Perhaps you feel like you’ve tried everything. You followed all of the advice. Made changes to your resume and cover letter more times than you care to count. Spoken to recruiters over and over again. Yet, nothing changes. You can’t find a job.
Now, I know just how frustrating that can be — which is why I want to help by sharing 7 tips that will help you optimize your job search strategy.
Best of all, by following these tips, you won’t only know how to find more jobs. You’ll also learn how to move closer to landing your dream job!
But before we get to that, let’s start by taking a quick look at what might be holding you back.
The Most Common Reasons Why You Can’t Find A Job
Everyone’s job search is different. But here are some of the most common reasons why you might be struggling to find a job.
You’re only applying for jobs you find online
You’ve checked LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and every other online job search engine you can find. But you can’t seem to find anything that feels like a good fit. Well, guess what? You may not be able to find a job here because the perfect job for you isn’t even being advertised online. It’s been estimated that 70-85% of jobs never even make it onto the job boards!
You don’t have enough experience for the roles you want
We’ve all seen them. The entry-level roles that somehow require 5+ years of experience. What’s going on here? Well, whenever a company posts a job, the skills, experience, and “requirements” aren’t really required. It’s more like a wish list for the perfect hire. But, oftentimes, that “perfect” person never even applies, leaving the job to go to someone that checks just enough — but not all — of the boxes.
You don’t have any connections to get referrals
You know how the saying goes: “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” And there’s a lot of truth to that. According to one study, 40% of hires come from referrals. But if you don’t know anybody working at companies where you want to work, this seems like a huge disadvantage. But it’s not. And I’ll show you why soon.
You can’t find enough available jobs in your industry
Whether you’ve got a decade of work experience or you’re still in college, there are times when external factors make finding a job particularly tough. Given the global pandemic occurring right now, we’re definitely experiencing one of those times. But, don’t be fooled! Many companies are still hiring, and you can still find a job.
Your resume is outdated or poorly formatted
A lot of people get resumes wrong. Perhaps, you do too. You think it’s meant to be a summary of everything you’ve done. Every responsibility. Every achievement. Every job you’ve ever had. But here’s the thing: your resume is not meant to be a summary. It’s meant to sell you as the perfect person for the job! If it's not, it’s only holding you back.
You can’t get past the interviews
This one is frustrating. Your resume or referral gets your foot in the door. You’re meeting for one interview after another. But, despite all of your preparation, your potential new job journey always gets cut short. Luckily, this common obstacle can be overcome.
You’re trying to find a job in a new industry
Career changes aren’t always easy. It can sometimes feel like all of the experience you gained in your old career is no longer relevant. But that’s not true! You just have to know how to highlight the value of that experience throughout every stage of your job search.
7 Tips To Improve Your Job Search Strategy
So, I’ve covered why you may be struggling to find a job. Now, it’s time to look at my 7 tips to get you back on track towards finding a job in spite of those reasons!
#1: Focus First On Building Connections
These days, you can build a connection with almost anyone at almost any company thanks to the internet. How? Well, first, you need to find who you want to contact. In general, I’d recommend someone who is either:
- In a role you’d want
- In a role that could have influence over the hiring for the role you’d want
Next, you’ll want to find their email address and send them a message. Now, remember the goal is to build a connection. So, don’t go asking right away for a referral. Instead, slowly build a genuine relationship by asking about their career path, experience at the company, and anything else that interests you about their work.
I go into more detail on how exactly you can go about this, step-by-step, in How to Get a Job Without Connections!
#2: Demonstrate The Value You Can Bring To The Company
Companies invest a lot of time into finding the right person to hire. That means that there is little to no room to just give someone a “chance”. Luckily, you don’t need it — even if you don’t have all of the experience they list in the job description. Instead, you can prove upfront the value and skills you’d bring to the job by putting together what I call a Value Validation Project.
To put it simply, this involves figuring out one of the company’s current pain points and then showing them how you would go about finding a solution to that problem. This could be a short presentation with some recommendations, an analysis of their customer base, or something you create entirely from scratch.
Yes, it’s a bit of work upfront. But, when executed correctly, it will help you land interviews that lead to job offers left and right!
#3: Write Your Resume To Stand Out And Sell Your Experience
Resumes are important. But often, most people overthink it. Above anything else, your resume needs to sell you as the perfect person for the job. You do this by doing things like:
- Writing a results oriented resume objective
- Using keywords from the job description to talk about your experience and skills
- Providing relevant quantitative results in your work experience bullet points
For a deeper dive into how to best write your resume, check out How To Write A Job-Winning Resume In 2020 [5+ Templates & Examples].
#4: Develop Your Online Presence And Personal Brand
Building your online presence and personal brand can have a profound impact on your job search. Not only can it help you find a job, but it can also help recruiters find and offer jobs to you!
Luckily, it’s not too difficult if you take it one step at a time. Start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Then, you can explore what you’re comfortable with. That might be posting on LinkedIn, commenting on the posts of other people in your industry, or starting your own blog. These types of things help people understand who you are, your way of thinking, and whether you’re someone they can trust.
#5: Strategically Prepare For Interviews
Job interviews can be stressful. But the right preparation can drastically help even the most anxious among us. What does the “right” kind of preparation look like?
Well, in addition to preparing for the standard questions like “Tell me about yourself” or “Why are you the best person for the job?” you also should dig into public information about the company. What initiatives could you contribute to if hired? What challenges is the team you’d join currently facing? By knowing the answers to questions like these you can be more strategic about how you structure your answers, questions, and email follow-up.
#6: Expand Your Job Search To Related Industries
As we’ve seen particularly well during the global pandemic, occasionally some industries slow down and put a freeze on hiring while, at the same time, other industries ramp things up and hire more. If all of your experience comes from an industry that no longer has enough jobs, it’s time for a change.
Instead of focusing on how a career change might be challenging, focus on your transferable skills. Where else might all of your experience be useful? Sure, you may need to develop a few new skills to prove you can succeed in a new industry. But this is all way more common than you might think!
You can check out How to Find a Career in a Different Field for an in depth guide on how to go about this in the most effective way.
#7: Have Patience
A big mistake people make when searching for a job is giving up too soon. They have a few dream jobs in mind. But then building connections, tailoring each resume, creating value validation projects, etc. feels too slow and overwhelming.
It’s, undoubtedly, much easier to find a few jobs online to send a quick resume and cover letter. But does this lead to you finding a job you actually enjoy? Not for most people. Instead, it results in you taking the first job you’re offered regardless of whether you can actually see yourself being happy.
So, if you’re in a position financially to wait for the right opportunity or at least one that moves you closer to the right opportunity, then do. It’s worth it.
There are a number of reasons why you might be struggling and feeling like you can’t find a job. But, as I hope you’ve learned from this post, there are things you can do to take back control.
Start following the 7 tips I’ve shared today to increase your chances of finding exactly the kind of job you’re after!