Hundreds of Applications and Still No Job?

Here's how every job seeker secretly hopes his or her search will go:

8:00 a.m. You see an ad for the job of your dreams: close to home, makes use of your skills, offers the right pay.

8:05 a.m. You apply for the job.

8:07 a.m. The hiring manager, out of breath, calls you. "We must have you. The CEO said to pay whatever you ask for -- we need you on our team ASAP!"

8:10 a.m. After you give your demands (a high salary and access to the company jet), you're faxed the job offer.

8:15 a.m. You head out the door to your first day of work.

In reality, the process takes a few weeks or months longer, and you probably won't get every single perk you want. Along the way, you don't hear back from the companies you think are perfect matches for you, and it takes weeks to get an interview after sending in your application.You probably spend a few days (at least) wringing your hands over whether or not you'll ever find a job. No matter whom you are and what industry you're in, anxiety is just part of the process. But everyone has a different breaking point, and after so many resumes, you're bound to start asking, "I've sent out hundreds of applications -- why isn't anyone hiring me?"

Here's a checklist for you to review so you can either put your mind at ease ("It's not me; it's them") or revamp your searching technique ("Well, it might be me"). Maybe the factors slowing down your job hunt are not under your control. But it doesn't hurt to double-check.

1. Location

Before you start blaming yourself for not getting any leads, take a look at your surrounding area. Not all cities have the same job market. A dearth of construction jobs in a northeastern suburb might be the polar opposite of the situation in a southwestern boomtown. Whether or not you want to or can relocate for your job is a personal matter, but you should consider the unemployment rate of your region when assessing how your hunt is going.

2. Which jobs

When you look at how many applications you've sent out and how many you've heard back from, you might want to divide the list into two columns: jobs you expected to get and jobs you applied for on a whim.

Many job seekers decide to send out applications for jobs they know they're not qualified for, whether they just want a paycheck or they think it would be fun to try a completely unrelated field -- even though they know the odds of getting a call are slim. These Hail Mary passes are perfectly acceptable, but don't consider their failures to be, well, failures. The jobs that align with your experience, education and skills are the ones you should be the gauge of your success.

3. The resume

Here's where a lot of things go wrong. That one piece of paper, digital or hard copy, causes a lot of problems. Here's a quick rundown of what you should check:

·Is your contact information (including your name) listed so the employer can call or e-mail you?

·Did you target the content to the job posting? Use the same phrasing, list experience that correlates to the requirements and give specific examples of achievements that will intrigue the employer.

·Did you attach the resume as a document in an e-mail? For security reasons, many employers won't open attachments, so your resume might go unread. In addition to the attachment, paste it in the body of the e-mail to be safe.

·Was there a cover letter attached to it? No cover letter can mean no consideration for some hiring managers.

4. The Interview

If you've been called in for interviews already, then you're doing something right. Not getting a job after interviewing doesn't mean you blew it -- it means you made the shortlist, but someone else might have been a better fit. But it never hurts to review your performance.

An interview is often a chance for the employer to see if you fit into the company culture. Are you too rigid for a casual environment? Are your verbal communication skills good enough for your position? Hiring managers also use this opportunity to learn about you in a way they can't through a resume. They want you to elaborate on your experience and answer any questions they still have.

To make a good impression, preparation is key. You don't want to sound rehearsed, but practicing your answers to questions, your handshake, how you'll sit in the chair and anything else you're likely to encounter will help you. If you can avoid being the deer in the headlights, you'll be able to focus on the quality of your answers.

5. Appearance

Not to be superficial, but presentation means a lot. From the layout of your resume to the wrinkles in your interview attire, your professionalism is being judged. How are you presenting yourself to employers?

Don't start your cover letter with, "Hey!" and don't end it with a smiley face emoticon. Your resume shouldn't be full of ClipArt butterflies and smiley faces. And you should leave some white space between sections so that the entire page isn't a single paragraph of text. The hiring manager needs to see a job candidate who takes the job seriously, even before you're called in for an interview.

During an interview, you should dress appropriately. That doesn't mean trying too hard -- say, a tuxedo for an administrative assistant's job -- but it does mean dress for the environment and look like you spent time preparing. If you're told the environment is business casual, then you don't need a suit, but you still need to iron your pants.

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There is a "Famous" Quote that goes something like this, "The Major
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April 08 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoyed the comments from everyone. Looking for a job is still hard for everyone. I went back to school and received my BS thinking now I can at least compete. After graduating with a BS in Criminal Justice I still can not find a job. I then finished my MBA and a minor Organizational Psychology. Still no job. I've gotten interviews but nothing else. I am still looking because, I feel there is a job out there for me. 2 1/2 year looking for a career.

March 20 2009 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim French

Why does everything have to be a scam there are still honest decent people that want to help. I'am not ashammed for trying to help someone and in my company and in my houshold there is no recession.

March 13 2009 at 8:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim French

With the job market being the way it is so wonder people are looking to start their own business, it is financial freedom and security something no one can take away from you. I'am not trying to scam you just offering my help and services I work with a 36 year old, publicly traded, New York Stock Exchange Company. Everyone that works with our company is not part of the recession, if you want more info contact me

March 13 2009 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's no surprise to me after looking at these comments they're all full of scams. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for trying to prey on people in a recession. "Somethings change but most stay the same"

March 09 2009 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You’ve heard it said, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” For the job seeker, that impression is your resume.

At the end of a job fair held in Greensboro, NC on February 25, 2009, an HR Director was interviewed on one of the local news stations. “The biggest problem an applicant has,” he said, “is their resume.”

He went on to indicate how vitally important it is to make sure your resume is:

- worded properly,
- kept concise,
- typed in proper font size and style, and
- matches your objective to the position you’re applying for. helps you create the strongest, most effective document that will shoot your resume to the top of the pile.

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View the samples on the site, and if you don't feel this guide provides what you need in your search, e-mail us at and tell us why. Our goal is to help you get the job you’re seeking!

March 02 2009 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My question is...why are you looking for another "job" that can be taken away from you at any moment. You need to get into your own business at home. The opportunities are out there but you need to make sure you get into the right industry or product. Something people will always need. Is there a cost. Why shouldn't there be? It's a business afterall. But you don't have to pay an arm and a leg or give away your first born.
You should never pay a large amount of money on something that may not work.

I work at home in my own business and have been for a yr now. You have to find something that actually pays you and you could go on for a long time finding that company. Low, low start up cost..Do you pay more than $50 a month going to your job?

I could definitely help you to know what to look for and also what the not to's or don't even go there's...I lost alot of money doing that.
You also want to find a company that pays residuals...wonderful word. Don't bother with any company that doesn't. It would still be "just a job" afterall. Nothing to secure a retirement in 5 to 6 yrs. Nothing to leave your kid's if anything happens to you.
I'll be glad to give you advice on how to find a solid company that pays daily checks and monthly residuals...or ask me about mine..Like I said, I've been here a year, so call me anything but don't call me a dummy.
Reply to the email below for information or call. Contact:

February 25 2009 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Forget applications and trying to get someone else to hire you! Work for yourself. Why not enjoy what you do! Meet great people doing the same thing. Travel cheap! Help others do the same and have a thriving business! Be determined that this year will be different than last year! Check it out!

February 19 2009 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You should really consider using some of those funds that give you "finacial" security and get your GED, or hire someone intelligent enough to hit the spell check key! If you are attempting to spam and scam people the very minimal expectation would be that you use and spell the word "FINANCIAL" correctly. The sad fact is your all CAPS RANTING, just wasted a lot of people's time you pompous ASS! Have a nice day.

February 19 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce Martin

Too many apps and no job? That was me. Ever consider that you might be getting bad references? I was. I caught the creeps, but not before they ruined 12 job opportunities. I hired Documented Reference Check ( They use Certified Court Reporters to document what your past employer tells potential employers. You got it. My so called friends were trashing me.

February 19 2009 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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