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1.      Losing hope...

... because times are tough. Because you have been seeking a job for quite a while already, without success.

Yes, the global financial crisis has been here for a while, and it has had its consequences on the job market. But, it is not true that there are hardly any job openings, just that far fewer of them are being published. More people are employed than unemployed, although the employed get much less media attention.

You do not need thousands of job openings in your field to be published in the local news. What you need is to convince one interesting employer to hire you. OK then: one, or two, or three – so that you can choose the best offer. Focus your attention on convincing these interesting three, don’t worry about the irrelevant thousands.

You might already have been searching for a job for quite a while. Do you know that finding a qualified job used to take more than half a year, on average, even before any crisis started? It takes a while, also, because the cycle of recruiting someone for a position consists of many steps that together always take at least a few weeks. You are not necessarily doing worse than other candidates. But you can still try to do even better than them, using many of the tips on this website too.

2.      Building inner anger at Them, the employers

There is nothing like They, to start with. Employers do not meet around a big round table to agree on making it tougher, publishing fewer jobs and ignoring any recent graduates, people 50+ or mothers that might apply. Every employer is different: they are of different opinions and have different expectations of candidates. You need to identify just a few that share your values, seek your skills and could be suitable for you. Focus your effort and time on those.

3.      Applying for the “wrong” jobs

Have a look at the list of jobs you have recently applied for. Are they highly suitable jobs for you? Are you exactly the person that should be doing something like that? If you are not convinced, it will be difficult (impossible?) to convince the employer.

First of all, you need to know what would be the most suitable jobs for you. They need to be the jobs for which you can offer something very useful and which, at the same time, will satisfy you enough to keep you motivated for longer than just the first few weeks. Use the help of career professionals to identify suitable career options for you, if you are not sure.

Be careful with lowering your expectations so much that you start applying for jobs far below your qualification and experience level, unless you have a good reason to do so (e.g. seeking a career in a new field or a new profession could be one). Read more about being over-qualified here.

4.      Not knowing where “the right job” opportunities might be

Are you unable to find interesting and suitable vacancies among published job ads? Perhaps, the ads are not the right, or at least not the only place to seek them. Getting the picture about job opportunities according to published job ads can be very misleading.

While using portals with job ads remains very popular among job seekers, they are not so popular among employers. A lack of interesting ads is thus not equal to a lack of interesting job opportunities, they are just not being published! Employers often know or get recommended suitable candidates, and thus they do not need to seek them among the unknown, via ads. An implication for you? Become one of those “known about”!

You can keep on searching the ads, but you should definitely combine this with other strategies. Find brief but clear names for what you are seeking (job roles) and what you are offering (competences), and then ask people in your professional and private networks to let you know if they hear of any similar job opportunities. Attend events where people from the relevant field gather: seminars, fairs, workshops etc., and let people know that you exist, that you have useful competences and an interest in getting a job in the field. Apply to interesting employers independently of whether they have published vacancies, but get very well prepared for it first.

5.      Unconvincing self-presentation

Your e-mail and cover letter need to hook the employer on reading your CV: persuade them that you believe you are the right one. The letter and e-mail do not need to repeat all the details about your studies and work:  your knowledge, experience and skills should be mentioned only briefly, in one paragraph. Explain your motivation for the job.

Your CV needs to be short (up to 2 pages), clear, and very relevant to the job you are applying to. It needs to highlight the relevant experience, knowledge and skills that could be useful in that particular job position and organisation.

Read more tips for self-presentation in your applications and during job interviews here.


Have you found the potential reason of your difficulties among the five I have listed here? If you wish to comment on them, suggest any missing point, or you would like to use coaching to progress with your search for an interesting job, you can send me an email to coach @ smallbigchange.com.

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