When the going gets tough, jobseekers sometimes like to blame outside forces — the economy, for instance — for their difficulty landing interviews and offers. While there may be some validity to this, there are some common stumbling blocks that have more to do with the individual, and that can be more easily overcome.
In an insightful U.S. News & World Report post titled “How to Handle 3 Common Roadblocks of Job Searching,” career expert and Jobhuntercoach head Arnie Fertig offers tips for plowing through three common barriers that stand between people and their career goals.
First up: “You spend hours applying to positions online and never hear back.” This is a frequent problem, Fertig writes, for jobseekers who fail to view online postings as “leads rather than as an application pipeline.” Your chances of scoring an interview are much better if you research the company, figure out what its needs are, and then connect with the hiring manager via LinkedIn or some other platform. Don’t throw your resume into a blackhole, in other words. Network your way through the front door.
Having success getting interviews but struggling to close the deal? In response to roadblock No. 2, “You have had interviews at multiple companies, but you never got the job offer,” Fertig suggests taking a close look at how you perform in interviews. Obviously, since you keep getting called in, you possess some of the skills and experience needed for the job, so you’re applying for the right kinds of positions. But are you friendly? Do you give direct answers to questions? Do you have an understanding of the companies’ problems and how you’re poised to solve them? These are all questions Fertig recommends you ask yourself, and he also suggests enlisting the services of a professional job coach.
“That person will sometimes be able to hear your words in a way that you didn’t intend and guide you to a better way to make your case,” he writes.
Lastly, Fertig takes on this tricky one: “You are applying to career-changing jobs you think would be interesting but get no nibbles.” As he writes, simply having a strong interest in a new career doesn’t mean you’re qualified to make the jump, or that hiring managers are going to see you as a viable candidate. To figure out where you stand, do your homework and begin by making sure you have all the necessary education, licenses, and experience. Then, schedule informational interviews with people in the field you’d like to explore and ask them flat out whether you’ve got a shot.
It also helps to take a gander at your resume and make sure you’re highlighting the experiences that are most relevant to this new area you’re looking to break into. These should also be the focus of your cover letters — which ought not be generic but rather tailored for each specific opportunity.