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4 Reasons You Aren't Getting A Job

Posted By: Staff Editor In: Career Goals and Motivation

So, you've been out of work for a long time and still aren't getting job offers? Are you ready to give up? If so, you aren't alone. There are lots of people in the same situation. The job market is tight, and the best way to get a great job is to compete and do whatever you can to make yourself stand out.

If you haven't been able to find a job, maybe it's time to try something new and take a risk. After all, if what you've been doing hasn't been giving you the results you want, there is no reason to think that continuing to do it will suddenly give you something different. It's time to shake things up and try a new approach.

If you aren't getting job offers, here are 4 reasons you might be sabotaging your career:

You wait for someone to get back to you - No one is just going to hand you a job. Submitting applications and resumes and then sitting by the phone might have been enough to land a great job a decade ago, but today, it just doesn't cut it. If you apply for a job and don't hear anything back, give them a call and follow up. Pursue each opportunity and show that you are enthusiastic and persistent. Take ownership of your search and follow up on each job lead until you get a "No". Don't just wait and hope you'll get a phone call.

You think that the job search is about you - Your focus shouldn't be just on who you are and what skills and experience you have. The majority of people approach their job search from this angle, but it's rarely effective. Change your approach by focusing on the company. Who are they? What do they need? What are their goals? What can you bring to the table?

You have a bad attitude - Negativity shows through in everything you do. If you have a bad attitude, think that you are owed a job or don't expect much from an interview, you'll probably not get a job offer. It's hard when you're out of work to keep a positive attitude, but it's important. Do whatever you have to in order to take care of yourself and keep your spirits up. Enthusiasm and passion are contagious and make a much better impression than negativity.

You are stuck in your ways - If you aren't willing to change or take risks, it really hurts your job search. Use your resume and cover letter to show that you are up-to-date by adding links to your Linkedin or Twitter profile. If your knowledge base is out of date, take a few refresher courses or enroll in an adult education program. This makes it clear to a prospective employer that you are flexible and committed to furthering your career.

If any of these mistakes sound familiar to you, don't worry, they are all fixable. All you have to do is recognize where your problem areas are and take steps to minimize them.

Have you ever found yourself doing one of these? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

What do you think?
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Posted by: Melissa Kennedy
Thanks for the great comments!@Raychelle – It's always a good idea to follow up with a call – unless they have told you not to. Good Luck!@Tom – I've heard this from so many hiring managers. It seems to be one of the most frequent complaints that employers have. We can learn from this that no one owes us a job just because we need one.@Sammy – It sounds like you are really discouraged. Looking for a job – especially in this market – is really hard. If your depression is interfering with your ability to look for work or hold down a job, you might want to look into whether you qualify for any sort of disability benefit that would help you while you get healthy.@S.D. - I know what you mean. It's hard to merge your social network with your professional one. Personally, I think it's better to have two completely separate online accounts and never let them mix. Use one account for professional Facebook and Linkedin and keep your friend and family account separate.@Walter – if only it were that simple. If you actually hit someone for a job, you'd probably end up in jail and charged with assault and trespassing. And, if the boss is really a jerk, they'll wait till you've worked 8 hours.@Stacy – you could try email. IF you've exhausted your options, just move on.@Steve – That was the point I was trying to make. If there isn't a number to contact or you have already reached out once or twice, consider it a “no” and move forward to the next opportunity. @Jim – I hear you! Believe me, I'm on your side. I am not a hiring manager and I struggle just as much as all of you to find jobs. It's a dog eat dog world out there in corporate America.@Jose P – If you're doing all of these things, then you are doing what you can to find a job. I have spent plenty of time unemployed and sometimes I have been guilty of doing these things – other times, not so much. That being said, if what you're doing works, then keep on doing it. Every person's situation is different and the article was meant as a way to make us all think about the things we might be doing wrong without realizing it.@Melina – Some of it is who you know. However, the job market has seriously changed over the past 5-10 years. So, if you haven't been out of work since then, you'll definitely see the difference. One thing you might want to try is serious networking. Instead of spending your job search time just applying for jobs, try making a commitment to network with others both in person and on social networking sites like Linkedin. If you usually get jobs because of who you know – get to know the people who can help you find jobs now.@Pamela – When you start pasting photos of hiring managers on your wall. If you've made a few calls and never got anywhere, you can safely assume that it's a dead end. If they've been giving you to run around, then call periodically until they say the position is filled or to not call.@David C – A lot of those companies already know who they want to hire, either they already have a candidate in mind or they want to hire internally. Since they have to be fair (or at least seem that way) they have to interview some people before they make the official decision.@joy L – Don't give up. I know it's enough to drive you crazy sometimes, but all you need is one good chance – keep looking for it.@Barby – Thanks for sharing the great tips!
Posted by: Barby D
I have read all comments, and there are some very valid points. As a director of corporate recruitment, and currently director of recruitment for a large heathcare system....I have a couple of points to share.Always, always follow up...........after 2-5 days.  If you DO have an interview...........a hand written thank-you goes a very long way......e-mail is fine too, but there is nothing like writing.  Someone here stated that they asked how much longer they would be working?!  That is so illegal and biased.Also...........everyone PLEASE use Linkedin !   More and more recruiters  are searching on is VERY current, make sure your profile is a WOW profile.....not a chronological obituary......and be sure to have your "prove it" letters (references) have them WITH you.make sure they aptly reflect accomplishments......and your transferable skills!  If you can get a certified coach.they can make a world of difference with your resume.and your presentation!And again, Linkedin......a really good friend I coached, (I'm certified)......well, I posted her on Linkedin.............3 calls from headhunters,  ( in 3 weeks) !.....interview today for DOUBLE her current income.  And if your are a "seasoned" job seeker, be sure and look "current".hair, nails, suit.....and have a lot of energy and enthusiasm...remember people hire WHO THEY LIKE !  so likeability goes a VERY long way
Posted by: Steven B
The newest form of discrimination for many is now the Veterans hiring preference mandates by our Federal Govt. These mandates offer employers all kinds of tax breaks to hire Military personnel leaving military service.This disqualifies many people who are actually qualified for positions who do not have military service back round.It is no different than Affirmative Action,JUST RENAMED!
Posted by: Shannon K
I face the problem of waiting for people to get back to me, but some companies only give a website and there is no phone number to call. Also I've never had problems in my interviews, my problem is that I'm a new graduate, but they want someone with experience. How do I get experience if I don't get hired by anyone? The conundrum...
Posted by: Joy L
I tried a couple of the tactics listed in the article with a recent job posting. I followed up after getting a reply from the hiring manager, who said he'd send me a survey and we would take it from there. He never sent the survey, so I waited a week and emailed him a nice, brief note asking about it. He hasn't replied. The whole job search reminds me of dating in my twenties, when I'd have a nice date with someone and then never hear from him again. It's hard not to take it personally after a while. I've been out of work for a year now and the boredom is driving me mad. I'm signing up for free coding classes, basically just to have something to do. I wish the best of luck to everyone in my situation now. It's very hard to stay positive when it feels like your life is on permanent hold, with the bad muzak playing endlessly.
Posted by: Naomi W
I have found myself attempting to call back ofter an interview. I have waited a couple of days before calling. sometimes I would get a c/b offering me the position. I appreciate the information that was provided. I will use this information after my next interview.
Posted by: Naomi W
I try to keep a positive attitude during my job interviews. I do give a call and try to folllow up after an inteview.
Posted by: David C.
Typically from what I have seen, Internal people from the company are on the verge of losing their jobs, and some of the interviews I had gone on, I lost out, because these internal people were re-assigned to the jobs that I had interviewed for.  In a most recent instance, the job I applied for went to a friend of a friend, due to that person facing foreclosure proceedings, so I lost out to nepotism.  On another occasion, I was ready to get interviewed for a position, only to see that the position was put "On Hold" since this company either wanted to wait for the new quarter, or see who gets into the White House in November.  As stated by some previous posters, going back to school does not make any real sense, and attempting to get a job in another industry, I lose out to those that have more "Industry Experience" than I or that I don't portray quite enough recent industry experience that I am really proficient at.  Trying to network has not really helped either as my friends and family are not in position to help, because they, themselves are unemployed as well.So, no real easy answers to this one, I am afraid, just keep plugging away.
Posted by: Pamela G
At what point do you sound like a stalker, a call back at the end of the 1st week shows interest, but at the end of the second week?  How about when they have said that the process is taking longer than they though; when does stalker behavior start?
Posted by: Melina Y
This really does seem helpful I have been having a hard time finding a better job.  I have been looking since March.  I found out from someone that it is my resume, it needs worked on.  The funny thing is I never had problems finding jobs before.  Although before I had help cause it was people who knew me got me the jobs.  They say its all about who you know nowadays.  It is really sad. .  
Posted by: Jose P
Melissa Kennedy, write again about this article when you have been looking for a job for at least a year, and you wonder what went wrong during job interviews.It is very different to write about what you think other people should do than real life answers.People need real life advises, not dream solutions.
Posted by: Bradford F
Wow great advice. Thank you. I read a number of the responses people have wrote... It breaks my heart knowing so many others are struggling like I am. I think the most difficult thing is when those who haven't directly struggled with the employment situation judge and look down on you for your situation. I wish good luck to you all. Keep you hopes high and your chins up.
Posted by: C. Fox
Walter B. I agree, I was let go from my job by a manager who never got to know my real talents.  He promoted the very people that were undermining the system who then in turn got rid of the quality employees that refused to take shortcuts.   I hope this was a good release of your anger, I at many times feel just the same way... there is nothing you can do about it, just put it behind you & move forward.  Hopefully Karma will get these people back on another level.   
Posted by: C. Fox
I would take getting back to them as being somewhat of a 'badger' or 'pest' yet there are those that enjoy attention which would work.. if the roles were reversed, I would just take a quick thank you note (E-Mail) expressing an interest would be sufficent enough.  There is such a thing as being too annoying.... I found that out, a certain agency was sick of me calling, now they let my calls roll into a VM & never return them. Upon leaving an interview hearing 'thank you for your time today' from the interviewer is the kiss off death.But Gee, what do I know, I'm still the one out of a job. I agree, how many employers leave you hanging too.
Posted by: Ralph S
I feel age is hampering me. I am 58 and with 35 years in sales and customer service owning my own business. Being an owner, you are service, sales and marketing, quality control and management. With all of that I can't find a job.
Posted by: LaShunda P
I have found myself doing almost all of these.  This has already lifted me up.  Thanks
Posted by: MIKE J
some of the jobs ive applied for dont even respond back if they got your app. or not you submit resume and dont know if they got it or not thats not to reassuring on a job hunt
Posted by: Jim H
Within this forum there are some great questions and comments. It only makes sense that these questions and comments be addressed because they are essential and extremely pertinent to all of us looking for employment.  It is like this huge game that we play where one side makes up the rules and the other side is left to figure out how to play the game. How about some answers?  Many of us are multi-talented and can DO much more than what may be contained within the confines of one resume.  After all, don’t we have to limit as to how long the resume “should” be?  We just need the opportunity to discuss what we have to offer!
Posted by: Zarita G
I found that the article is very informative and encouraging.  I have been out of work for a year and this info will help me to take a different approach in hope of resultsThanks so much
Posted by: Steve V
The most important thing is to do the follow-up call, text.& e-mail. All anyone can say is no.   
Posted by: WILLIAM H
I like this approach i am concerned a bit about following up with the company most say only short listed candidates will be contacted What do you do in that case
Posted by: Marcia K
The problem with knowing details about every company I apply to is that it requires quite a bit of research. I reach burn out pretty quickly.  If I apply to 4 or 5 different companies a day, I'm expected to research each one and create a compelling cover letter for each application. I just don't have the energy or time for that.
Posted by: susan h
thanks a lot.  
Posted by: Robin B
You are right, of course, on these points.  However, even in my profession, which I thought was recession-proof, there is an agenda to get you to accept a lower salary because of the "tight job-market".  I am just not that interested in bringing all of my skills, education and experience to an employer that does not value them and demonstrates that by paying me a salary that commensurate with all that I have to offer. If you just want a warm body then have at it!  When it comes back to bite you in the behind, and it will, then don't look at me; I applied. I don't consider that a bad attitude just professional pride in spite of what others think I should settle for.  I am not desperate and I cry for those who are because it does have a profound lateral effect on the entire middle-class, nation and possibly the world.  Again, G-R-E-E-D
Posted by: Maristella V
I'm afraid there is age discrimination, I'm 59, and @ my last interview they ask me how long I think still can work...
Posted by: Sharon D
Good info, self esteem I think helps the most and or being confident in yourself.  What do you suggest on that?
Posted by: Richard B
1. There is no point in adding a link to Linkedin on your resume if the information is exactly the same. All an employer has to do is Google your name anyway. Useless advice.2. There is no point in adding Twitter if you are in an area with no cellphone service so you do not use Twitter. More useless advice.3. Focussing on the company is pointless if they do not really know who they are and what they are about themselves. If you have a really good idea, why let somebody else steal it? Do it yourself!
Posted by: Kristie S.
Stacy S. - I have had the same problem with follow-up.  I have left messages (no one ever picks up) and after 3-4 tries I have just given up.  It is very unprofessional and after experiencing that I decided those are not companies I would like to work for.  If they treat job candidates like that how do they treat their employees?
Posted by: Michelle S
@Sammy S....LOL! You made my day! It is very difficult to remain positive when prospective employers have no respect for job seekers. I've read all the "job searching advice articles" out there, and I have followed all of the "pearls of wisdom" to the letter. I am more than qualified for every position I have applied for, and I know what the position requires and/or what skills I bring to the table. Result.....still no job after 6 months of searching every day of the week. Nevertheless, I am hopeful there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Advice to all the job seekers out there...Keep your chin up!
Posted by: Ernie C
There is also another reason  you are not being hired.The Bush administration signed into law that a company can check your credit report and with the lobbyist in Washington,They can check your medical report, which if they hire you then their insurance rates go up. So you are actually being discriminated for no being able to pay your bills on time. Even though you are a rocket scientist. Production is dropping in this country because our talented population are not being hired. Instead we are hiring healthy credit worthy individuals who can not accomplish the feats of the talented.
Posted by: Debbie H
These are great tips.  Most applications are completed online and don't always list the company.  I would love to follow up with a phone call.   Do you call even if it is posted NO CALLS?
Posted by: john w
I have recently graduated from college and every job I have applied for is looking for 3-5 years experience. I do not have that experience because I am a recent graduate and no one will hire me so I can get experience. My question is how do you get experience if no one will hire you?
Posted by: Jennifer M
This just isn't true. I have applied at over 85 places in 3 months, the majority of them being online through job sites- there is NO way to follow up on them. AND I have read MANY articles from HR managers asking people to NOT call and bother them. IF they were interested in you THEY WOULD CALL YOU. All you are doing is bothering them in their busy day. I've been at it for months and I do 2-6 job apps a day, I have a degree, I have 10 years of management experience and yet, NOTHING.
Posted by: Janet S
   Thank you for  the advice, I Feel  age is  a determined factor in my applications.No one ever gets back  to me, and I have filled  out many applications.My work  resume should speak for itself, someone could  give some explanation.
Posted by: carla s
It's hard to follow up after you submit your resume because most of the time it's done online.    There is one to follow up with.  You can track the status of your application but that's about it.
Posted by: Hazel J
Great intel, I will ck on applications, thanks. How long should I wait before callback?
Posted by: Nancy S
Well, I have read and read information online to find out just the right things to do, but sadly nothing is helping. When you lose your job through no fault of your own, just because your boss wants to hire someone younger for 3.00 dollars less an hour and tells you that to your face, it becomes very discouraging. There are all sorts of ways to find out people's age now. Seriously, It is discouraging but I get up every day and do all the right things and I work at getting a job 8 hours a day and it seems that people can not even have the common courtesy to let you know if the position is taken. But, what choice do we have but to continue getting up every day and repeat the process.
Posted by: Susan L
Because I am getting older, I decided to advance my degree in nursing to a BSN thinking it would open opportunities for me.  What an eye opener!!!  I am more than qualified to do many jobs in my field, but my age gets in the way. It doesn't matter that I am  active and don't look 58, my resume reflects too many years in the industry, hence, I am old and in the way.   
Posted by: Michael A
I would like to agree with The Y of How jobseekers are not gotten back to. There also as I am now over the age of 45 and even with 5-7 years experience at most of the work I have been doing do not even get a response e-mail as to under or over qualified for a given position. Ignoring an inquiry was once considered more than bad etiquette but Extremely unprofessional   Your Thoughts?
Posted by: Scott D
Too many employers hide behind e-mail addresses.  You are unable to see them in person and discuss their needs or what you have to offer.Therefore you have to wait for them to contact you. That rarely happens these days.  I have been searching for six years.I am always labeled over or under qualified by employers that do take the time to answer me.  Over due to all the education and experience I bring to the table.  Under because I do not know every PC language on the market.
Posted by: William M
The real truth is a certain group wants to bring down the wages.Back to where it's been set. HELLO
Posted by: Prosper B
These are wonderful pieces. Thank you.
Posted by: Beth B
I feel there is an age bias and long term  unemployed you are at a disadvantage.   I work with a group of professionals that are long term unemployed and it is a problem for them. Takes 1-2 years to land a job that is half the pay they had before.  10-20 years exp.  they still stay current with skills and learn new ones and can not even get an interview.  They have been execs and directors
Posted by: Roseberge C
Thank you for the advice, I don't know what to do anymore, because I have been out of work for two years now I try everything you say, but none of it work. I hope God help me very soon.
Posted by: Stacy S
These are all great tips. Some of them I already do and some I am going to start doing, thank you. But one question about following up..What do you do if you have followed up 2 or 3 times, and no one returns your calls? (No one ever answers, and I've left messages at a small branch and at the main office of the same company) Do I just give up on that company?
Posted by: Lisa  P
Omg thanks for your help ..
Posted by: Walter B
Im just mad as hell at the world right now.  Sometimes, I feel like I want to kick someone's ass to give me a job!
Posted by: Tina K
Thanks for some great advice....And the push in a positive direction!
Posted by: Jaya H
Excellent ideas and it helps
Posted by: S. D
It seems that every place listing available jobs, ask for all the background information.  Why do you suggest that also the person trying to get a job should list Linkedin or Twitter where these social networks are just places.  I don't particularly care sharing my background with friends of friends' friends.  Suggestion?
Posted by: Kenneth T
Very informative and helpful
Posted by: Sammy S
Yes, let me just get up off the floor and snap out of this clinical depression.  It is my attitude, let me relish rejection after rejection and don't TAKE IT PERSONALLY!!  Let me just have a sex change, wear my glasses and falsify my resume!Oh and I forgot (because I'm OLD) let me put ALL of my PERSONAL information on a computer so that a company called INFORMART can tell strangers that I'm FELON in several states!  But not Mexico!!  Can't they gather and sell data on the people in Mexico?  That sounds like a new frontier!!  Oh, I'm rambling, I guess I need to change my attitude.  I wonder if I'm a felon in Canada...
Posted by: Darmis B
I've been applied ajob, I got one interviewed but after that they never call me back, I don't know......Why ?
Posted by: tom k
Having interviewed several hundred and hired several dozen people over the past 15 years, I've been astounded by the number of people who feel that I should hire them because they need a job!  They don't care what the position requires or what skills they bring, they just want a pay check!
Posted by: Penny D
Great advice! I will put this to work for me. Thank you!
Posted by: Raychelle H
Yes, you are right I need to start calling up these place and check up on my applications. thank you
Posted by: Gerarda D
Not willing to look at more education, as there is not any guarantee that I will be able to secure a paying job due to age discrimination.  Then I will owe tuition that will have to be paid for out of my meager Social Security payments.
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