Job searching is – let’s face it – kind of a chore. To do it well, you need to devote significant time and energy, ideally in some methodical fashion. So you research opportunities, submit applications, and you follow up – and yet sometimes, you hit a dry patch, where it seems like you’re shouting into the void and there’s no response.
I’ve been there. I know how frustrating it feels when your job search isn’t yielding results. It’s easy to start beating yourself up, questioning your approach. Are you even trying??
Of course you’re trying. You are diligent and driven and you are doing all the right things.
I want you to remember that job searching involves two parties: You, and the recruiter at each company you apply to. You don’t know them, you don’t know who they are, and you don’t know how they approach work, or what drives them. You don’t know how they review resumes. You don’t know what floats their boat.
And there is more that you don’t know: You don’t know their sense of urgency, how organized their hiring process is, how many other applicants there are, are there any internal applicants, what’s the budget for the position, or who’s the hiring manager.
There are a hundred unknown factors that impact the hiring process for each job opening. How can you possibly influence the outcome?
Short answer: You can’t. But this is actually meant to be a pep talk – because there are some things that you CAN control, and this is where you must direct your focus:
Your resume. Your LinkedIn profile. The effort you put forth. Your research. The way you respond. Your personal brand. Your attitude. Your preparation for interviews. Your interview follow-up. Your networking efforts.
When your job search gets frustrating – and it will – remember to focus on what you CAN control. Leave it all on the field, as they say – as long as you put forth your very best effort, and you act with diligence and sincerity and all the best you have to offer, that is all you can do. You can sleep at night knowing that you are bringing the best of yourself into the process. And you just need to keep showing up, day after day, application after application, interview after interview.
Sometimes you’ll bring all your best to the entire process and you still won’t get the job. You’ll end up being one of two finalists, and you won’t be chosen. This absolutely sucks.
You know what, though? At that point in the process, it isn’t because of anything that you did or you didn’t do. There’s a factor at play over which you have no control. There is some intangible that swayed the hiring manager, who had the impossible task of choosing between two well-qualified and altogether delightful candidates.
You cannot control the outcome. But there is nothing you could have done differently.
So, lick your wounds for a day. Indulge in some self-care. Then tomorrow, get back out there and keep putting your best effort towards your job search. Your time is coming, very soon!
Related reading: They’re Keeping You Warm – a post I wrote to explain why it can take a long time to hear back after the last round of interviews.