Job Search: How to Find a Job When There Aren’t Any Jobs Out There
When it comes to job search in today's job market, you have to be the most determined one out there – ready to keep going even when others say there are no jobs. Even when you hear yourself say there are no jobs. And I know that isn't easy.
First, there's something I want you to know. There are jobs. The important thing is (1) there may not be jobs you want; (2) there may be plenty of jobs that don't want you; (3) there may be jobs you simply haven't heard about; and (4) there may be jobs you're qualified for, only you haven't found a way in – yet. Starting from a mindset of "no jobs" is simply not going to help. So let's get rid of that one. And if you really are in a town with absolutely no jobs (or close to it), then no matter what it takes, maybe it's time to relocate. But for the rest of you…
Jobs You Don't Want
If you've been looking for a long while and you aren't getting any interviews. Or you're getting interviews and no offers – especially if the rent needs to be paid – it may be time to rethink what you're looking for. Jobs are a funny thing. Even ones that don't at first seem like anything you want to do (at least not in the long run), may get you into a company where you can start to look for other opportunities, things you actually enjoy doing – after doing your very best to shine at the job you have, of course. Also, if you open up your range of possibilities, you may wind up getting a job where you learn something new that you are interested in, or that can help expand your marketability in your chosen field.
And in almost any job, there are special projects you can take on or things you can improve on, where you get to use your skills and talents in a way that can still tie in to your career. Your transferable skills come with you wherever you go. And the experiences you put to good use last a lifetime. Think about the kinds of things you enjoyed doing in high school or college. Or in your free time. Is there something there you might be open to trying as a job, even if perhaps you have to take a step back in salary? I'm not telling you to give up on what you really want, but if there is even a chance you might be interested in exploring other areas or if the other areas might blend nicely with your first choice, this might be the time.
Jobs That Don't Want You
Sometimes you start going after jobs in a particular field or area, and the door is always closed. Or at least it seems that way. And you wonder if it pays to even keep trying. Now, I'm not telling you to become a stalker, but a "no" isn't always a no forever. This is a hard thing to judge, since I know I've interviewed people who we would never hire, no matter how nice they or how many times they tried. It just isn't going to happen. I've also interviewed people whom we had to say no to because they didn't fit the current opening, but we liked them and thought they might fit elsewhere in the company. Or we remembered them for a different opening. So it pays to keep in touch after interviews – just a polite check in now and then – especially if it seemed to go well.
And it pays to ask if they know anyone else you might contact in the company or elsewhere. You never know. I knew one person who was graduating college and was determined to work for a well-known record company. He had good credentials and a good personality, but he just kept missing out at the interviews. Still, he didn't give up. He found people to connect with and more interviews, and finally, after the fifth separate interview, he got hired. And he wound up becoming a vice president. Resilience and ingenuity can be a good thing in job search as well as your career. Just some thoughts to chew on.
Jobs You Haven't Heard About or Gotten To Yet
A lot of jobs never get listed. Or they are going to get listed, but it would be great to learn about them ahead of time. Or, they were listed, you heard about them, but you just can't get the interview. Many jobs are found and offers made without ever going through the "normal" process. I put normal in quotes, since considering the numbers of jobs found this way, this can be seen as a big part of the normal process. And you want a piece of it! This is where lots of networking, informational interviews, and online research really pay off. You have to let people know you are looking.
Even sometimes people you meet for the first time. I once heard of a job from someone in a checkout line after we got chatting about other things to begin with! And you can use online research or your networking to find people for informational interviews, to help you find more contacts and industry knowledge. Online research is also a great way to nose around for jobs, ones that you may not find on job boards. Be determined. Be polite. And be ready to try again, since this all takes time and patience. But for many people it does pay off.
A Few More Thoughts
Good luck. Please believe the jobs are out there. And you need to be out there too, armed with the best targeted resume, targeted cover letter and interview skills possible – and a good, unified career story that helps you convey what you want to find and what makes you so darned special. And btw … if you aren't getting the jobs or the interviews you want, these last points are where I would start asap. You might be surprised at what magic you can help make happen for yourself, with just a few key improvements in the right places.