Yes, the economy is bad, but people are getting jobs. In fact, last month the US President reported the creation of 1.1 million private sector jobs since January, 2010 based on Labor Department statistics. Admittedly it is the luck of the draw sometimes, but more often than not, candidates who repeatedly don’t get hired are making critical mistakes that can be corrected.
- If you are not getting any response to job inquiries at all, it may be that your résumé or cover letter has serious errors; likely you are not aware of them. I recently reviewed the résumé of a Senior Java Developer who had the word ‘Mainfram’ rather than ‘Mainframe’ in his opening paragraph. Needless to say, this is not good. Check it once, check it twice, and check it again! Hire a certified professional résumé writer if need be, to make sure your résumé and cover letter are an accurate and polished representation of your best capabilities.
- Step up your personal presentation. Teeth, hair, clothing, hygiene, cologne, and jewelry do matter. According to numerous reports published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and others, grooming and attire significantly influence hiring decisions. You don’t have to look like a movie star, but showing pride in how you take care of yourself is important.
- Communicate your story in a compelling and effective way. Spend time practicing and perfecting your answers. If you ramble, you run the risk of being seen as someone who talks too much. Be calm and act professionally at all times.
- Follow up is critical. If you have an interview scheduled a few weeks out, be sure to confirm it and use the opportunity to reiterate your interest level. If you have already been interviewed, be sure to send a personalized thank you note via email and also via snail mail. Avoid becoming a stalker though; too much follow up can backfire.
- Don’t be a serial job applicant. I can’t tell you the number of people I speak with who apply for a job, get an interview and then wait until they hear back. The more people you can network with, the more jobs you can apply for, the more likely you are to get hired.
- If you are missing specific skills that keep coming up as a shortfall, get training; and if possible, do volunteer work so you can gain practical experience with your newly acquired skills.
- Consider seeking professional assistance from a Certified Professional Career Coach. He or she can practice mock interviews with you to help position you for better success.
In today’s economy, if you are consistently being turned down for job opportunities, you absolutely must take an honest and critical look at all areas where there is room for improvement. Think about what is within your power to change; then create a realistic plan of action to fix the mistakes and move closer to an offer.