One of the most frustrating experiences you can have is thinking that you have something to offer but being unable to get that across to an employer. It doesn’t matter what sort of job we are talking about, white or blue collar; it’s never easy when you can’t get yourself employed. There must be reasons you can’t find a job.
So, let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons and see if we can find a solution for you!
- Take A Look In The Mirror
- No Divine Right
- CV and First Written Approach
- You Want Your CV To Work For You
- CV Content
- Lots Of Jobs
- The Interview
- What Can You Do?
- Are You Showing Interest And Enthusiasm?
- What Can You Do?
- The Follow-Up
- Post Interview
- Two Final Points
- More Advice On CV And Resume Writing
- Final Thoughts
Take A Look In The Mirror
That is probably the best place to start. And ask yourself some questions. The first one is “Would you employ you?” You have to be straight and honest with yourself, would you? If the honest answer is either in doubt or a definite no, then this is where to start.
No Divine Right
People do not have a divine right to automatically just be given a job. You have to earn it to a certain extent. With some, that is through qualifications and extended education. With others, it comes just be through attitude.
I interviewed a range of people over the years in my position. Some qualified and some not. But in those that had no formal qualifications, I looked for attitude and desire. But in all cases, there were some things that were important to me, these included…
- Did they arrive on time?
- I’m not interested in expensive clothes, but were they presentable considering the position they were applying for?
- Were they polite and respectful?
- Did they show genuine interest?
- Did they ask questions?
Those are things that impressed me. And those same attitudes I looked for in both qualified and unqualified people. So ok, up until now, you have been unlucky. Let’s take a look at what you can do to improve your chances.
There are effectively three stages to achieving this elusive position. They are:
- CV and first written approach.
- Interview, first and possibly a second.
- Follow up, either before CV or after an interview, if necessary.
Let’s look at them one at a time.
CV and First Written Approach
Your CV is the first contact that a potential employer will see of you. Unless you have been recommended by another employee or are known to someone, it is where they will make an initial assessment.
Therefore your CV needs to be presentable. Other than giving it a nice layout, the most important thing is to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. There are a number of free software packages online that can check that for you, for example, Grammarly.
You Want Your CV To Work For You
If the person that picks it up and reads it sees you have taken care, then that is in your favor. Your CV is working for you. The same thing applies to a completed application form. However, this might be more difficult to get any errors checked. If that’s the case, then read it back to yourself slowly. And then give it to someone else to read as well to see if they see anything untoward.
On this point, I disagree with many others who comment on completing your CV; I shall explain why in a minute. But first, let’s deal with another potential problem.
If your CV includes a high standard of education and quality experience, that can work against you in some circumstances. If you make an application that appears way below what you are capable of, it will raise eyebrows.
If you have become a little bit desperate and are applying for entry-level or junior positions, it is likely it won’t work. The first thing they will think is ‘why’? They want a junior, not someone with your experience. My advice would be not to apply in the first place in a futile attempt at getting any job. You should be, and probably are, better than that.
Lots Of Jobs
And now, back to where I would differ with some employment experts. Your work history. Some are going to argue that it doesn’t look good on a CV to have plenty of short-term jobs. They are right; it doesn’t.
But then they suggest omitting some to make it look better. I don’t go along with that at all. Neither is it a good idea to try and explain them by using the ‘poor me’ vernacular.
There Could Be Reasons
There may well be reasonable reasons why you have had a number of appointments. If so, then tell them the reasons. If there are no reasons, then that is something you might have to find an honest way round.
What were the reasons? You didn’t like the job; you upset the boss, the travel time, whatever it was, explain it. You could use that as part of your own learning curve from a work viewpoint. But not being honest with them for me is a no-go area.
We all know how important they are, but do you really know? An interviewer or prospective employer may have formed an initial opinion of you before you have even sat down. And if not, then within five minutes. That can make or break you.
These days another situation that could have a detrimental effect is the smell of tobacco. There are a lot of people around today that don’t smoke. The smell of cigarette smoke to them is unpleasant and obnoxious.
Some May Have Different Attitudes
You may think that attitude is unnecessary, but it exists. If you want to impress an employer or interviewer, it is not worth taking the chance.
But it is not only the potential employer. If you will be dealing with customers, will the company want their customers to have to put up with the smell of tobacco? You will have to face facts here. You might enjoy it. Fine, that is your choice. But others most definitely do not. What is most important here?
Not Talking About Life Changes
I am not suggesting life changes you don’t want to accept. I am just saying don’t go into the interview smelling of tobacco just in case they don’t like it.
What Can You Do?
- Make sure you arrive before the time and are not even close to being late.
- Walk into wherever the meeting is with a positive attitude.
- Smile and shake hands; a quick ‘thank you for seeing me’ is polite.
- And when you sit, don’t slouch in the chair.
- Don’t smell of tobacco or alcohol.
- Make sure your communication with the interviewer is positive and relevant, don’t ramble.
Now, let me address a sensitive subject for some. There will be interviewers you may meet who do not like tattoos or piercings. That is their choice, of course, we all live differently, and life would be very boring if we were all the same. But dislike them, they may.
Rather cover up or remove them…
It could be a good idea to remove any visible piercings for an interview and also cover any tattoos if you can. This will, of course, be relevant to the environment you will be working in. In some places, the interviewer may well have them themselves. It is just a piece of cursory advice to offset any first impression problems.
Are You Showing Interest And Enthusiasm?
Now I will be the first to admit that not every interviewer is going to be as they are often portrayed. Some will be just plain dull and uninteresting, just getting on with what they have to do.
We haven’t all got vibrant personalities, and interviewers are no different. They are not all the same. But still, you have to show interest and enthusiasm for the job position despite the feeling you get from the other side of the desk or room.
What Can You Do?
- You need to show enthusiasm for the position.
- Listen to what is being said and ask relevant questions.
- Be attentive.
- Find something interesting you like about the position from what is being said and comment positively.
- Have a positive demeanor.
Let’s take a closer look at the final consideration, Your demeanor at the interview. This is a difficult time you are going through. But it will not help to have a poor attitude. It is not the interviewer’s fault. Keep any frustrations you may have firmly under lock and key. And that includes any bad feelings about a previous job. The interviewer will not want to see you in anything but a positive way.
In the Early Stages
This is a situation that can occur before an interview or after, but I have included it here. Your dealings with the job start from the very first contact. This is going to be before you have got yourself an interview.
If they write to or call you, respond promptly and positively. If you leave it a few days to wait and see if they write again or call back, that looks like you don’t care. If they leave a voice message, respond as soon as you can. One little ‘extra’ to this, don’t respond in a way that shows desperation. Just relax and answer or make the call.
If you have had your interview and they call or write, possibly to see you again, then do the same. Answer promptly and don’t give the impression that you don’t really care.
Two Final Points
1 Pay attention to the Company Requirements
If you are sending in your CV or replying to a job advert, make sure you read it properly. And that is from start to finish. Don’t skip over it; really read it. Make sure that your experience and, if required, your qualifications match what they want.
And if they get into contact with you, make sure that you do what is asked. Demonstrating you are able to follow instructions accurately will demonstrate a good work attitude.
2 Be Prepared
Do your homework on the business or the company. Find out what you can; it makes good conversation material if necessary. It also forms the basis of creating some interesting questions you can ask. If you are not familiar with what they do, or the marketplace they operate in, then find out about it. If the interviewer sees that, it is another example of approaching the position with a good attitude.
If you are going for a ‘white-collar’ job, you must look professional and your best. A classy briefcase, such as the Tassia Luxury Leather Executive Case Attache Briefcase, really looks the part. And a nice pen will give you a professional image; I recommend the Parker IM Fountain Pen.
And it’s not a good idea to go to the interview having got soaked through, so get yourself the excellent Lilyxin Premium Automatic Compact Umbrella Windproof.
More Advice On CV And Resume Writing
Your resume should always be immaculate and up to date. So, check out my advice on the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, How To List Education On A Resume, Hobbies Interests To Put On Resume, or what about my Motivation Letter Writing Guide, and Achievements To List On Your Resume in 2023.
Secondly, we’ve done our own online research for you with the English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles, and the CVs, Resumes, and LinkedIn: A Guide to Professional English.
Additionally, we’ve found some awesome online books such as Marketing Yourself in the Age of Digital: CVs, Applications, Interviews, Social Media, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Riches: How To Use LinkedIn For Business, Sales and Marketing!, LinkedIn For Dummies, LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies, or my favorite How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… And 18 Mistakes to Avoid, and Ignite Your LinkedIn Profile all available online today.
I have tried to identify some of the most common reasons that may be hindering you in your job search. But having said that, there are some things that may have nothing to do with you at all. All you can do is to make sure you have got everything right at your end and keep at it.
As always, be dressed appropriately for your interview. As well as act politely and professionally at all times. If you are doing everything right sooner rather than later, you will succeed.
All the very best with your future Job Search!