It’s common knowledge that landing a new job can take some time. Chances are slim that you’ll land your dream role after a day or even a week. But what happens when your search is prolonged for more than you anticipated? Aside from more common factors like applying to positions you’re under or overqualified for or that aren’t the best fit with your current skill set, here are some other reasons why your job hunt might be stalled:
1. You’re Not Fully Tapping into Your Network
This means more than reaching out to existing contacts you haven’t touched base with in a while or attending networking happy hours, though these are good ways to start. Let EVERYONE you meet know you are seeking a new opportunity (obviously exercise caution if you’re currently working and don’t want your employer to find out you’re looking). You never know who may have a lead. I once got connected to an opportunity through my doctor!
Connect with the alumni division at your alma mater. Check out LinkedIn’s Find Alumni tool to reach out to former classmates for info interviews or to get details on open positions at their company. Just make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and ‘active’ beforehand.
Advice: Go on every interview you’re invited to, even if you think the job may not exactly be the right fit. I’ve had clients who’ve impressed interviewers so much, they were referred to positions more aligned with their career goals simply because the company recognized their talent and really wanted them to join the team.
2. The Market is ‘Cold’
Just about every industry has ‘hot’ hiring periods. So if your search falls outside of these peak times (generally Jan.-Feb. and Sept.-Oct. in most fields), it understandably could take longer. If at all possible, try to align your hunt with these months. Use ‘off-seasons’ to work on your professional branding strategy.
Your geographical location can also be the culprit for your career search slump. If you’re keen on landing a middle management role within a large financial firm but are limiting your search to Sioux Falls, you may end up with less options than if you look in Boston or Chicago too. If it’s unrealistic to uproot yourself and potentially your family to a new city, research which industries are most prevalent in your area and determine if your skills qualify you as a good fit for that field.
3. You’re not Looking in the Right Places
Indeed and Glassdoor are great job search engines and are popular among employers. But don’t overlook other avenues of searching for a new role if you’re not having luck with traditional methods. Try LinkedIn’s Job Search option. The tool matches positions with your skills and work history. It’s equipped with advanced search options if you’re looking for something in a different industry or location. Don’t worry, its private and will never share with your network that you’re exploring new career options.
Seek out associations you’re apart of (or join new ones). Virtually all of them list industry-specific postings on their sites.
One of Google’s latest launches, Google for Jobs, aggregates postings from a variety of employment sites like Career Builder and Monster. It saves you time normally spent perusing through each of these engines individually.
Lesser-known tip: Turn to reputable blog sites for leads. This Blogger page is great for verified Communications and Public Affairs position openings. Take a look at some of these other industry-specific career search sites:
Finance & Technology: eFinancialCareers
Telecommute & Flexible Schedule: FlexJobs
Marketing & Communications: MediaBistro
Nonprofit & Social Impact: Idealist
Higher Education: HigherEdJobs
Public Service & Government: USAJOBS
Sales: Sales Gravy
4. Your Professional Brand Could Use Some Polishing
Branding isn’t just for companies anymore. Fundamentally, professional branding is managing your professional reputation. Do your resume & cover letter articulately communicate your reputation as a Results-Driven Graphic Design Expert? Does your online presence give the impression you’re an Experienced Sales Manager with a Proven Track Record of Leading High-Functioning Teams? Double check that your branding statement is a consistent theme among all your application materials.
Branding doesn’t stop once you click ‘submit’ on your application. Your interviews and follow-up communication need to present the same messaging. Don’t forget to finish strong. Save space in your job search process to work with an expert on your professional brand or develop it on your own.
Even if your quest for a new position takes longer than expected, the most important thing is to remain positive and patient. Rest assured your target job is waiting just around the corner.
Alex Bryant is the Lead Consultant at Omega Forty Seven Consulting. Omega Forty Seven offers affordable individualized career coaching, resume and cover letter review, and professional development workshops to organizations and individuals. Our philosophy is EVERYONE has the potential to achieve their career goals. We simply help 'shine light' on strengths you already have.