By Lauren Harrison, Account Representative
If you have ever been out of work or have wanted to find a better position, then you have probably asked yourself “why is it taking me so long to get a new job?”
I hear this question again and again from the clients I am helping to get hired. So, based on my experiences with them and the feedback I get from employers, I’ve compiled a list of five answers to that question. You will probably notice that every answer involves YOU. That is because it really is up to you to get your next job. No matter how much I can or want to help my clients, they – you – have to make it happen.
So, if you’ve been wondering “why is it taking me so long to get a new job,” here are the answers that I share with my clients:
You’re not presenting yourself well in your resume or cover letter.
Resumes and cover letters aren’t “one size fits all.” You will need to change your resume around at times to tailor it to the specific position you are applying for. Whatever industry you are targeting, you must make sure your resume speaks that “language.” Emphasize the skills that are described in the job posting and use key words. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes in the resume, cover letter or in any communication with the employer. As the saying goes, “there are no second chances to make a first impression.”
You’re not putting in the time.
People are not spending enough time on the computer searching for a job. You must dedicate an allotted time each day where you are sitting in front of the computer searching for job openings. Yes, the search may seem endless and the applications can sometimes take a few hours to fill out. And yes, it really is hard work! I suggest taking breaks now and then, either to get some nourishment for your body or to do some sort of physical exercise to clear your mind and release stress. This will reenergize you, which will, in turn, enable you to continue the search further. Once you accept the fact that searching for a job is a lot like having a full time job, you will be on the way to better results.
You’re not networking enough.
Findings compiled from multiple sources, including CNN and The Wall Street Journal, indicate that 80% of vacancies are not advertised online, in print or anywhere else. Networking is extremely valuable. People network to expand their businesses so why should it be any different when you are looking for work. Speak to as many people as possible and make sure they know you are looking for a new job. They may know someone who is hiring or has been thinking of hiring and you will be in the right place at the right time. Being out there is crucial, so go find some networking groups and connect with as many people as possible. Every gathering, every social event, every activity you attend with your child, every evening out with friends is a chance to network and spread the word that you are in job search mode.
Your technology skills are lacking.
Not being up to par with technology can really hinder your chances of getting hired. You should use this time wisely and brush up on your technology skills or learn new ones. This is a great opportunity for you to increase your skill sets in computers and social media. There is almost no job now for which basic computer skills, at the very least, aren’t required. Having those skills increase your chances of getting a job. Not having them probably means you won’t even be considered.
Your expectations are too high.
In an ideal world, we would all make enormous salaries and have a five minute commute. But, realistically, the work world doesn’t usually offer us everything we’d like. You have to be willing to compromise. Many of us expect to get paid more than we did in our previous position. But, in today’s job market, salaries are much lower than they were in the past. You have to be willing to adjust your expectations and consider taking less. If you ask for more than they are offering it may eliminate you from the running. Do some research regarding the salary range and comparables at that organization and the industry standard in your area, and don’t ask for way above that. You also have to be flexible when it comes to the location of the opportunity. Don’t rule out job opportunities because of distance. You must be willing to travel for the right job.
Looking for a job is never easy and the longer it goes on, the more frustrating it can become. Before you throw in the towel, think about what YOU need to do differently and how YOUR approach to the process needs to change. With just a few adjustments, you may find you’ve substantially increased your chances of landing that job.
By Lauren Harrison, Account Representative, JCS Career Center
JCS offers a full range of career services. For more information about the JCS Career Center click here or call 410-466-9200.