Realistically, finding a good job that’s a good fit for both you and the company can take anywhere between two to six months in a thriving economy, in a large technologically advanced metropolitan city, such as Seattle. If you are a recent graduate, moving to a new area, changing careers or even trying to get into a different industry, it might take you longer. Yet, occasionally I run into a few individuals in my practice who take much longer than average to find a new job, even considering their unique circumstances. Why does it take some people a year or more to find a job when they are obviously looking? This is what I’ve noticed they all have in common – at least one or more of the following reasons. See if you can identify with any of them.
Reason #1. Too desperate. This is probably the worst place to be when looking for a job. I get that you have bills to pay, you need your financial freedom and in general it doesn’t feel good to be unemployed. Eventually you start feeling like you are willing to settle for any job – anything or anyone who is willing to hire you just so you feel that security of being employed. The problem is, employers can pick up on your desperate vibes and it is a huge turn off for them. You see, they are not usually desperate to hire just anyone, they want the right person. And they can see right through you when you’re trying to ace the interview by giving them the answers you think they want to hear. Take a deep breath and try to understand that the process takes time and you are much more likely to get your perfect job when it comes along than one of those hundreds of jobs that classify under “anything is better than being unemployed.”
Reason #2. Lack of motivation. I can always recognize this way of being in my clients when I feel like I am more motivated for them to find a job than they are for themselves. You can lose motivation for a number of reasons. Sometimes you get cynical and give up hope, other times you get tired of the job search process itself, or maybe, you enjoy not working a bit too much. In most cases, people lose motivation because there is nothing at stake. Maybe someone else in your family makes enough money to feed you and keep the roof over your head. Maybe unemployment benefits, though not great, are good enough to keep you from starving for now. Maybe you already have a job you may not love but it pays your bills and keeps your life somewhat manageable. Wherever you are, if you want to improve the quality of your life and you know getting a new career move is the way to do it – I recommend you create a plan and follow it steadily.
Reason #3. Your attitude and expectations. I hate to break it to you but sometimes it is your attitude that keeps you unemployed. You may have a fantastic resume with huge company names on it but no one will simply hand you a job. Companies don’t create jobs for the sake of having jobs, they create jobs because they need people. And it is your job to convince them that you are the right person and you have to work for it. Job interviews are getting tougher and tougher these days, creating more and more competition among candidates. Sometimes you have to prove your worth and show your skills by solving a problem or two before they even give you a chance. You want to be confident when you show up at interviews, but there is a big difference between confidence and arrogance. If you are showing up at interviews acting like you know it all, if you think you are too good to answer their ridiculous questions that probably have nothing to do with the job you will be doing, if you expect recruiters to come to you with more work opportunities and blame them when they don’t have anything for you or don’t respond to your emails or calls quickly enough, rest assured, you almost certainly will not get hired. Not until you change your attitude, anyway. Keep in mind, no one wants to hire a jerk.
Reason #4. You are spinning your wheels. Sometimes you think you are doing the right things to find a job and you are doing a lot, however you keep doing the same activities over and over again that produce very little or no results. This is a sure recipe for frustration that will lead you to reasons 1, 2 and sometimes even 3, previously discussed in this article. I remember back in the days a friend of mine was looking for a job and was telling us how she sent over a 100 resumes in a matter of a week and not a single callback. In my practice, I never ever want anyone to apply to that many jobs. In fact, I recommend to apply to no more than 3 jobs per day maximum. In fact, applying to one job per day will probably be sufficient if you’re doing it right. If you are not getting enough callbacks, instead of applying for more jobs, focus on how you can improve your application process so you get more callbacks from the fewer places you already applied for.
Reason #5. You don’t really know what you want. You know you need to get a job, and you are very motivated to do whatever it takes, but you feel stuck. You look at job postings and anything you see out there even remotely doable or loosely related to what you can do looks less than inspiring to say the least. This happens a lot to individuals going through significant changes, such as relocating to a new area that has different industry or culture. You may also face this challenge when you feel burned out from your previous job and ready to pursue a new career. Maybe you haven’t found your passion yet, or maybe you know exactly what you want but don’t believe it is out there for you. Sometimes, you may even pursue the wrong opportunities, trying to convince yourself that you are interested in them, believing they are the closest you can have to your dream job. Yet, in reality, they are very far from what you really want.