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Job Search Frustrations? 6 Fixes To Finally Find a Job

Job candidate


Job Search Frustrations? 6 Fixes To Finally Find a Job

Let’s talk about job search frustrations and tactics to overcome them. Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!

Nine months ago, I embarked on a journey to return to the workforce full-time after spending six years running my part-time consulting business. I expected to be working full time by the end of summer. After all, the average job search lasts about five months. Yet here I am, still running my part-time consulting business, still applying for jobs, and still interviewing and entertaining job offers.

What could I possibly be doing wrong in my own job search? Why am I still circling the tarmac, waiting for this leg of my career journey to take off?

Trust me. I’ve spent more time than most analyzing my situation and attempting to apply solutions. Maybe my experience as both a job seeker and career coach will help you if you find yourself stuck in search mode.

Here are six common frustrations job seekers face and six potential solutions.

No Interviews?

If you’re applying for countless jobs and not getting interviews, likely your resume or cover letter is to blame. Most organizations use ATS (applicant tracking systems) when reviewing job applications. If you receive automated rejection emails soon after applying, the ATS may have scanned your application but didn’t find you a match.

Be sure you ask a qualified expert to review your resume. This could be a talent acquisition leader or human resources manager, a resume writer, or a career coach. For best results, ask at least two people to review your resume. Pay for help if necessary.

Once you have ensured your resume isn’t to blame, review your social media presence. Ninety-eight percent of employers consider social media presence during the hiring process. Check privacy settings. You may want to set everything on your profile to private except your headline and profile photo. 

job search consultation

Whatever you decide about privacy, be sure to remember the golden rule of social media: screenshots are forever. Whether you remove posts or set them to private, if someone took a screenshot, they could share it with anyone at any time.

Dropped After the First Interview?

Look at your soft skills if you’re landing interviews, but then dropped after the first round or during the initial screening session. Employers want people who can communicate effectively and appropriately. 

The initial screening session is an excellent opportunity for you to display strong soft skills. But it’s also an opportunity for employers to reject you if you show awkwardness, inappropriate behavior, inability to connect with others, or difficulty explaining yourself.

Ask the employer for feedback if you’re rejected. Most will not give you feedback because they’re facing time constraints and fear legal repercussions. But occasionally, an employer will extend a few priceless tips or suggestions for improvement.

If you sense your soft skills need improvement, practice them. 

The best way to improve in any area is to practice the skill. Put yourself in question-and-answer situations — whether through career coaching, informal conversations with loved ones, or recording yourself and your responses. Be sure to review the recording to evaluate your verbal and nonverbal communication skills.

Last, remember there are always unknown factors during the job search. Some employers interview candidates who don’t meet minimum qualifications but later reject them. Others may ask you about salary requirements and determine quickly they cannot afford to hire you. 

While it’s vital to seek improvement, you shouldn’t beat yourself up for what’s beyond your control, either.

Getting Job Offers Which Don’t Feel Like a Fit?

Perhaps you’re doing pretty well securing job interviews and are receiving offers. But none feel like a good fit. In this case, consider being more selective in the application process. 

First, evaluate your needs and wants. When you’re clear on what’s important to you, you will define career fulfillment for yourself more easily. This will drive you to apply for positions that truly fit you.

Career fulfillment includes multiple variables. Apply for positions that match your skills, experience, interests, passions, and long-term career goals. Don’t forget to evaluate which benefits and perks matter most to you. Agreeing to specific terms to land a job — especially when you feel uncomfortable saying yes — will only lead to regrets and even resentments later.

job search process

Your job search may take longer if you’re seeking true career fulfillment. But you’ll find greater long-term contentment. In the end, you’ll be a more productive, effective, and satisfied employee, too.

Told You’re Overqualified?

If you have years of experience, you may be told you’re overqualified. It could be true. But, the employer interviewing you may also be discriminating against you due to age. Or the employer wants to hire someone with a lower salary range. 

There are lots of reasons you might hear “you’re overqualified” even if the real reason is masked. But let’s assume you are truly overqualified.

The great news is you can do something about this. Apply for roles which match your level of skill and experience. Be careful to avoid applying for jobs beneath you. It’s easy to fall into this rut if you’re frustrated in your job search or desperate to earn money again. 

Focus on applying for positions which match your level of skill and experience. Soon, you’ll ‌earn more interviews and land more job offers.

Last, review the salary range (if posted). Check it against salaries for similar roles. If the range seems lower than average, reconsider your decision to apply.

Turned Off During the Interview Process?

What if you’re securing interviews, but over and over, felt turned off throughout the process? You feel unsettled by something you learn about the employer. You don’t connect well with the people interviewing you. Or maybe the employer discloses information about the job, which causes pause.

If you’re currently employed, reconsider whether the time is right to make a move. Maybe you’re more content where you are than you initially realized.

Whether or not you’re employed, check your expectations. Are you realistic about the current job market, economy, and yourself as a candidate? Unrealistic expectations often lead to disappointment, frustration, and resentment. Assess your wants and needs, skills and interests, and experience level. Apply for matching positions to the best of your ability.

professionals at work

Also, many job postings are incomplete or inaccurate. Not all postings are well-written by experts or talent acquisition leaders. Sometimes, the task is delegated to someone with very little true knowledge of the role. They don’t know the kind of person who will succeed in it. 

Try to be considerate of possible inaccuracies. But don’t continue pursuing a position which isn’t a match for you either. Politely decline and express gratitude for the interview opportunity. You’ll maintain a positive rapport with the employer. You never know which roles they’ll post in the future, and if you maintain a connection, maybe you’ll be considered.

Still Unsure What’s Wrong?

If you work through each of the previous five frustrations for job seekers and STILL feel uncertain where you’re going wrong or how to make it right, do these three things.

  • Assess yourself. Take career, skill, and interest surveys and assessments. Think about your needs, wants, and expectations. And ask others for input. If you rely on subjective assessment tools, you will never see yourself accurately or realistically. None of us are able to maintain objectivity about ourselves. Seek feedback from five people who know you well and whom you respect. Email them and ask for their opinions and insights about your job search, your strengths, and ways you can improve.
  • Analyze your job search process. Do this as thoroughly as possible, from top to bottom, the way you make a packing list when going on vacation to ensure you don’t forget shoes, hats, and everything in between. Just because you have great application materials — resume, cover letter, and social profiles — doesn’t mean you’ll have employers clamoring to hire you.
  • Keep moving forward. When you don’t know what else to do, and you can’t discern missteps, keep doing the next right thing. Keep applying and connecting with others. Rely on your network for guidance and leads and go through the recruitment process. You might even consider seeking a gig or contract role to build skills and experience while continuing to apply for full-time positions.

Even though I still haven’t landed my ideal full-time job, I’m grateful for what I’ve learned through the job search process. I have learned about great nonprofit organizations. I’ve built solid connections with wonderful leaders and talent acquisition professionals. I’ve gained empathy — not just compassion — for job seekers.

view of work desk

I understand the current job market and hiring trends more deeply. And I have learned how to rely on others to help me along the way to career fulfillment.

A job search is definitely about the destination. But don’t forget to look for bright spots during your job search journey, too.

Picture of Bethany Wallace
Bethany Wallace
Bethany Wallace partners with mission-minded organizations to build better workplaces through soft skills solutions. Bethany aids leaders in strengthening workplace relationships through communications consulting, training, executive coaching, keynote presentations, & career coaching. Bethany enjoys presenting research at conferences and contributes regularly to major publications & recognized podcasts, including Glassdoor, College Recruiter, Zip Recruiter, Jobscan, FlexJobs, the New York Daily News, BusinessTech, Human Resources Online, Life After Teaching, Love Your Story, The Conversation Guy (10 Minute Mindset), Everyday People Podcast, The Success Chronicles, and more.

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