Sometimes a job search lasts much longer than you’d expected–even a year or more. If you’re sure your qualifications match well with the positions you’re targeting, what’s causing the delay in landing a new position?
It could be due to more than one factor, of course. Life isn’t often cut-and-dried, and that includes job searches. However, you could benefit from looking at three phases of a job search: (1) your resume; (2) the interview process; and (3) the job offers you receive or don’t receive that you expected to. The subject of job offers is complex and too extensive to go into here, but I do want to touch on resumes and interviews and their relationship to each other.
If your resume doesn’t represent you effectively, you might never get to the stage of having job interviews. Even if you actively network to get close to hiring managers, it’s probable that you’ll need a good resume at some point to garner interviews. If you don’t generate potential interviews from your resume and are submitting it to positions whose key requirements are a good fit for what you offer, you need to take a hard look at the resume you’re using for your job search. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself:
Sometimes the mistakes you make in connection with interviewing are fairly obvious. You might, for instance, realize you didn’t give the strongest answer you could have offered for a particular question. Another example would be failing to listen carefully to what the interviewer was saying, so that your comments and answers were off-target.
Other mistakes might be more subtle and hard to pinpoint. For example, you could have a visual habit you are totally unaware of but that is distracting to the person you’re talking with. I once had a college instructor who continually stroked his goatee while he was lecturing, and I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying if I looked at him!
One way of identifying such mistakes and working out a way to overcome them is to have someone do a mock interview with you so he/she can identify and discuss them with you. A related idea is to record a video so you can view yourself as others would see you.
In a real interview situation, you can also request feedback at the end of the interview. You can ask whether the interviewer had any concern about your responses, which might give you a chance to address whatever the issue was. You could also contact the interviewer after you receive the “sorry” letter and indicate your genuine desire to understand what might have kept you from being perceived as a good fit. Although companies are cautious about saying too much (due to legal concerns), you could get lucky and elicit helpful feedback.
It doesn’t hurt to ask, as long as you ask politely.
Long job searches might sometimes be unavoidable, but often there are things you can do to help reduce them.