The Real Reasons You Can't Find a Job (And What You Can Do About It)

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April 14, 2023
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min read

Can't seem to find a job no matter how hard you try? You’re not alone. The job search can be incredibly frustrating. 

The truth is, it takes dedication and resilience. It may feel discouraging, but having the right mindset and persistence can pay off. 

It's time to change up your job search strategy and refocus your efforts. Your qualifications, the current job market, and your approach to job searching all influence the success of finding the right job. Don't fall into the same tired routines that haven't been working.

In the article below, you’ll find a breakdown of why you might not be landing job interviews, how you can address the issue, and what other steps you can take to ensure your job search is successful. 

Common challenges in the job search keeping you from finding a job

For many job seekers, navigating the job market through the job search process can feel defeating.

You know the feeling: you think you have your most polished resume and cover letter filled with valuable skills and experience but have yet to get to the interview or job offer stage. You're left wondering, Why can't I find a job?

If this is happening, there could be a few reasons why you're not moving forward with your job search journey. We’ll dive into each of those below. 

Not getting any phone calls or interviews

Getting a hiring manager to reply to your application packet is just step one of job searching. It's a step that can be challenging if you don't know the right tips and tools to optimize your application and land your first interview.

The below reasons are examples of typical job search challenges candidates encounter.

Your resume isn’t formatted for applicant tracking systems

The job of your resume is to get you in the door. If your resume isn't optimized for an applicant tracking system (ATS), that door might as well be closed and locked.

When formatting your resume for an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), it's crucial to consider some key tips. Use a simple, easy-to-read font, such as Arial or Calibri, and avoid complex formatting elements like tables, graphics, or text boxes.

Incorporate relevant ATS keywords throughout your resume that align with the job posting, as the ATS scans for these keywords. Use standard section headings, such as "Work Experience," "Education," and "Skills," to ensure the ATS can accurately categorize your information. Lastly, save your resume in a compatible format, such as a Word document or PDF, to ensure it can be easily parsed by the ATS.

This type of tailored resume can help get your resume reviewed by an actual person.

The best way to ensure your resume is ATS-proof is to utilize Teal's AI Resume Builder, which includes resume templates that are all ATS-compliant and customizable to your experience.

Your resume isn't tailored to the job description

Hiring managers seek candidates with experience and skills that best fit the job description. If you use a one-size-fits-all resume for all job applications, you're not showcasing that you can do that job.

When crafting your job application, tailor your resume to each job. A tailored resume is a resume that connects your skills and experience to the job posting you're applying to. This helps create a stronger case for you as a candidate.

When crafting your resume, think of as many relevant skills and positions you've held in the past that connect with the job listings you are pursuing. Highlighting your career in this way shows potential employers you have what it takes to do the job.

Many applicants are applying for the same jobs

Certain companies, job positions, and industries are more competitive than others and attract highly qualified candidates. When facing increased competition, you may find it challenging to secure as many interviews compared to less competitive job opportunities. It doesn't mean you aren't qualified for the job; it just means other candidates have a step up in networking, advanced degrees, skills, or certifications, to name a few examples.

If you find yourself in many competitive job searches, try narrowing your search to focus only on jobs that are compatible with your strengths. Creating strategic, targeted outreach that leverages your talents shows hiring managers you are more than prepared to execute the role.  

You haven’t leveraged your personal/professional network

Finding a job is sometimes just as much about who you know as what you know. Leveraging your personal and professional networks, like LinkedIn and other social media platforms, can be crucial for career growth and success. Here are some key reasons why leveraging your networks is important:

  • Access to hidden opportunities
  • Referrals and recommendations
  • Information and insights
  • Mentorship and guidance
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Building long-term relationships

Creating and nurturing these networking relationships can support your career growth in the long run.

You’re applying to the wrong jobs

There are times when some jobs aren't the right fit. For example, certain positions require certifications, specific skill sets, or a college degree in the field. If you lack the necessary qualifications, a hiring manager will pass on your job application.

To land the job, you need to have at least the core skills and experience required to carry out the role. Many available jobs offer room for growth and professional development, as long as those core competencies are covered. To find the right jobs, search for exciting opportunities on multiple different job boards.

Unable to move past a first-round interview

You've solved your application challenges and are beginning to land interviews. A new challenge, however, emerges: You cannot move past the first round of interviews.

To land a new position, you need to impress a hiring manager with your skills, experience, and good communication.

Below are common reasons why some candidates struggle to get past that first round interview and land new job offers.

You couldn’t articulate your value during the interview

Knowing your worth is one of the most important parts of interviewing. 

Value is measured in many ways. Years of experience, degrees, certifications, and skills all contribute to a candidate's value. To understand your value, you must compare what you’ve done to the job posting’s requirements.

Carefully review the job description and consider everything you've gained throughout your studies and career and what you do best. Is your experience lining up? If so, highlight all the experience you have that directly connects with that role.

Deeply understanding the job details and what you can bring to the organization can help you better articulate your value as a candidate.  

Not prepared for a virtual interview

We live in an increasingly virtual world, with remote jobs and virtual interviews becoming more common. If you are uncomfortable with a virtual interview, it could be a contributing factor to your difficulty finding a job.

To become more comfortable with virtual interviews, research how to use various digital tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and WhatsApp, to name a few.

Find a space in your home that is well-lit, quiet, and doesn't have distractions, and always do a health check on your computer before every interview. It is also recommended to invest in headphones and a microphone so potential employers can hear you clearly.

Overall, your interview skills need improvement

If the interview process is anxiety-inducing, you're not alone. In fact, 93% of Americans have had anxiety as a result of a job interview. The best way to conquer that anxiety and improve overall is to practice.

There are many ways to sharpen your interviewing skills. Ask a trusted connection to conduct a mock interview for any of the job openings you've applied to. Additionally, a career coach can offer tips, share strong interview answers, and ask mock interview questions to help you think quickly in the event a job opportunity pops up. 

Within Teal's Job Application Tracker are tips and resources to help you practice interviewing.

Use the Practice Interviewing tips within Teal’s Job Application Tracker to help you present your best self in an interview.
Use the Practice Interviewing tips within Teal’s Job Application Tracker to help you present your best self in an interview.

You can also use ChatGPT to prepare for a job interview if you need a quick turnaround. You can ask the software to generate common interview questions, provide answers for those questions, and run a mock interview process

Getting through multiple interviews, but no job offer

The more you pursue jobs that fit your experience, the more likely you are to get a job offer. Employers are looking for candidates that show they are a good experience match and a culture match. An interview is where they can see how you articulate your experience and get a feel of your personality and core values.

Sometimes, candidates can easily land an interview but not so easily move past the interview stage. This means there are a few factors at play.

You weren’t seen as a good cultural fit

Not every workplace is a good fit for everyone, and that's okay.

In order for an employee to thrive in their work environment, they not only need the experience to carry out the job duties but the personality and core values that connect with the organization.

To get a feel that a company’s culture is a good fit for your personality, review the organization’s website and social media profiles. Many companies have their core values posted on their website, and social media gives you a good idea of a brand’s voice and how it presents itself.

The skills are there, but you didn’t stand out

Remember, the interview process is a competition between you and other candidates, and if someone has the same skills but stands out more than you, they have the advantage.

Standing out in an interview is important because it shows how you carry yourself, how confident you are in your skills, and if you are a good culture fit.

To stand out better in interviews, the easiest thing to work on is exuding confidence in your skills, experience, and personality. Confidence communicates to potential employers that you feel capable performing your responsibilities and know the areas in which you excel.

Additionally, showing confidence in your personality shows you can bring something new to the work environment. Feel free to make appropriate jokes, ask interviewers questions about themselves, or compliment their interview questions. 

You didn’t prep your references

References don't prefer to be surprised.

Always give your references a heads-up when you are applying for jobs. They are taking time out of their day to help you get to the next level of the process, so give them the courtesy of an advanced warning.

If references are not prepped, they may respond differently. If they weren't expecting outreach in the form of a professional connection, they may be put off, and the recommendation may not come through as positively as it could.

How to overcome job search challenges and land your next job

Job searching can be a daunting task, but there are steps you can take to overcome the challenges and land your next job. Organizing your job search is one of the best gifts you can give yourself, as it saves time as you get deep into your search.

Below are some key tips to keep you organized and create a successful job search:

  • Stay organized and set goals for your job search: This includes creating a job search tracking spreadsheet to keep track of job applications, networking opportunities, and interview dates.
  • Networking is crucial: Reach out to friends, family, and former colleagues for referrals and attend networking events. 
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to the job you're applying for: Carefully read the job description and highlight your relevant skills and experiences.
  • Practice your interview skills: Gaining greater comfort in an interview setting can boost your confidence as you prepare for your actual interview.
  • Research the company beforehand : Demonstrating your genuine interest and understanding of the organization through thorough research showcases your proactive approach to hiring managers.
  • Consider seeking guidance from a career coach or mentor: An outsider’s perspective can help. Career coaches are knowledgeable about career advancement, and mentors can give you insight into skills you may not have previously considered. 
  • Stay positive and persistent in your search: With dedication and perseverance, you can overcome job search challenges and secure your next career opportunity.

Using online resources like Teal can help lessen your job-search challenges even further. Teal’s Job Application Tracker allows you to track all your job applications and manage your job hunt in one place. Additionally, Teal offers a Google Chrome extension that saves the jobs you're interested in so you can go back and review and apply to them later.

Use Teal’s Free Job Application Tracker to help you organize and manage your job search.
Use Teal’s Free Job Application Tracker to help you organize and manage your job search.

Teal also cuts down on the time it takes to put your application package together with its resume builder, which includes artificial intelligence functionality. With Teal's AI Resume Builder, users can customize their resumes for the jobs they're applying to and utilize AI to create a cover letter that reflects their resume and job posting.

Additional ways to enhance your job search

Want more tips on how to supercharge your job hunting efforts?

It's time for a fresh start and a new mindset. Any seasoned job seeker knows that persistence and creativity are keys to success. When the usual strategies yield little results, don't give up—amp up your approach instead!

Try these techniques to revitalize your search:

Tailor each resume and cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for

Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can seamlessly step into a role, and highlighting only your career details that align with that role gives you a better chance at landing the job.

By tailoring your resume and cover letter to each specific job, you’re communicating: 

  • You are competent in the role
  • You have previous success in a similar role/industry
  • You will have a small learning curve if hired

Employers want to cut down onboarding time as much as possible, and hiring candidates with experience that matches the role is a good way to have a smooth onboarding experience. 

If you need a place to start, Teal’s AI Resume Builder has multiple features that can jumpstart your resume-writing process and help you build a targeted resume in minutes. 

With the AI Resume Builder, you can: 

  • Pick from multiple ATS-friendly resume templates
  • Use artificial intelligence (AI) to come up with your professional summary, resume achievements, and a customized cover letter
  • Use Teal’s matching mode feature to analyze your resume’s effectiveness

Personalize your cover letter

Just like how you created a targeted resume, you’ll also want to create a personalized cover letter for the job you are applying to. 

The best cover letters are ones that:

  • Match the job description 
  • Supports the experience in your resume
  • Highlight real-life work examples
  • Use data and facts to support your experience 
  • Show your personality 

The benefit of a cover letter is the chance to expand on the information in your resume. This is where you share specific career accomplishments, quantify your experience and show you are the best fit for the role. 

Creating your cover letter also becomes a more efficient process through Teal’s AI functionality. By customizing your cover letters through Teal’s AI, you can: 

  • Merge your resume and the job description to create a custom cover letter
  • Create a cover letter within seconds
  • Create multiple cover letters for different job postings
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.

Leverage your professional network

Have you tapped into your professional network yet?

The best way to leverage your professional network is through LinkedIn. Through the platform, 90 job applications are submitted every second, and eight people are hired every minute, making LinkedIn a valuable tool for any professional. 

Professional relationships can give you a step above the competition if you know how to build and care for those relationships. 

By seeking out new professional relationships, you:

  • Introduce yourself and your skills to potential employers, colleagues, and collaborators 
  • Open up an opportunity to get connected to another person’s network 
  • Learn about new companies, industries, and job positions

LinkedIn is a great place to start because it’s a platform for professionals looking to network and advance their careers. But like your resume and cover letter, your LinkedIn profile must be optimized to attract the opportunities you seek. 

A great way to optimize your LinkedIn profile is to download Teal’s Free Chrome Extension, which includes an automated LinkedIn Profile Review feature. Once you install the extension, click on the Teal logo on your profile page. You’ll see a list of recommendations on how best to optimize your profile, and can make updates as needed.

Teal’s Free LinkedIn Profile Review Chrome Extension.
Teal’s Free LinkedIn Profile Review Chrome Extension.

Final thoughts

With the right information, strategy, and resources, finding a job becomes much easier. 

Knowing what you’re looking for in a job, articulating that you can confidently do that job, and using tools like Teal can transform your search and lead to multiple job offers.

If you’re not already using Teal’s features, sign up for a free account and make every aspect of your job searching process more efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my resume more effectively to stand out in my job search?

To tailor your resume effectively, start by carefully reading the job description and identifying the key skills and experiences required. Use these as a guide to highlight your most relevant accomplishments, using quantifiable results when possible. Incorporate industry-specific keywords to ensure your resume passes through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and catches the eye of hiring managers.

What are some common interview mistakes that could be hindering my job search success?

Common interview mistakes include failing to research the company, not preparing thoughtful questions, and lacking specific examples to demonstrate your skills. To improve your chances, practice your responses to common interview questions, understand the company's mission and values, and prepare to discuss how your background aligns with the role's requirements.

If I've been job searching for a long time without success, what new strategies should I consider?

If your job search has been lengthy without results, consider expanding your network by attending industry events or joining professional associations. Seek informational interviews to learn more about companies of interest. You might also reassess your career goals and consider if further training or education could open up new opportunities. Lastly, don't underestimate the value of feedback; ask peers or mentors to review your application materials for potential improvements.

Lindsay Patton

Lindsay Patton is a journalist, adjunct professor, podcast host and digital communicator who specializes in business and career growth.

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