What to Do When You Can't Find a Suitable Job

After searching through many job listings, applying for some jobs, and even going on a few interviews, you may still find yourself unemployed. There might be many reasons for this. Some reasons may be within your control and therefore fixable. Others may be outside your control, and your only solution may be making changes that may have a big impact on your life. Other reasons may require that you just keep doing what you're doing until something happens.

Here are possible reasons your job search has been unsuccessful:

  • The economy is bad.

  • Job opportunities in your field or industry are limited.

  • You need more experience.

  • Your resume doesn't represent you well.

  • You don't represent yourself well on a job interview.

When the economy is bad, job seekers suffer. There's not much you can do about that. Keep looking at job listings. Use all available resources: newspapers, online job banks, your network, and employment agencies. Consider taking a temporary job until you find something you really want.

Temporary jobs are a great way to get experience without committing to a full-time job. You can turn down assignments in order to go on job interviews or when you need to spend more time on your job search. Another big plus? Sometimes temporary assignments turn into permanent ones.

Some fields and industries experience downturns that are not tied to the current state of the economy. For example, American car manufacturers are losing business to foreign automobile makers. Many are laying off workers, causing a slump in the automotive industry. If job opportunities in your field or industry are limited, you may have to consider retraining for a different type of job. Later we will explore ways to find a new occupation. You may find it hard to think about retraining for a new career. After all, you've already made an investment in this one. You may not have a choice, though. Remember that some of the skills you have will be transferable, so you probably won't have to start entirely from scratch.

If you recently changed careers and you are lacking experience, you may have to lower your expectations of getting hired for the type of position you desire. You may have to consider an entry-level job in your field so that you can gain the necessary experience. Temporary work is one way to get more experience. You may consider doing an internship even if you are no longer a student. If you previously attended college, call or visit the career services office of your alma mater or contact the alumni association. You can also try to set up an internship by talking to members of your network.

Have you been slow to get job interviews? Perhaps you do have the experience and skills you need, but your resume doesn't show it. Consider revamping your resume (yes, again). Reread Chapters 4 and 5 to get some tips on how to write a resume that gets results.

If your resume is getting you calls for job interviews, it may not be the problem. Could it be the way you present yourself on the interview? Make sure your answers to interview questions highlight your skills. Don't try to be humble on a job interview. This is one time you want to brag about yourself. You may need more interview practice. Have a friend run through some interview questions with you. Make sure he knows that you are seeking criticism. After all, you do want to improve your interview skills.

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