, this means we cannot make blanket assumptions about what someone means by something they communicate to us.
Ask questions! Don’t stop at the first answer and assume you have it all figured out.
Here are some examples of “deeper dive” questions I always train my recruiters to practice in all of their candidate and client calls/meetings:
1. What does that mean to you?
2. Why do you feel that way?
3. How does that impact you/the team?
…and this is just the starting point! Always keep asking layered questions to get to the real concerns and needs.
Recruiters are way more than “just recruiters,” and it’s up to us to ask the right questions in the right way. Give your mouth a break and listen for a change.