If you find someone who actually enjoys job search, please let me know. Most job seekers, while excited by the idea of a new job, discover that actually finding that job feels like an uphill climb. And there seems to be no limit to the number of frustrating parts of job search.
But, over the many years of blogging about this and remembering my own job search efforts, I think these eight top the list and will help you know what to expect. (Although your own additions are very welcome.)
Most frustrating parts of job search
1. Can’t find any jobs you really want.
Without knowing you and what you really want, job search engines will gladly show you a long list of available jobs in your area — or beyond, But that doesn’t mean you want any of them. Or that you even have a good chance at the ones you might actually find interesting.
The main thing is that you can’t rely on job search engines alone. And even there you need to know how to get beyond the all-powerful screening process. (See next section.)
You need to find other ways to get to a job. Or methods you may not be using that can help some or all of these issues:
- Too little or too much experience.
- Fear of trying for the job you really want.
- Overwhelmed by the process.
- Missing skills that might give you an edge.
- Online reputation getting in the way.
- Starting to lose hope you’ll ever find a job.
- Lack of a good network to circumvent standard process.
If any of this is a problem for you, here are some articles to help:
2. Resume does a rotten job of selling you.
You know you’re good, why can’t they see it? Unfortunately, unless you have connections, your resume is your main entry point to the job. But with a poor resume, you may never make it past the dreaded resume screening process.
And even if you get to an initial interview, your resume may not be strong enough to get you to the nest step. Please … whatever else you do … take some time to review these tips. You may be shocked how poorly your resume is representing you — and how even small changes can make a big difference.
I once worked with a client who was extremely skilled and personable. But her resume was awful. Understated key selling points and included things that weren’t helping one bit … only weakening her case.
AND, despite a graduate degree and excellent language skills, she had a typo in her first paragraph for her “public relations” work. I’ll let you guess what the typo was.
3. Gaps in work history / too little experience.
The previous section was mostly about the quality of your resume. Even with the best qualifications, a poor resume can keep you from getting a job you might be great at.
But there is also the problem of your work history and qualifications, no matter how well-written your resume is. (You’ll also find tips to help with this in the resume articles linked above.)
The main thing I want you to know is that employers are more open to gaps than they used to be. You just need to make sure you come up with good ways to explain the gaps, as well as constructive things you were doing during that time (besides watching People’s Court).
- Learning new skills.
- Taking care of a loved one.
- Going back to school.
4. Too nervous to connect with interviewer.
The interview went badly. You can feel it. And you left the room with a sinking feeling. Sometimes, no matter how qualified we are, interview nerves get in the way.
Well, the good news is that interviewers expect nerves. And more often than not you did better than you think. But for those of you whose nerves are actually hurting your chances, here are some tips to help:
5. Your references are weak or non-existent.
Please don’t think that your job search is hopeless if your references are poor or missing. Although this can be a problem, there are some ways around it. Maybe not for every employer, but in most cases there can be a bit of flexibility.
Here are some tips to help:
6. No one responds to your emails or calls.
After your interview, it’s natural to want to get some feedback. Even if you do all the right things … including sending a polite thank you note … you may be greeted with silence. And it’s maddening!
So some job seekers start the “please please please talk to me” process. Follow-up notes. Phone calls. Notice me gifts. And still … silence.
First, you should know that some companies have policies reinforced by their legal department that stop them from responding — even if they loved you. And some companies are so overwhelmed by normal workload that, handling lots of emails, etc. from eager job seekers is actually just too much.
But what you really need to know is that your interview process is ongoing … even after you speak with them in person or on the phone / Zoom. So every effort and attempted connection is part of how they see you — and gets noted.
Don’t let them think you are high maintenance or oblivious to their side of things — including inboxes that may have hundreds (yes!) of emails waiting to be answered. .
The next section offers a link to an article that will help you see what else is happening “behind the scenes.” I hope it will help you deal with the all-too-real post-interview pain of not knowing.
7. Waiting seems endless after interview.
For most people, this one and the one directly above may be the most maddening — although so much of job search is potentially maddening. While it’s easy to think about a linear hiring process where you get interviewed, the company reviews and compares results, and they let you know within a few days (if only!!) … be warned that’s just NOT the way it is.
I once had an interview where I heard nothing for months. And then I learned I was the top candidate. As much as you wish filling “your” position would be top priority, stuff happens. And not all companies are good at keeping you posted along the way — nor can they, as mentioned earlier, if their legal department has forbidden that.
In case you’re curious, here’s some of what might be happening while you wait and wait and WAIT!!
8. No idea why you were rejected.
As if all that weren’t enough, one of the more frustrating parts of job search is simply not knowing why you didn’t get the job. Especially if your interview went well. And knowing that you’re highly qualified — and a truly wonderful person.
So here’s a post that talks about some of the reasons you might not have gotten the job offer. Hoping this will help next time:
And, even if they turn you down, make sure you give it one last try by sending a thank you note anyway. I’ve actually gotten a couple jobs I initially got turned down for, so it’s possible. But it also leaves a good impression, just in case, for next time:
FINAL TIP: Start networking now!!!
One of the best ways to bypass the most frustrating parts of job search is having a strong professional network. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a new job yet, one day you will find yourself itching for more opportunity. Or advancement. Or something you can really sink your teeth into that gets you out of bed in the morning.
And that’s why you should be actively building your career network now. Yesterday would be even better, but I haven’t figured that one out yet.
One last thought
I know that’s a lot. But I hope at least some of it helps.
Job search is truly crazy-making. And I can’t lie to you … it can be tough holding on to hope while navigating all the choppy twists and turns. But it’s so worth it if you get yourself to a job that feels right for you.
Good luck handling the most frustrating parts of job search — at least as much as possible. 🙂