Top 10 Reasons Your Job Search Isn't Working writer

"Initially, it is overconfidence that the process will be easy and [that] time should be carved out for family, sports and other activities that were neglected when working. The opposite is true. Getting a job is usually more work than being employed," Villwock says. "The core mistake is not procrastination, not working on a résumé or not going to a networking meeting. It is not knowing the process and working the plan to get the job that you deserve."

You don't get it: You've scoured the Internet for jobs. You've blanketed the market with your résumé. You've sent a basic cover letter with every application. Why isn't anything happening?

While simply submitting your application materials and waiting for an opportunity to fall in your lap might have been enough to land a job at one point in time, the frustrating reality of today's job market makes that type of job search impossible. Instead, today's job seekers must go above and beyond if they want to stand a chance at landing a great opportunity.

Competing for work is a process that requires full engagement but generates significant momentum, says Jim Villwock, author of "Whacked Again! Secrets to Getting Back on the Executive Saddle." But, many job seekers get distracted in their searches and get frustrated when they don't see results right away.

Here are 10 reasons your job search might not be succeeding:

1. You aren't networking

No one can help you find a job if you they don't know you need it. Your friends, family and previous employers all know someone who knows someone, so utilize their knowledge and connections as you look for work.

Additionally, make yourself (and your job search) visible on social and professional networking sites like BrightFuse, Facebook or LinkedIn. According to a survey by Robert Half International, 62 percent of executives think professional networking sites will be useful while searching for candidates in the next few years. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would use social networking sites as a recruitment resource.

2. You're skipping the cover letter online

For some reason, people can't get used to the idea of how to submit a cover letter online, so they just skip the step altogether. Wrong move, people. Your cover letter is your chance to make a good first impression or address any inconsistencies on your résumé. When sending your application via e-mail, your cover letter serves as the body of the e-mail and your résumé is attached.

3. Your cover letter is generic

Now that we know you have to send a cover letter, the next step is making sure that it's not generic. You need to tailor each letter to a specific job and person, while clearly identifying the aspects of your background that meet the employer's needs, says Ane Powers, managing partner at The White Hawk Group, a career management firm.

"Your cover letter is your ticket to the interview. The ticket is voided and placed in the 'thanks, but no thanks' pile if it doesn't scream 'I am a perfect fit for this position,'" she says.

4. You're procrastinating

Oftentimes, when we don't see the results we want, we get frustrated and worried. After applying to so many jobs without hearing anything, you just don't have the energy to update your résumé, write a targeted cover letter or follow up with a hiring manager, so you put it off until tomorrow, then the next day and the next day. But why put off tomorrow what can be done today? Your dream job is not going to fall from the sky, so continue to endure and be proactive in your search.

5. You're only searching for jobs on the Internet

While job boards and company Web sites are a great starting place to find a job, the majority of open positions are never advertised, Powers says. Communicate with people who can help you: human resource managers, recruiters and successful professionals will all be key in discovering new opportunities.

6. You're not doing your research

This might be the most basic piece of job advice out there, yet some people still choose not to follow it. Executives polled by RHI said 25 percent of candidates didn't have any knowledge of the company or industry to which they're applying.

Things change every day in business, especially in today's market. It's important to know of any changes going on at the company where you're applying. If you are applying for work in a new industry, do some research to prove that you can be a valuable addition to that field.

7. You're blanketing the market with your résumé

"Attractive candidates demonstrate strategic marketing. Blanketing the market with your résumé demonstrates desperation and lack of strategic thinking," Powers says. Don't send résumés to every single job opening out there. Identify the organizations that meet your requirements and go from there.

8. You're not following up

Too many job seekers assume that if they haven't heard back from an employer, it's because they've been shot down for the position. While that may be true, there is also every possibility that your résumé never made it to its final destination or it got lost in the flood of submissions. Eighty-two percent of executives say candidates should contact hiring managers via e-mail, phone or personalized letter within two weeks of submitting their résumés, according to RHI. Just contact the hiring manager to say that you wanted to confirm your application was received and ask if there is anything else they need from you.

9. You have too many distractions

Try to focus on only your job search for a couple hours each day -- don't check your personal e-mail, make phone calls or surf the Internet (unless it's for jobs).

"Conducting a job campaign is a full-time job. As with any job, to achieve results, one needs to set goals and develop an action plan to achieve the goals," Powers says.

10. You don't ask for the job

Many candidates are shy about being to outspoken or upfront about their desire for the job, but many hiring managers will be impressed with your candor.

"Employers are looking for candidates who are excited about the position," Powers says. Be forward and ask for the position by telling the interviewer why it is a good fit for you and the organization.

Next: 10 Tips for Older Job Hunters >>

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Sheila Freeman

I have woked 30 years of my life to one company. And we were forced to retire at a early age. And nobody will give me a steady job. Right now I'm doing home health aide. But its not steady work.

July 25 2009 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How do you get a job if you got fired from the last one? This is very difficult especially in nursing. Candy

July 23 2009 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oopsie number 1 and two got mixed up and it should say "down THE aisle" ...if I'm bored enough to write it I guess I should be bored enough to fix my mistakes lol.

July 20 2009 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Top Ten REAL Reasons Your Job Search Isn't Working

10. People are now asking for master's degrees for a $10 dollar an hour job (and this doesn't even cover the late fee for your student loans).
9. Salary "DOE" ads waste your time. You spend all your time applying for a job that thinks minimum wage is a "competitive salary". Instead of just telling you what they are willing to pay upfront, they make you go through hoops to find out.
8. The people doing the hiring are technologically behind. They never saw your resume because it was sent to their SPAM box or (and this one is my favorite) they only look at resumes posted in the body of the email because they are afraid of downloading viruses.
7. Online job sites (e.g Monster, Yahoo) have now become places where people looking to MAKE money exploit people that don't HAVE money by trying to get you to sign-up for their online school or get rich quick scams.
6. The job you almost got turned you away for having less than perfect credit (yes hiring companies are running credit checks now). Gee, bad credit when no one will give you a job and the economy is down the toilet?! Nooooo. Say it isn't so. There's a shocker.
5. Employers want creative cover letters to prove you are SUPER DUPER excited to work for them. They want cover letters unique to THEIR job because they don’t want you cheating on them. Otherwise they might breakup with you and ask for their ring back.
4. Companies are already exploiting their current workers because they know nothing else is out there. Did you know some banks are lowering their employees salaries and hours? ::scratches head::: We bail them out with our tax dollars return they charge us extravagant fees ...and then they cut the salaries of the wokers ..and this is helping America HOW?
3. Ok for this one I have two words and two words only; SALARY REQUIREMENTS. Does this sound familiar? Send us your resume, cover letter and salary requirements. WTF!? I require you to pay me as MUCH as humanly possible. Is that SPECIFIC enough for you?!
2. 1. Unemployment pays more than what you WOULD be getting if you took the job. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.
2. No one told you that the degree you worked your butt off for is worthless. So you go to college in hopes of really being someone and possibly making a difference. You walk down aisle to get your degree with pride thinking this piece of paper will get you the respect and money you deserve. So you won’t settle for a piece of crap job with a piece of crap salary because you deserve better than that and so do your creditors (Sallie Mae do you hear me?). Rock on!

July 20 2009 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

arrrrrrrrr hear you are work 10 years at a job that pays well now you get lay off an get unempoly what is worong with the world dont have time to go back to school i have to feed 6 kidsto feed on mim wage i hope all the people that drive this world down is happey because its going to turn an put your ass out on the street just like the cars the gov say there out money well all the money you give away just for someone to set on there a$$ ummmm an if u go back to school there no jobs that r hireing even if u got license to do things all ready yea can move but that cost money

July 19 2009 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What is the business you are in? I am stumped with my job search and future goals.


June 26 2009 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hi all , I wanted to let u all know
ripped me of 500 dollars I paided for an item not recieved I see she here trying to sell spells and I have to tell she dishonest and very threating beware as she is an online scammer

June 25 2009 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was working a dead end job and worried about what I was going to do in my search for more money in a down economy. Only having some college education I knew it was going to be tough. But after doing some research I found out that even in a bad economy where millions of Americans are losing their jobs, the Home Business Industry is thriving! After doing my homework and searching the net for over a year I finally found a legitimate company called LGN (highly reputable ... look it up) that allows me to work from home, make my own hours, and is now making me thousands in a struggling economy. Check it out ...

June 24 2009 at 6:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

#27 and #30 - You're just as bad as the original commentor. Slamming someone's race doesn't make you look like the bigger person.

June 10 2009 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

11. Thanks to Globalism your high paying job moved overseas to take advantages of low wages, no health care, and no environmental requirement plus corrupt officials they can pay off.

12. Americans need to be more like China's workers and accecpt less for their labor!

June 09 2009 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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