For most people, job searching is the worst. You’d rather be doing just about anything else other than receiving endless rejections — including going to the doctor, dentist, or doing your taxes! At least those things have a finite ending point.
Job search frustrations are fairly universal. Most people are dealing with the same frustrations. Below are common frustrations and how to conquer them!
- The Application Black Hole
- The E-mail Rejection Letter
- The Company Ghosting Routine
- The Non-existent Job Posting
- The Must Have Required Skills
The application black hole happens when you apply online and never get an interview. I’ve met job seekers who have applied to 200 or more jobs online, and never landed a single interview. Even in the cases where they were a perfect fit, or even overqualified, they never heard anything back. It feels extra frustrating because almost always, the human resources department at a company will instruct you to apply online. “Apply online. If you’re qualified, we’ll contact you,” they say. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Online job applications go into a black hole otherwise known as the “applicant tracking system.” If you want a real chance of being considered, look for what you can do offline. Contact a friend who works at the company. Locate, and reach out to, the hiring manager. Go to a networking event where you can meet people from the company. Don’t expect the online system to work, even if you’re the most qualified candidate.
The e-mail rejection letter can be just awful. I mean, you spent all this time applying to an opportunity online — customizing your cover letter and your resume. You know you were the right candidate. And, all you got was this automated form letter rejecting you. So often, we take it personally. And, it is personal. We’re trying to find a job. To overcome this issue, try to remember that the applicant tracking system is setup to automatically reject most applicants. You’re not alone. And, there’s a good chance no human ever saw your resume. Look at these rejections as another reason to try searching offline.
Even worse than the automated e-mail rejection letter is the company ghosting routine. Why companies can’t get on the ball with this one, I’m not sure. In what other context is it acceptable to ask someone to put in hours upon hours of work, to buy a new suit, to sneak out of their job for multiple interviews — and then you just don’t respond to them? This is one of the top negative experiences job seekers face. And, employers are really missing out on an opportunity here. Even though the candidate may not be the right person today, they could work out in a few years. If the company would take a little more care, they could cultivate an entire collection of talent before they even need it. But, I’ll get off that soapbox. As a job seeker, just remember that you don’t want to work for any company or hiring manager who’d treat you this way. Focus on the next opportunity and don’t look back.
As you go through job applications and interviews, you sometimes start to notice. Some of the positions listed are non-existent job postings. It’s not that the jobs never existed, but they don’t exist right now. You’re putting in all this work applying for jobs that may already be filled. This often happens because the company already knows who they’re planning to hire. For example, the company may have hired a self-employed consultant for a short time and then bring them on full-time after they prove their value. Most companies will still post the job on their website for a short time before solidifying the full-time hire. The problem here is, as a job seeker, you can’t tell which jobs are really open and which are not. The solution to this problem is this. Start building relationships with companies you like — even when they do not have a job available. Then, you will increase the chances that you’ll hear about jobs BEFORE they are posted online (when they are really available).
Last, but not least — Very often, we find an awesome job posting. We love it. We know we’d be awesome. Then, we scroll down to the must have required skills section. There’s something “required” that we don’t have. It could be a specific degree, a specific number of years of work experience, or some random skill. It’s disappointing. We know we won’t get picked, so we just don’t apply. Because, the company doesn’t want to hear from us, right? Wrong! Job descriptions are written in such a random way. They may be copied and pasted from old descriptions. They may be a best case scenario wish list. The good news is, the answer to this issue is easy. If you think you can do the job, apply for it! If you don’t apply, the company won’t know you exist. You’d be surprised at just how often a company hires an underdog candidate they like over a very qualified candidate they’re not terribly fond of.
Most importantly, know that these job frustrations are universal. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned professional, all searchers are facing these issues. They aren’t personal, but they are frustrating. Stick with your search and you will find a great opportunity. It just takes a little time!
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