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How to Tell When Your Job Search Needs Help
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Searching for a job is tough for everyone. You put yourself out there hoping to be given a shot while expecting rejection in the back of your mind. A job search is more or less knowing how to work the system. You try one approach and when that fails to deliver the results you want, you redesign your strategy.

If you're job search hasn't been working for you, it might be time to give it a tune-up. Not sure where to start? These are some of the signs that can point out the areas need a second look:

1) No interviews
Not getting any calls for interviews means that the problem stems from the root--your resume. Effective cover letters and resumes grab the attention of the hiring manager which will put you in that group of those to interview. There could be a number of reasons why the hiring manager isn't interested from applying for a position you're not right for to having an outdated resume. Even though you might want to spread out the application net as wide as you can, the best way to make the most of your effort is to apply to specific jobs that your resume is perfectly matched for.

2) No second interviews
It's probably most discouraging to get interview after interview and not see things go any further. Resumes and cover letters that get you in the door are a good sign. But it if seems like the door is as far as you get, your interview skills may be lacking. Your interview skills, like your resumes and cover letters, should cater to each company and its culture. If you show up to a start-up company in a suit and tie, they will get the impression that you may not fit in. Always do your homework on a company beforehand so you'll be prepared for how to present yourself in the interview.

3) Unsure of the right jobs
When you apply for jobs thinking you might have a shot but not sure if you're entirely suitable for it, chances are you aren't. During or after an interview, the hiring manager may tell you why they want to go for another candidate but won't tell you the kind you should be. Only you can tell youself what kinds of jobs you should pursue. If you can't convince yourself you're right for the position, then there's no way anyone else will be able to believe that you are.

4) Prolongued unemployment
The longer you've been out of work, the harder it will be for you to find work. When your job search seems to be taking longer than you expected, it's time to take a look at everything: your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills. Ask someone you know for help, practice interviewing with them and ask for their feedback. Making changes in these areas can give your job search a much needed reboot.

5) Looking only in one place
You should be searching in every source for job openings, not just Craigslist. This means taking a look at LinkedIn, specialty job boards, and in-person. It's not enough these days to only limiting yourself to whatever you can find online or at a certain site. Ask around with your friends, family, and even acquaintances if they might know of a prospect. When you search for something hard enough, you'll be able to find it.

6) Resorting to gimmicks
When it seems like nothing you've tried works, resorting to gimmicks to make you stand out are a step backwards. This kind of gesture screams desperation to the hiring manager. It shows that you're not competent enough to interest them on merit alone. Things like sending gifts or incessant calling will make the manager uncomfortable. These tactics are way too aggressive and are completely unnecessary. If you're feeling like all hope is lost, take a break and regroup. When you're ready to start the search again you can do it with a clear head.