Job Search

Why Am I Not Getting Any Job Offers? A Self-Auditing Checklist

not getting job offers

Tell me if this sounds like you:

  • You’ve been looking for a job for several months at this point
  • You’ve gotten some callbacks and maybe some phone interviews, but your candidacy hasn’t progressed much beyond that
  • You feel like you’ve tried everything and are at a loss for what to do next
  • You’re considering taking the first thing that comes along just to get out of your current situation
  • You’re having a hard time maintaining focus and would rather binge watch the entire new season of “House of Cards”

Any of that sounding uncomfortably familiar?

I have had new clients come to our initial ‘getting to know you’ consult with situations and feelings like the above, but once we “peel back the onion” a bit, we can pretty quickly see strategies to enhance their job search or, sometimes, a need for a whole new strategy.

While there can be many reasons for your perceived lack of progress, today we’re here to talk about three reasons that you might not be thinking of:

  1. You’re Not Connecting the Dots.

This one’s a big one! People slap their resume together and submit it, thinking the employer will understand why you’re a fit for this position. No no no! You need to do the legwork for them. Any ambiguity means you are more likely to get cut out in the screening process. So what can you do?

  • There’s still nothing that beats a cover letter in terms of giving you the platform to share your WHY- why you want to work at the company and why you are a good fit for the particular role. Use that tool to your advantage. If it says cover letter optional, don’t opt out! I automatically disregarded any resume without a cover letter because it was a good indicator to me as to who was serious and who ‘got’ the role.
  • LinkedIn Summary: This is where you can be a bit more fluid and personal. If you’re aiming to make a career change, make sure you’ve connected why what you have done in the past matters for what you want to do moving forward. This also helps you get the inevitable “So tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume” question down pat.
  • Is your story airtight and not confusing at all? Get someone else to read it without giving them any context and see what conclusions they draw.
  1. Attitude and Language.

I’m not saying you’re going into an interview with a bad attitude- or one you would consider a bad attitude- but you may be saying more than your mouth ever does with your tone, and what you say between the lines. Think about your attitude and thought patterns on a day-to-day basis. Is everyone out to get you on a certain project at work, or is the way the project turned out just how it turned out? Is someone a jerk for not getting back to you, or are they just busy and will get back to you when they can? Paying attention to how you frame interactions and things that happen will be truly helpful in learning more about how you ‘show up’ in life.

And I know when you’re in the situation you’re in- not getting callbacks or getting full on rejection emails- it can be extremely hard to maintain a positive attitude, but if you’re downright negative, you’re absolutely exacerbating the situation. I’m not saying you need to act like things are all puppies and rainbows- you can be authentic with your struggle- but it’s all in how you frame it and view it. People can absolutely pick up on your attitude from non-verbal and verbal cues, whether they know they are or not. Ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink?” That split second decision making and opinion forming is what I’m talking about. So what can you do? Here are some ideas:

  • Develop and cultivate a daily meditation practice. Apps like calm.com abound and they have intro ‘courses’ you can take to learn the ropes. Also many major cities have Shambhala centers where you can go to seminars to learn more or take courses.
  • Journaling/Self Reflection: Just today I was bewildered at being asked to do something I never offered to do. How did THAT happen, I wondered? Then I looked at my wording in my note and I could ABSOLUTELY see why the sender thought I wanted to do it. So, when you are in a situation where it’s ‘someone else’s fault’, take a look at your actions and attitude and see how you may have contributed. It’s not judgment; it’s information.
  • Ask for feedback. Work with a coach, mentor, or career-minded friend and ask for a mock interview. Ask for honest feedback so you can see what’s actually happening here. And oh- if you ask for honest feedback, be ok with honest feedback! It will only help you in the long run.
  1. You’re Burned Out.

Burnout is the hidden culprit for why you may have that ‘beating the head against the wall” feeling. You may feel like you’re being productive at work and segmenting your time at home to have space to figure out your next move, but if your mind isn’t feeling calm, or you’re feeling ‘all over the place’, I guarantee you that is coming across in some way- usually subconsciously- in your applications and in your phone screen or initial interview.

I obviously do not know your job situation, but if it’s a toxic enough situation where you’re constantly ‘on’, not sleeping, not practicing self care and always feeling frenetic/scared/anxious, this is not doing anything for your job search. People think they can get their dream job while in a horrible place with other parts of their life. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s MUCH more difficult. When I left my job a few years ago, I needed to remove myself from working for a bit to be able to accurately see my next step, which was becoming a certified coach. If this sounds like you, and you want to consider an alternative approach to just staying in your current job, what are your options?

  • Come up with a financial plan and exit plan to take a few weeks or months off to get back to zero. Don’t work on job apps as you plan to leave and when you have just left for a specified amount of time
  • Develop an exit plan and plan of action to pick up some freelance work in the short term to keep you afloat
  • Look into your company’s medical leave/short term disability policy as well as the federal policy.
  • Consult a medical professional for mental and physical effects you are feeling.

Each of these reasons above urges you to think more consciously about your situation and do a full audit of what you’ve been doing to date- be honest with yourself or, if not, talk to a trusted advisor for an outsider’s perspective. Job searching is not the most exciting thing ever for most people, but you’ve got the drive and desire for something new- all you need is to match it a good sense of what’s going well and what’s not and you’re good! Easier said than done, but the above is a good place to start.

What did you think of the above? Leave your comments in the box below!

About the Author

Jill Ozovek is a certified career coach in New York City. Her practice focuses on helping Millennial and mid-career women find and develop careers that align with their passions. For more info on your own career change and Jill’s Career Change Kitchen course, click here.