"Why Am I Still Unemployed?"
By: Karin Eldor
Whether you’re a university graduate looking to land your first job, the victim of a corporate restructuring, or looking for a new career opportunity, the waiting game to hear “you’re hired” can be stressful. Even more so when the unemployment starts to exceed the one-year mark.
There’s something to be said about the common perception that it’s easier to find a job while currently at a job (even though it can be tough to find the time…). After all,when you’re employed and in the midst of a job hunt, you have the upper hand and as a result, usually exude more confidence. After all, you have nothing to lose!
Stress rears its ugly head when no job offers are coming in, and with no other job to fall back on. And the longer you’re unemployed, the more discouraged you tend become.
Let me start by making you feel better: you only need one “yes.” You only need to have that spark with one company to become employed. So if you’re landing the job interviews and even second rounds of meet-and-greets, but that coveted job offer is eluding you, it’s time to ask yourself some questions.
Find out why you might not be closing the deal after landing the interviews, and most important, how to make the most of unemployment.
Is your resume properly representing you? If you’re securing interviews, then you’re standing out among other applicants. Consider it as though your online dating profile is strong: you’re attracting the right people, but you haven’t found the right fit just yet.
Perhaps there’s a disconnect between your resume and your actual personality. For example, you might seem seasoned and highly experienced on paper, but then unimpressive in person. This can throw interviewers off!
What you can do: Ask two or three close friends to review your resume and ask them if it reflects you. You might not need to upgrade your resume, but rather ensure that your resume is a closer representation of you.
If you receive a rejection email from HR at a company you interviewed with, don’t be shy to ask why you weren’t the right fit; this can be one way to gain some insight for future interviews. Even if they withhold negative feedback (they will likely be polite!), you might get some clues as to what went wrong or what they were looking for.
In any case your resume only gets you halfway there; now you need to knock it out of the park with your interview skills.
During the interview:
Are you standing out?
HR managers meet with multiple candidates, sometimes back-to-back. So your qualifications can make you a great fit, but your personality also needs to shine and stand out. If HR needs to look back at their notes to remember who you are, then you didn’t do a good enough job to make a strong impression.
What you can do: To hit a home run during your next interview(s), be professional with a hint of conversational and friendly. When it comes to “fit,” hiring managers look for people who are competent but would also fit right into the work culture. Change your interview mindset going forward and try to loosen up and be personable.
Are you coming across as desperate?
As much as the company you’re interviewing with might your “dream job” (and you really need a job at this point!), your gushing can be perceived as begging.
What you can do: Make your desire clear when asked “Why do you want to work here?” but make sure you tell the hiring manager why they should hire you. You want them to feel that hiring you is the smart choice or favor, and not the other way around.
Are you dropping the ball after the interview?
Are you doing everything you need to do after the interview, like sending a thank you email or even better, a card? (P.S. you need to do at least one of these.) Or perhaps you need to rethink the people you’ve enlisted as your references -- you want to ensure these are the people who will really vouch for you on another level!
General career choice:
If your job search is beginning to weigh you down and is nearing the 12-month mark, it’s time to start asking yourself some important questions, like:
- Are you in the right industry?
- Do you know what you want?
- Is it time to consider a career pivot?
Consider reaching out to mentors or a career coach for some extra guidance. You might need some objective perspectives on your career path, and meeting with a career or life coach can either validate your choices or help you uncover an entirely new passion to pursue. Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something!
Make the Most of Unemployment
Whatever you decide to do during those months of unemployment, make sure you’re balancing the job search with other activities. It’s key to stay busy and expand your horizons; the busier you are, the more momentum you’ll create. And things in motion tend to stay in motion…