Mid-Year Job Search Check-up: Are you just wasting time?

by | Jul 18, 2011 | Career Collective | 4 comments

Disappointed businessman

In Australia, the winter months are typically a flurry of activity for jobseekers and recruiters.

June 30, the end of the financial year, signals new beginnings. Employers, having put off making hiring decisions until now are typically cashed up and motivated to seek new talent. And, as a handy coincidence, workers are getting itchy feet and long for something new and exciting.

So on one hand we have workers wanting a new job, and on the other, we have employers seeking new talent. Theoretically, this is a match made in heaven where demand meets supply.

Or does it?

Have you been looking for a job for a few months without success? If, so, let’s do a mid-year job search checkup.

Are you sending out hundreds of resumes and not getting an interview?

It’s time to look at two things: the jobs you’re applying for, and your resume.

You need to be absolutely realistic and honest with yourself. Are you applying for jobs for which you are well qualified? And… is your resume 100% targeted to the role you want to pursue?


  1. Apply for jobs where you have recent experience in the right industry. For example, if you are a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative and you want to break into the horticulture sector as a Tree Doctor, then you need to be aware that this is unlikely to happen overnight. Pursuing a change of career is an indulgent move for people with a financial buffer, not for those who are desperate and short of funds. If you need a job immediately, then apply for jobs where you are an exact match and put the dream job on the backburner until you can look from the luxury of a pay-packet.
  2. Look to your social network and stop your sole focus being on advertised jobs. What friend or former colleague can introduce you to a company and influence decision makers? An advertised job attracts hundreds, and sometimes thousands of candidates. Don’t put yourself in the largest pool where you are unlikely to be seen. Instead, leverage your relationships with people you know and who can act as your unpaid workforce. It is easier to get before decision makers through a recommendation, than to compete where you cannot climb high enough to get a competitive advantage.
  3. Review your resume critically. Is your resume targeted towards the position you want to get now or is it eulogising your past? Is your resume too long, too short; does it focus solely on duties and responsibilities instead of achievements? Perhaps it is so general and so dull that you’d have a hard time trying to convinced yourself to hire you! If you look at your resume and realise that it just is not selling you, then the next step is researching professional resume writers and paying to have professional help.

Are you confused after a highly successful telephone chat with a recruiter didn’t eventuate in an interview as promised?

Often you’ll receive a phone call from a recruiter and the two of you will just click. You have a laugh, the recruiter sounds impressed, you have the skills her client (the employer) needs. You know you’re going to get an interview. But then a week goes by and you start to wonder. Your call to follow-up yields a brick wall with the recruiter either being too busy to speak or you’re given a pretty lame excuse as to why you haven’t been considered.

Look to three things. People who know you and your reputation in the industry, someone who has stumbled over your online persona and doesn’t like what they see, or the job brief either being changed or filled internally.

  • People who know you personally, and your industry reputation. It wouldn’t be the first time, particularly in tight-knit industries, to bump into people you know and didn’t like from another job. It is quite possible that when your name came up in front of the employer, he or she knew you (or an influential offsider did) from a previous life in another company. If that’s the case, there is not much you can do, other than to remember that the next time you throw an immature hissy fit, or undermine someone’s authority, it’s likely to come back to greet you later. The mere mention of your name will most likely stop your application in its tracks and no amount of pleading and stalking the job search consultant is going to get you before the employer.
  • Your Online Reputation: Enthusiasm from your call melts when the recruiter returns to her desk and Googles your name to see a series of negative, angry rants across the internet on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more. Your online persona will indicate “TROUBLE” and particularly for high-profile positions, the job search consultant will not be advancing your application to the employer. Angry calls will only reinforce their beliefs of your unsuitability. What can you do? Attempt to rebuild your online persona. No swearing, no off-colour photos, no name-calling, no promoting questionable sites or activities. Instead replace the negative with a positive. Profiles on Linkedin, Google and starting a professional blog, along with more positive tweets will start to rebuild your online reputation.
  • The job has changed, has been filled or never existed. Yes, it’s not fair. The company may have been looking to see whether external candidates stood up against their internal candidate and decided they liked their guy better. The employer may have revised the brief by adding extra experience and skills that you don’t have, or the agency were really just looking for business. Unless you want to antagonise recruiters, just accept it and move on. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s a pain, but you need to live with it because no amount of anger or whiny stalking is going to change the situation.

Are you getting an interview, but not getting to the job offer stage?

Forget about  tweaking your resume. The sole job of your resume is to get you into an interview. If you are consistently getting interviews, then the resume has done its job. Save yourself the time and effort and instead….

Look at your interview skills. If you are always getting interviews and missing out on the final cut, then there is probably something amiss. If you are getting similar responses such as: you’re over qualified, you don’t have enough local experience, your skills are too broad-based, then you are clearly failing to communicate your value.

Think of regular communicators; for example, telemarketers.

Telemarketers are trained in the art of handling objections. They have a solution for whatever excuse you come up with, that (typically) aims to calm concerns and build trust.

It is the same with interviews. If the interviewer has doubts and objections after your interview, then you haven’t closed the deal. You haven’t calmed your interviewer’s concerns or provided a compelling reason to hire you.

The solution to this problem is not to leave the country in a huff, not to tweak your resume (again), but to do something different. Seek out an interview coach who can help you frame your experience and responses to negative perceptions. Recruiters/employers are looking for someone to make their jobs easy. If you provide them with an unbeatable proposition that answers all their concerns credibly and truthfully, then you’ll no longer be in that holding pattern of being the bridesmaid and never the bride.

So there is your mid-year check list. If something isn’t working for you, then take a new approach to resolving the problem. Continuing to repeat actions that have not worked before is quite simply, wasting your time.

I’m part of an incredible group of career professionals. We call ourselves the Career Collective and we post once a month on a specific career-related topic. See all my colleagues articles below. You can also follow us on #careercollective at Twitter.







  1. Miriam Salpeter

    Gayle – It’s great to read a post reminding job seekers to think about the questions most do not consider. I am convinced a huge number of job hunters never land interviews because their resumes do not address their target employers’ needs. It is possible to make a transition, but not with the wrong materials and an unfocused approach. It is just as possible the remaining job seekers (who have strong resumes) aren’t landing interviews because of their Google results. Having nothing show up online can be just as damaging as unflattering information in some cases. Thanks for the useful tips and information!

  2. careersherpa

    Your suggestions are great!

    My fave is   2: Look to your social network and stop your sole focus being on advertised jobsThere is so much outside of a job seeker’s control and what I enjoyed most about your post is that you’ve helped them identify things that “THEY” can do!  Super!

  3. Megan Fitzgerald

    Great post Gayle – I think its important that people take time to see what is working and what is not. If someone is not getting results – doing the same thing and expecting different results is what they call insanity.

    Getting honest with yourself and being aware of what you are doing right as well as wrong are certainly key to job search success.

    Thanks for those wise words!

  4. WalterAkana

    Wow, Gayle! This is a
    great post!


    I especially like the
    problem/solution approach you’ve taken. You delve into each one in a way that
    is both realistic and incredibly helpful!


    Yet, I think what I like
    best is the relationship dimension that you weave into each area of focus.
    Ultimately, the world of work exists inside of relationships…so much so, that
    even if one’s resume is well crafted, it is the actual reputation that one has
    in the hearts and minds of others that leads to success – not only in finding a
    job, but doing it well! 


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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.