What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips


what to do when you can't find a job


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Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a job search and you’ve been giving it your all, despite your best efforts, you just can’t find a job. And with the job market in flux since the pandemic, many job seekers are finding that the job search process is taking longer than they’d like.

It can be disheartening not to see results from all your hard work, but don’t despair. By following a few simple tips when you can’t find a job, you can turn job search frustration into job search success!

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administrative icon Can’t Find a Job? Consider These 13 Tips

1. Take a Break

You don’t need to quit your job search entirely, or even take a months-long hiatus, in order to give yourself a break from job searching. Even taking just a day off every now and then can recharge your batteries so you’ll feel ready to jump back in, refreshed and ready to go.

It’s OK to take some time off from your job search once in a while. Allow yourself a day or a few days off and spend that time doing something that energizes you and makes you happy, and reflect on what’s going well in your search, says FlexJobs Career Coach Toni Frana. Afterwards, you’ll find you’ll be able to get back to your job search with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

2. Go Where the Jobs Are

Some people will move to a different city, state, or country to find a job in their field. But if you’re looking for a remote job, your location may not be a significant factor. It does, however, help to target your search to the fields and jobs that are most compatible with remote work. Do a bit of research on who commonly hires in your field to help speed along your search, suggests Frana.

3. Spruce up Your Online Presence

Studies have shown that the majority of hiring managers will look at a person’s online presence even before reaching out to them for a job interview. How do your social media profiles look? Are they a mishmash of (public) family photos and some political point-of-view posts? One of the most important aspects of your job search is to ensure that your online presence is up to date and professional.

Take the time to clean up your profiles, or create some new ones that show you in a professional light, and keep them current so potential bosses can see that you’re active on social media…for all the right reasons.

4. Get Skilled or Schooled—or Both

If you’re finding that you aren’t entirely qualified for the positions you’ve been applying to, that could be one reason you can’t find a job. Employers often won’t hire someone who doesn’t have the majority of the skills, education, or job experience necessary for the position. If you need to boost your skill set to be more in line with what companies are looking for, consider going back to school or finding online resources to gain the skills you need.

5. Change Your Mindset

It’s easy to feel defeated if you’ve been job searching for a long time and not getting any responses. If this is the case, a change in perspective may be all you need to turn the corner and find some success. Just like taking a break from your job search is important, so is having the right mindset. It is hard to be a job seeker, applying for many jobs and possibly not hearing back from employers, says Frana.

Instead of going into each new job search with trepidation, try to stay positive and see every application as a chance to fine-tune and perfect your process.

Work to focus on the progress you are making with each application—honing your search tactics, getting efficient with your application process, and understanding what keywords to use for an ATS are all important tools to use as you go through your search, explains Frana. Each time you apply for a job, you are improving your process, and that’s great progress to landing a job. Celebrate those small steps!

6. Try Temping

If you’ve been job searching for a while and still haven’t landed the perfect position, you may want to consider taking on a temporary gig. Temping is an excellent way to get your foot in the door at a company, learn some new skills, and build your professional network. And you never know, some temp workers, even those who are seasonal, are offered permanent positions once their original assignment ends.

7. Network

Especially if you’re introverted, it can feel hard to put yourself out there to grow your network. But networking is one of the best ways to meet new people and generate leads that can help with your job search. While most in-person networking events are on hold during the pandemic, there are many online networking events you can do from the comfort of your home office that can yield some great results.

8. Review Your Resume

If you’ve been looking in your field and are qualified for the positions you’re applying for but still can’t find a job, resume mistakes and typos may be to blame. When you’ve read (and reread) your resume so often, it’s more likely you’ll miss some significant issues.

It’s always a great idea to have someone else review your resume before you submit it. A spouse, family member, friend, or resume review expert can look at your document with a fresh set of eyes and let you know if there are any glaring mistakes to correct before applying for a job. If that’s not an option, try changing the resume font, font size, and font color and then rereading your resume so it looks different to you. Then, when you are satisfied, change it back to the right font before applying, offers Frana.

9. Customize Your Application

When you’re applying to multiple positions over the course of a few days, weeks, or months, it can be tempting to use the same resume and cover letter over and over again with just a few small tweaks here and there. However, employers are looking for applicants who are the perfect fit, so taking the time to customize your resume and cover letter to each job will help you stand out from the crowd.

Keep in mind that one reason you can’t find a job may be because the applicant tracking system (ATS) isn’t picking up your information based on its keyword searches. Customizing your resume and cover letter to include relevant keywords that the ATS has been programmed to look for can give you a leg up in the application process.

10. Consider Other Industries

It might not be exactly what you want initially, but if you’ve tried to find a job in one industry and aren’t having any luck, it might be time to look at jobs in other fields. You may discover you enjoy a new career field much more than you thought you would, and you’d be surprised how many of your skills are transferable from one field to another. Once you’ve made the switch, you may even find that a career change is an exciting and transformational time in your professional life!

11. Look for Other Types of Flexible Work Arrangements

You might have your heart set on working from home full-time with flexible hours, but that may not be in the cards…for now. Thankfully, there are many types of flexible jobs under the big banner of work flexibility. Expand your search to part-time jobs, freelance or contract gigs, flexible schedules, alternative schedules, partial remote work, or any combination of those. Being open to other types of flexibility can lead you to job openings you may not have found if you were only searching for full-time, 100% remote jobs.

12. Practice Your Interviewing Skills

If you’ve made it to the interview stage in the application process, congratulations! But if those interviews aren’t leading to any job offers, it may be time to upgrade your interviewing skills. You can practice with friends, family, or even fellow job seekers who might be able to offer tips on what you’re doing right and where you might need some improvement.

If you have a career mentor or a former boss who you’re friendly with, ask if they can do a mock interview with you, too. If not, you may want to consider online career coaching as an option to get constructive and actionable feedback. With most interviews happening online these days, it’s also helpful to prepare for the remote interview process to set yourself up for success.

13. Pinpoint the Problem

If you can’t find a job, it’s helpful to take some time to examine why (and where) you may be struggling. What part of the job search process is giving you the most trouble? Is it that you can’t find jobs that you want to apply to? Or do you not hear back from employers after submitting your application? Are you getting to the interview stage and then getting passed over for positions? Understanding why you can’t find a job is an essential path toward correcting your course and landing your dream position!

For example, if you consistently struggle to find quality jobs in your industry, it might be that you’re looking in the wrong places. Big-box job search sites offer lots of positions, but the vast majority may not apply to you, your qualifications, or your flexible work needs. If you’re looking for a work-from-home job, a niche site (like FlexJobs) will help you find positions that are more targeted to your goals.

If you’re not getting invited to interview, consider if your application is the best it can be. Make sure that your resume has a modern format and contains relevant work experience to the job you’re applying to. If you’re interviewing with hiring managers and not landing the job, are your interviewing skills rusty, or are you unsure of how to sell yourself during an interview? Practice can help you work out the kinks so that you can get hired for the job you want.

Still Looking for a Job?

Job searching can be challenging, and when you can’t find a job, it can feel like you’re stuck in career limbo waiting for the right opportunity to come along. Focusing on improving your job search process, expanding your search, and taking breaks when you need can lead you straight to career success.

FlexJobs offers flexible careers in more than 50 job categories, including freelance, flexible schedule, remote, and more.

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