After spending hours applying for jobs, you open your email only to find another batch of auto-generated rejections. Most of us have been in this situation before, where you put so much time and energy into job searching, but you aren’t getting anywhere, and you just want to scream. During times like these, not only do you feel incredibly frustrated, but you might also be feeling deflated enough to give up.
More often than not, even a successful job search is a long process. So, if after months of applying for jobs, you haven’t seen any progress, it’s understandable why you’d be feeling discouraged. It’s hard enough to get rejected from job after job as it is. Still, when you aren’t getting feedback from recruiters (or hiring managers after interviews), you’re left guessing what you’re doing wrong, and you may even start taking all of the rejection personally.
Commonly made mistakes and or oversights during the search and application process can undoubtedly result in a deflating experience—but, thankfully, many of these mistakes and oversights are easy to correct. Take comfort, though, because the chances are high that there is nothing personal going on. It’s much more likely that the reason you’re not progressing in your job search is because of something you’re doing (or not doing) on the front end.
Reasons You Might Be Feeling Deflated
1. Undefined needs and wants
If you’ve ever been desperate to find a new job, you’ve likely found yourself applying to pretty much anything that aligns with your skills. This strategy may very well get you some interviews. Still, if you’re spending hours chatting with recruiters and hiring managers about jobs that aren’t a good fit, the experience isn’t exactly empowering. To avoid the frustration of asking yourself, “why can’t I find a decent job?” you will need to be intentional in which jobs you apply for. Before applying for any more jobs, clearly define the things you need, what you want, and what you do not want in a job. This will help give you direction and better filter out the positions you may be qualified for but aren’t aligned with what you are looking for.
Again, understanding your intention is essential when it comes to job searching. At the same time, you can certainly just start clicking away at different websites and submitting your resume wherever. Instead, you’ll make much better use of your time if you develop a plan and strategy. There are several ways to do this: focusing on one industry or job title per day rather than skipping around aimlessly or committing to applying for five jobs per day Monday through Friday.
If you’re job searching, but you don’t have a ton of experience on your resume, either because you were on a mom pause or your work history just isn’t very long, you might be underselling yourself. While the skills you learn on the job are worth including on any resume, so are the skills you’ve picked up in life. Your resume, profile, portfolio, etc., should consist of any transferable skills you’ve gained over the years, regardless of where you inherited them.
In some situations, you can submit the same resume and general cover letter for every job you apply to, but those situations are rare. For the most part, you should be tweaking and editing your resume and cover letter for every job you’re applying for to ensure it makes it through the company’s talent management system. Customizing your application materials will increase your chances of getting past the algorithm and increase your chances of getting a phone call from a recruiter.
5. Out-of-date or weak online presence
By now, you should assume that any recruiter who comes across your resume will search for your LinkedIn profile and possibly Google you. So your online presence must be squeaky clean and up to date (basically, your social media pages should not raise any red flags). Your LinkedIn profile needs to be polished because it’s much more likely that a recruiter will find and cold contact you if your page includes a picture, your bio, your career history, and is filled with keywords.
6. Lack of connections
Having a broad professional network is especially helpful when you’re job searching because your connections can introduce you to decision-makers in companies you’d like to work, or possibly even serve as a referral for a job opening in their organization. If you’ve been job searching for a while without much luck, it might be time to start attending networking events to grow your connections within your industry.
7. Poor pacing
Pacing is essential when searching for jobs. If you are racing through, spending hours applying for jobs every day, then it won’t be long before you burn out completely (forget feeling deflated, you’ll feel exhausted). On the other hand, not setting aside any structured time to focus on your search means you’ll be losing out on opportunities and possibly getting behind on emails from recruiters. To avoid going to either extreme, set up some kind of schedule for yourself that is consistent and realistic.
📒 Read more: Start by creating a calendar system to help you balance your time with applying for jobs, family, and other life commitments.
8. Skill misalignment
It’s critical to set your intentions before you search for a job. If you’re regularly applying for jobs that you’re either overqualified or underqualified for, you may not have much success. Coming across a resume for someone who is glaringly overqualified for a job is often a red flag for recruiters, so they’ll be much less likely to reach out for an interview. And, while it’s always a good idea to apply for some jobs that you might be slightly underqualified for, they should not be the only positions you apply. Instead, apply for jobs aligned with your experience and or skillset to yield the best results.
Reset, and Try Again
If looking through this list made you realize a mistake you’ve been making, then it’s time to make things right and get back out there. However, if you’re still at a loss, you may just need to give the search a little more time or reach out to a mentor or career coach for some extra help. Regardless of what’s going on, if you’re feeling deflated in your job hunt, know that it’s okay to take a week off to relax and reset—job hunting and interviewing demand you to be at your best, which can be incredibly tiring. So, step back, give yourself some space to breathe, fix your mistakes, and try again when you’re ready.
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