Just What Is Sabotaging Your Job Search?

As is painfully obvious, I know a lot of people looking for work.  Too often I hear people wonder just why they can't find jobs.  If they do have jobs they seem to wonder why their friends and family can't find jobs.  No matter the perspective it's always the question of "person has X trait, that is good for job Y.  I'm sure there are openings in job Y.  Why don't they have job Y?"

I ask myself this question a lot because, as is obvious, I talk to a lot of people looking for work, thinking of looking for work, or who should be looking for work.  Over time I've come to several conclusions about why people qualified for jobs don't have them – despite everything they do right.

YOU HAVE THE EDUCATION – BUT LACK EXPERIENCE: Degrees and training are great, but people want some hard experience in many cases.  Not having that experience can mean that, no matter your degree, you don't get hired – since people want to know you can do the job.

YOU HAVE THE EXPERIENCE – BUT LACK THE EDUCATION: This is where you've obviously shown you can do the job, but you don't get hired due to lacking the formal education.  This could be because of legitimate reasons – that employers want someone with recent academic knowledge or some specific training, or even proof you truly care about the career in question.  This can also be because hiring figures that it's better to hire someone with a degree because if you screw up they can't be blamed.

RIGHT EDUCATION, WRONG COLLEGE: Some people are biased towards certain educational institutions, regardless of quality. It happens.

THE DOUBLE BLADE OF AGE: Know the worry that some people have that they're too old for their jobs?  It's even more confusing as age can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on job, location, and even company.  The age issue is real – but it varies a lot.

TIMEOUT: Sometime the time is just wrong.  You may be looking for work at the wrong time in a company or locations history.  You can give up right before it gets good – or start looking right after a hiring binge ends.

THE EXTRA EDGE: Sometimes a job needs some specific abilities or experience.  If you don't have that, you may be out of luck.  Finding what that is?  There's your problem.

LOCATION, LOCATION: All of the above can change depending on location – things may be different in another state or other country, or even employer to employer.  On top of all the other reasons people don't have jobs it may be simply they're trying with the wrong company or in the wrong place.

Knowing how to get your job is important.  Knowing what might keep you from getting the job equally so.  Diagnosing if these issues are part of what's sabotaging your job search is important.

– Steven Savage