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[Reader Q&A] “I’m not getting any responses to my applications. What am I doing wrong?”

job search strategies

Many of my clients and members are going through the job search right now. I’ve also been through it myself, and I know how stressful the process can be.

Today I want to talk about that, and I specifically want to address a question we received from one of our readers who seems to have all the right qualifications but isn’t getting responses.

Here’s her question:

I haven’t received any interview requests since April–everything has either been a rejection or no response.

I have the skillset, education, and years of experience to find the type of job I want, but something seems to be holding me back/preventing me from standing out.

I suspect it may have something to do with my position titles, which haven’t been reflective of my responsibilities, which I’ve tried to make abundantly clear in my resumes, cover letters, and applications, but if it’s not that, I’m not sure what it is.

The last few positions I’ve applied to I’ve been highly qualified for (and in one case, overqualified), but I haven’t heard back from any of them. What am I doing wrong?

If you’re thinking about transitioning careers or you’re in the midst of the job search, this Reader Q&A is for you.

Do some mindset work. It’s not your fault.

I first want to call out that circumstances play a significant role in your outcomes. I see job seekers always taking complete responsibility if an opportunity doesn’t work out, and if that sounds to you like something you may be doing, I’d love for you to let go of that.

You’re not responsible for every part of the job search. It’s a two-way partnership.

For example, with COVID-19, I’m hearing that many companies are opening up positions and then quickly moving to hiring freezes due to changes in budgets and unseen circumstances with the business.

None of that is your fault. A lot is happening on the employer side. Give yourself a break.

Seek feedback and support.

If you have a hunch on what could be wrong, I recommend asking an outside resource to see if they agree with your thinking.

For example, our reader here says, “I suspect it may have something to do with my position titles, which haven’t been reflective of my responsibilities.”

Can you speak to a recruiter, a coach or a hiring manager to get feedback on your resume and how you’re communicating your story?

Sometimes when we’re so close to our work, it’s difficult to see where we can make improvements. But outside feedback can reflect back to you if your thinking is on point.

Review your strategy.

I’m a big fan of creating a job search strategy that leans on connections and community versus sending out job applications online.

Think about it this way.

Trust is one of the most important factors with hiring, and it goes both ways. As a candidate, you want to feel safe and have a sense of trust with the organization.

The organization feels similarly – they want to hire candidates who are committed and will fully show up and add value to the organization.

A warm introduction helps to establish this trust from the get go. As a candidate, you have someone on the inside vouching for you.

Similarly, you’re more likely to find an opportunity that’s a better fit because you’ll get insight on the culture – which may not be as obvious through the job description.

I recommend thinking through your strategy and seeing how you can tap into communities that can offer support and guidance.

Communities often consist of like-minded individuals who have shared values. I see this at Work Bigger all the time.

Our members will share opportunities they think are worthwhile applying for. Members provide insight on whether a team is toxic or supportive. These types of recommendations go a long way with finding the right opportunity, and they keep you from wasting your time applying to the wrong organizations.

Now I want to hear from you. Are you in the midst of the job search right now? What’s working for you, and what’s your job search strategy like?

Work Bigger Team

Author Work Bigger Team

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