Finding a new—and hopefully perfect—job can be tiring. Throw in resumes, applications, interviews, salary negotiations, and it’s easy to see how cumbersome the entire job search process can be.
We know it can be a long and tedious journey so we broke down some of the most common job search frustrations, what they really mean, and what you can do about it.
You can’t find a job in your field.
Sometimes, the job you’re looking for isn’t available when you need it to be. This is especially true for niche fields like archaeology and international relations. When you’re looking for work in a specialized industry, you often have a lot of individuals competing for a limited number of job spots.
Try this: Most people don’t start out their careers with a job that perfectly aligns with their interests. If you can’t find the right opportunity, create your own. Is there a firm in your field that sounds great but isn’t hiring for your dream job? Research what’s available even if it’s a seemingly obscure role. You’ll still learn a lot about the industry and—if you work hard—you’ll be at the top of their list when they do need to hire someone.
You can’t find a job in your preferred location.
The further you live away from a big city, the less job opportunities will be available. Positions that are close to residential areas tend to have a lot of competition. In Hawaii, the average commute time is 26 minutes.
Try this: Set up alerts with job sites like LinkedIn which flag any position close to home that you’re qualified for. If you’re still coming up empty-handed, adjust your expectations. If commuting is an issue, look into public transportation or inquire to see if those companies offer commuting reimbursements or benefits. Yes, it would be nice to find a new job down the street from your house, but sometimes your dream job won’t be within walking distance.
You were told you don’t have enough experience.
Training a new employee takes time and money. If you have experience, it verifies that you know at least a little bit about the industry and what good work ethic looks like.
Try this: Volunteer, join a professional organization, or start a part-time job in the field you’re interested in. You’ll gain valuable skills that you can use in any job and grow your network. Plus, if a company sees that you’re a hard worker and are willing to go the extra mile, it may even lead to your next job offer.
You were told you were overqualified.
When your level of experience is mismatched for a position you’re applying for, employers are concerned you’re using this as a temporary job or that your expectations will far surpass what they can offer you.
Try this: State why you’re applying and what your expectations are in your cover letter. You can use your experience to your advantage—they’ll have to do less training and be able to take advantage of your insight.
You didn’t hear back after applying or interviewing.
There could be a variety of reasons your inbox and voicemail are still empty. Sometimes the hiring manager hasn’t had time to sort through all the candidates or they’re looking for candidates who show initiative.
Try this: If there were no instructions that specifically said not to call or email, reach out about one week after submitting your application. Still nothing? Follow up one more time. Stick to three follow-ups total. After that, it’s best to move on.
The employer didn’t meet your salary requirements.
Since a lot of companies don’t give up their salary information freely, you might go through the entire application and interview process before finding out how much you’ll be compensated. It’s frustrating but unavoidable since salary information isn’t legally required to be stated upfront on a job posting.
Try this: So the position is paying a bit short of what you were hoping for—this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker! If you’re very interested in the job but they’re not budging on pay, negotiate benefits instead. Maybe they can offer an extra week of paid time off or allow you to work from home every Friday.