Does this sound familiar? I cannot figure out why I cannot land this job. This isn’t working for me, that doesn’t seem to help. I see I’m qualified, I tweaked my resume for it, and clearly my experience should show them I’m qualified. I just can’t figure out what’s up. Why was I rejected with a blanket statement generic email?!
I hear this from SO many people. And while part of the issue is digital tracking, bots, and AI systems, that’s not all of it. Today, we’re talking about troubleshooting why you may be qualified but can’t land the job – and what to do about it!
What We’re Talking About
- Why you aren’t hearing back on your applications
- Making a clear plan of action for your job search
- How to approach the job search with confidence and peace
How to Look at the Job Search
I think about the job search process kind of like hurdles. I ran track (begrudgingly) in high school. Regardless, it taught me a lot. When I think about the job search process, I see it as a track with certain hurdles. We need to look at which hurdles are tripping you up.
If you aren’t getting past the application stage to the interview stage, then the issue is with how you’re applying or your resume or marketing materials. If you’re getting to interviews but not beyond that, then the issue is likely with your value proposition you’re presenting or your interview skills in general. If you’re getting past the interviews to the offer stage, but not landing the job or landing a great offer, there are usually some parts of the interview conversation(s) that you’re missing out on.
There a few specific hurdles that keep you from being successful in landing the job, and today we’re going to talk through my top 4.
#1 Reason You Aren’t Landing the Job: You are Haphazard in Your Search
This issue trips you up at the very beginning of your job search. This is what people typically do:
- Scroll through LinkedIn
- Binge job search on other job posting boards
- Aren’t consistent
- Get exhausted
- Give up
When you approach the job search this way, there’s no clear process or plan in place. No organization. No consistency. This is a great way to be haphazard in your search. And it leads to overwhelm and exhaustion. Plus a lack of follow-up and no way to know where you stand in certain job application processes.
If you’re simply scrolling, binge job searching, and shooting from the hip...you know it’s wearing you out. And it’s not proving very successful.
Instead, what if you had a clear plan? A system, process, and clear methodology to get from Point A to Point B. What if you could organize all the positions you’re applying for, why you’re applying for them, prioritizing them in the right way, and create a process for applying and following up? It’s time to get organized in your job search and be consistent.
Inside Recruit the Employer The Course (launching in two weeks!!!), I teach you exactly how to do this. I have a full methodology for how to job search with intentionality and consistency, plus tools to organize your search and manage your time well so that you can stay focused!
You want to get a clear plan of action that is consistent and reliable. And you need to make a process that helps you see yourself making progress. When we feel like we aren’t making any progress, we get stuck. But I want you to have a process that keeps you moving forward consistently.
#2 Reason You Aren’t Landing the Job: You’re Just Relying on Applying Online
Is the majority of how you’re communicating with future employers through online applications? You clean up your resume, drop it into the applicant tracking system, and pray to the recruiting gods that the right person will see it and bring you in….then almost immediately, you get an email back that says, “I’m sorry, but we are checking out other candidates for this role.” WHAT GIVES?! It makes you feel really out of control, doesn’t it?
I do not love this part of the job search process. I like to teach people how to be proactive in the process, how to take back control of their own career and job search. Because you cannot rely only upon applying online. You need to diversify the ways in which you are engaging the job search. It’s time to build your network, leverage your relationships, and reach out in creative ways to people at the places you’re applying to. I teach you all the ways to do this inside Recruit the Employer...and how to do it in an authentic way, no sleaze-balls invited.
Because here’s the deal:
- 60% of jobs are found from networking, not applying online
- You are never going to 100% optimize your resume
- There are plenty of out of the box ways to get in touch with the right people
When I was moving jobs, applying online felt like a big fat waste of my time. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. It was debilitating. I have never actually gotten a job from applying online. I remember feeling so distrustful of computers and the online application system when I got a rejection back from a job I really wanted. But I chose to take control of the process, found a way to get my resume seen by the CEO at The Muse where I wanted to work, and got an interview….where I landed the job….which led to my company now!
So it’s time to stop relying upon applying online as your only option. Start networking (we have a whole episode about how you can rock at networking, even during covid). Try something new. And come learn inside Recruit the Employer – we’ve got lessons on this, templates to uplevel your networking game, and all kinds of encouragement and how-tos that will equip you to land the job.
#3 Reason You Aren’t Landing the Job: You Aren’t Differentiating Yourself
This is a really big one! You may be qualified for a position, but there’s nothing that differentiates you from another (or multiple other) applicants. Networking can come into play here as well, but more than anything you need to think about what makes you unique? What is your secret sauce? What makes you stand out from the crowd? What do you bring to the table that’s different?
A lot of people mess up here once they’ve landed the interview. They don’t share anything that sets them apart. They share a lot of the tasks they’ve been able to do or subjects they are good at.
At the end of the day, an employer cares about that, but what they’re really asking (out loud or not) is, “Will this person be able to help our company and/or me reach XYZ goals?” Your job, throughout the entire process, is to understand what the employer needs and then ensure them you are the person – the only person – who can do what they need and get the results they’re looking for.
To do this, you need to first believe in yourself. We’ve gotten deep into ways to build your confidence here. And it honestly probably deserves a whole other episode!
Secondly, you have to be able to be crystal clear on what the need is and how you can differentiate yourself in response to that. What is it they are looking for? What problem are they trying to solve? And how are you the only person who can do that for them? Once you figure this out, you can brand yourself to the role and differentiate yourself in the process.
We can study companies with unique brands to learn more about how to do this. A lot of companies today differentiate themselves based on their company culture, their product line, or a variety of other things. One great example of this is Away Luggage. They took a really antiquated system and product and built a brand around luggage.
Know Your Secret Sauce
Before you begin to brand yourself to a job or tell a company why you’re the only person for their role, you have to know your secret sauce. You’ve got to be able to name what you are good at. This is really deep work. I want to encourage you to deeply evaluate and fiercely protect these things:
- What am I good at?
- What am I good at that I really enjoy?
- When am I in my zone of genius?
- How could that benefit the company?
As we’re digging into this, a lot of people ask me “Well what are companies looking for?” But that’s the wrong question, friend. You need to be looking internal first, and then allow that to inform your external search and the way you differentiate yourself.
One really fun tip here, besides making sure your LinkedIn and resume are differentiated, is to think about what you wear to an interview. In a finance world where everyone wore black, I chose to wear a pink blazer to my interviews to add some color. It was a lot of fun, and definitely set me apart! What could that look like for you in your industry? Every step of the process is an opportunity to differentiate yourself.
#4 Reason You Aren’t Landing the Job: You are Desperate
I know this is an uncomfortable realization to deal with. But when you get quiet, in your innermost being, are you so desperate for a job that you can taste it? I understand that. I know we’re in an unprecedented time right now and it can feel like “I just need a job” and we get in desperation mode. And this changes your energy. When this happens, your belief structure and mindset are in a place of desperation and scarcity. And this is very dangerous to your job search.
Plus, when you talk to someone who’s desperate – you can sense it. When a potential employer talks to you and you’re desperate, they can tell.
Think about it...have you ever been on a date with someone who is desperate? You can feel it. You can tell almost immediately. It doesn’t feel authentic. It feels high stakes. The same thing can happen during job interviews. And this lessens your power in the job search process.
You need to be engaging in renewing your mind constantly. Choosing a stance of abundance, a mindset of confidence, and an approach of peacefulness. A lot of it has to do with your belief structure
Be cognizant of where your mindset is on this spectrum. Are you leaning into abundance, confidence, and understanding the value you bring? Or are you leaning into scarcity, desperation, and selling yourself short? There is a subconscious thing that comes out either way.
Here’s the truth: opportunities are endless.
Believe this. Take a long view of “When is the next opportunity coming?” You don’t have to beg for a job or a sale. There are abundant, wonderful opportunities available to you. When your mindset shifts here, your subconscious and your external attitude shift as well.
I want to encourage you to reflect honestly here:
- Are you leaning towards scarcity or towards abundance? It can take work, but where are you working towards?
- Are you renewing your mind daily? Or more often if needed?
- Are you selling yourself short?
- Have you been desperate in the job search process? Is this what is keeping you stuck?
I also want to clarify this as well: there is a fine line between desperation and proactivity. There absolutely is. I think it is totally appropriate to reach out to people, get in touch, and stay on their radar in a way that isn’t desperate. In my Recruit the Employer Course, I teach you specific easy to phrase things and communicate in a way that brings value but do not make you sound desperate or needy. We even give you a specific cadence to do this!
So Now What?
So, friends, if you’re doing any of these four things and you can’t land the job, it’s time to start troubleshooting. If you have a haphazard search, it’s time to make a plan. If you’re only relying on applying online, we’ve got to change that. If you aren’t spending time figuring out your secret sauce and how to differentiate yourself, spend some time journaling about how you can do this. And if you’re desperate, it’s time for some mindset work. These are 4 top reasons you are qualified but can’t land the job.
I hope this is helpful to you and gives proactive steps in how to rethink and reframe your job search. Narrow in on the hurdles that are tripping you up so you can find your dream job. Then begin to shift, tweak, and change those you need to. No one taught you how to do this in college or beyond. It’s not your fault! But you can take these bits and pieces and create change for yourself today. If you want to fast-track these changes, make sure you listen in for when Recruit the Employer the Course opens in two weeks.
Can’t wait to catch you on next week’s episode! Until then, connect with me on LinkedIn and tell me which hurdle you’ve been tripped up on – and what you’re going to tweak there.
Qualified, but Can’t Land the Job? Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong
May 27, 2020