Are you struggling to find a job? Have you been looking for a while? Ironically, many employers report challenges filling positions because they perceive a talent shortage. So what’s going on? Why is it so hard to find a job when employers still need new employees?
When it seems hard to find a job, there are typically three factors at play:
- Your job search and application practices are ineffective.
- Your skills aren’t relevant in the industry/geography you are applying to.
- It is challenging to get the attention of hiring managers with so many other applicants.
How to Find a Job
Looking for a job is a complicated process. Many factors need to be in place for the right candidate to find the right job. The process doesn’t seem hard when you only need to submit a resume through a website but, as you know, submitting resumes online doesn’t produce many callbacks.
The real issue is that job searching skills are not taught in schools. There are career placement centers and they may run workshops to help with things like resume writing and interviewing, but there’s a lot about the job-hunting process that isn’t covered.
Don’t get frustrated, get educated! There are so many affordable books and even more free career blogs and career resources out there for job seekers. Don’t neglect networking, either. In Austin, there’s a group called Launch Pad Job Club that offers a tremendous amount of value.
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Are Your Skills Relevant?
You can’t fit a square peg through a round hole. In the same way, you can’t find a job in just any industry or any geography. You need to know where your skills are in demand, or even IF they are in demand! Websites like monster.com and U.S. News produce lists of the most in-demand jobs, while other sources will narrow it down further by telling you what kind of jobs are in demand for different parts of the country and world.
Don’t ignore this data. Instead, adapt to it.
To find a job at a particular employer or within a certain industry, you may have to position your skills in a different way. This is the process of looking at what skills are required for the job you want and then re-positioning how your existing skills are related. You also need to modify your professional branding to use the correct terms and present a consistent story.
Another reality check is that you may have to relocate or get specific training to qualify for the position you want. It’s never a bad idea to continue building new skills, but it’s important to verify that those skills will get you the job you want.
Network to Get Noticed
You probably find it pretty easy to modify your resume and submit it for a job opening. Well, guess what? It’s that easy for everyone else, too! It’s so hard to stand out, sometimes to even get your resume glanced at. This is why I advise clients to always be networking. Why? Let’s look at things from the hiring manager’s point of view.
As a hiring manager, you 1) don’t have a lot of time, and 2) are concerned about hiring the wrong person. The best thing you can wish for is that a trusted friend or associate recommends someone within their network. That’s why hiring managers and company recruiters work so hard to spread the word about their job opening to their network.
A referral helps eliminate the work of plowing through resumes and alleviates the concern of hiring someone they know very little about. Networking is the key because you both find out about jobs and are referred to hiring managers through your network.
Combine your networking efforts with a complete job search strategy and add a properly positioned skill set, then finding a job should be much easier. It doesn’t have to be hard to find a job – but it takes hard work to get one.
Still struggling with your job search strategy? Our job search coaches can help accelerate the process by helping you to focus on your brand, skills, and experience. Connect with a coach today!
This article was originally published on March 8, 2016, and has been updated.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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