I am really frustrated as I am applying to at least 10 job openings every week and I am getting very few responses and no interviews. I know I qualify for most of these positions. What is happening? What should I do?
I hear this almost every day from too many people. I am sorry that it is happening to you and is causing you to feel discouraged. The days are long gone when you can apply online and expect real people to view your resume and get contacted for an interview. About 10 – 15% of jobs are found this way so it is not impossible, but the odds are stacked against you.

Most employers are using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to initially scan resumes so a real person is not even looking at your qualifications when you first apply. Hopefully, you are tailoring your resume for each job as this is crucial whether it is being scanned or a real person is reviewing it. In both cases you need keywords and to show accomplishments relevant to the job you want to land.

Job InterviewMany job seekers create a master resume and they use it without making any changes to apply to multiple jobs. A recruiter or hiring manager wants to see that you match the job requirements both in skills and experience. If they like your resume, then they typically check out your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you beyond your resume. Too often, I see resumes and profiles that are poorly written and formatted with content that is not current or tailored for the target job and as such those candidates will not be considered.

Another reason you may not be getting interviews is that the employer may have already identified an internal or external candidate that they want to hire. If it is an internal candidate, then you have almost no chance of moving forward and getting an interview. If the external candidate comes through as a recommendation or referral that takes precedence. As a previous hiring manager I sought out people I knew and worked with for my openings and also asked managers I respected for referrals before I would consider candidates that came through an online job posting.

I am not saying don’t apply online, but put most of your efforts into targeting where you want to work, what you want to do and then identify contacts, friends, colleagues and managers that can help you through referrals and recommendations. I know it may be easier said than done for some. If you want results and are not getting them by doing the same thing over and over, then you just have to do something different. Networking works so it is a good idea to implement it into your job search strategy.

If you are having trouble getting started with job search or getting noticed I can help as I know and understand the job search process and what works well from your resume, LinkedIn profile to your strategy to get and ace the interview.

I recently graduated from college and I am not sure what I want to do for my career. I have applied to some jobs and did get a couple of interviews that did not result in any offers. My parents are pushing me to make some decisions. I hope you can help!
What was your college major and why did you choose it? Was it of interest to you as a field for your profession after college? What I am trying to get to is your interests. Some college students choose a major because they want to go into a specific field after graduating. Some choose a major because it is interesting and they haven’t thought about what they want to do after school, and others select a major because their parents told them to do so.

To choose the best and most satisfying career path you will need to consider your interests even if they are different from your college major. I have many clients who go into a career that is very different than their college major such a history major that went into technology sales where he excelled or a gal who just graduated majoring in computer science that decided to go into costume design, which she loves.

man looking at maze on wallThe bottom line is you want to look at what you enjoy and what you do well. That intersection will produce the best fitting job options.

Then you need to consider your criteria and the market for what you might want to do now and into the future. Your criteria could be salary, geographic location, desire to travel or whatever is important to you.

The next step will be to determine if there are enough job opportunities for the occupations you are considering and whether these jobs will be growing or declining in the future. Once you have a short list of occupational options I strongly recommend that you do information interviews with people in those fields so you can learn from first hand experience.

The final step is to make a decision and to prepare for going after your target job. Preparation includes a tailored resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and to make sure you are ready to answer the tough interview questions. If you don’t answer the questions well, you will not move forward in the hiring process.

Please keep in mind that most people change careers and jobs multiple times in their lives. Nothing is permanent. Make your choices on the basis of what will be most satisfying in terms of best fit – what you enjoy and do well. And take into account that you can and will learn, grow and gain expertise. You don’t have to know everything right now.

Go for what you want even if your parents and others are pushing you in a different direction. Listen and take into consideration what they are saying and then do what is best for you. I know sometimes it is really hard to be different and choose your own path.  The people that love you the most do not want you to make mistakes or get hurt. Most often, they want you to live a really good and happy life. And sometimes their idea of a good job and a good life is not what you desire.

And if what you choose doesn’t work out then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, consider your learnings and then move on to whatever is next.

I just got laid off of my job as the company I was working for is restructuring. I worked there for many years and this is not the first time this has happened to me. I want more control of my own destiny so I am thinking of starting my own business. It is something I have been thinking about for a long time. I have some ideas of what I could do. How do I determine if now is the right time and if I really do have what it takes to succeed? Or would I be better off finding a new job?
If you were my client, I would first like to find out about your occupation and if you enjoy what you do and feel that you added value in your past roles. Then I would like to find out about your business ideas to see how well they match to your skills, expertise and with what you enjoy most.

Many of my clients who have come to me with similar situations felt that owning their own business would resolve that uncertainty about their jobs and give them a better sense of security. And it does to a certain extent and yet you have to realize that most small businesses do not succeed so of course there is no guarantee with your own business just as with working for an organization. At least with your own business if you are tracking your #’s you will know in advance how well you are doing so there is no surprise such as getting laid off without expecting it.

As you consider entrepreneurship keep in mind that you probably won’t replace the income you lost from your job right away and it could take some time maybe even years. And what about health insurance? Perhaps you can get on to a partner or spouse’s plan? If not, Cobra may be available and in addition look at private plans and those through the Affordable Care Act.

I am not trying to deter you from starting your own business, but there are many questions that you need to address to make the best decision.  This is where I can help you as well as guide you in this process.

Woman at boardWhat I would suggest you do before moving forward is test and validate your business ideas to see if any are viable based on your criteria as well as the market for what you will be selling. What would it take to launch and operate your business and what would be the projected return?

Be aware in most circumstances when starting your own business, you will wear many hats as there often is not enough funding to hire employees or contractors to do all that needs to get done. Are you willing and able to do it?

Also, do you have a support system lined up as starting a business can be challenging and all consuming?

I recommend that you develop a pro/con list for both starting a business as well as landing a new job. You might want to create a decision matrix to evaluate the options more objectively.

As for timing to start a business I believe there is no perfect time. If, for example you have developed a product where the market is not ready for it yet, then the right timing would be essential to your success. Or if you do need some income why not land a full or part time job and work on your business on the side until you are ready to launch or have enough income flow to leave the job.

If you have a dream and desire to start a business and you have a viable idea and plan as well as enough resources, then now might be the best time. If the business doesn’t work the way you want or even if it does the door does not slam shut on you going after and landing a great job.

Ask yourself now, when I retire what would I most regret not doing in my career? Your answer is what you should plan to pursue now or in the near future.