Your Job Search: Let’s Just Start Again Shall We?

According to Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Consider John.

John has been unemployed for about four months now. He’s had two interviews that came to nothing and has no plan or strategy for moving forward. He keeps sending the same resume and cover letter to the same type of jobs, and finds jobs from the same newspaper and job board weekly. If he’s said “I just don’t understand it!” once, he’s said it 100 times. And that’s just today.

Attempts by friends to offer suggestions, contacts or a chat and a coffee are dismissed by John with a rueful smile and an internal conviction that they just don’t understand the predicament he’s in.

John is living that definition of insanity.  He’s doing the same thing over and over, trying nothing new and hoping against all obvious pointers to the contrary, that this “strategy” will actually work!

Four months is enough time to indicate that something isn’t working. Assuming there are no obvious challenging situations such as a period in jail, a serious workplace injury in his field, or an easily identifiable and turbulent work history of drugs or absenteeism, then there should be no reason that at the very least, John isn’t getting shortlisted for a job.

If this sounds a little like you, then it’s time to conduct a job search audit and review what’s working, what is not, and then take the steps necessary to resolve these problems. Keep doing what you’re doing and you can only expect the same result!

  • Audit problem No. 1. One impediment to getting interviews is that you are applying for jobs for which you are not qualified. Remember this: it is not just a lack of skills or education that makes people unqualified. A General Manager applying for a factory job or an entry-level customer service role because he or she is desperate for work, is as equally unqualified as a high school student applying for a management role with a multinational. The best way to get a job, is to apply for roles for which you have a recent history, and that are age and skills appropriate. If you’re not doing that, then change your mindset. You can do the “dream job” or the risky career move later from the safety and comfort of a regular pay packet. For now, you need to pay the bills so apply for jobs where you are an expert (yes even if you’re sick of it! Do you want to be bored or unemployed?
  • Audit problem No. 2. If you are perfect for these advertised roles, tick all boxes and yet you still don’t get interviews, then it would be a good idea to re-visit your resume. Has it been created professionally? Does it sell your skills? If you are unsure, do some research. Look at top resume writing sites and review their samples. Look at the formatting, look at the content. Does this reflect yours? If not, you may want to revisit the resume with the aim of making it more contemporary, branded and persuasive.
  • Audit problem No. 3. Have you been waiting for the classified advertisements in the newspaper on employment day and looking at SEEK? Have you been doing anything else? If not, you know what they say about putting “all your eggs in one basket”! Shake up your approach! By applying for advertised jobs, you’re placing yourself in the largest pool of candidates available. That’s where the greatest competition lies. Keep that up, but add another string to your job search bow. Try networking. Accept the offer of a coffee from employed friends; you never know what insights they can offer about upcoming jobs or people leaving their companies. Follow up, find out who to approach from your friends who have the inside knowledge and see if you can get before a decision maker.
  • Audit problem No. 4. Your resume should not be the only way to communicate your value. Are you using social networking to its advantage? How is your Linkedin profile looking? Are you updating the status, creating persuasive, compelling content to woo people looking for a person like you? Are you joining groups online in your industry? What about Twitter? Are you following every recruiter in your area, state and country? What about resume writers and coaches? This information is free and is yours for the taking. Did I mention this valuable information is free?
  • Audit problem No. 5. It’s normal to miss out on the job when you’ve been called to an interview. After all, only one person can win it. But just how many interviews are you attending? If you attend a lot of interviews, it is usually a good sign that you’re applying for the right jobs and that your resume is working. What is it about you then that never gets you to the short list? It may be worth doing a bit of role playing with an interview coach or looking at your responses in greater depth. Are you turning off people because you’re too aggressive, too negative and whiny? Do you look defeated and miserable? Are you giving off a desperate puppy vibe? Are you too confident? Too timid? If you can’t look realistically at yourself, then an interview coach can work wonders in helping you see where you are letting yourself down. (Especially if you have a challenging background to communicate).

You’ve read the top five ideas to help you redefine, re-tool and re-energise your job search when it goes off track. Is it time for you now to conduct your job search audit?


I am honoured to be part of the Career Collective, a group of career professionals who band together to speak out on job search topics once a month. Please see links below to other career professionals and gain insight into other perspectives for tossing out old ideas and retooling your job search. Please also search Twitter for the #CareerCollective hashtags.





  1. Gayle Howard

    Updated my blog! Your Job Search: Let’s Just Start Again Shall We?: ccording to Albert Einstein, “The definition…

  2. JacPoindexter

    #JobSeeker: Are You Giving Off a Desperate Puppy Vibe? + other Questions to Consider: by @GayleHoward #CareerCollective

  3. Flex Paths

    well are you? RT @valueintowords: #JobSeeker: Are You Giving Off a Desperate Puppy Vibe? @GayleHowar #CareerCollective

  4. ed han

    RT @ValueIntoWords: #JobSeeker: Are You Giving Off a Desperate Puppy Vibe? | by @GayleHoward #CareerCollective

  5. Doostang


    Job seekers must read >> RT @ed_han: Job Seeker, Are You Giving Off a Desperate Puppy Vibe? | by @GayleHoward

  6. careersherpa


    These are super areas of a job search to audit!

    I was thinking about your first audit point. Sometimes job seekers reach a point when they “must” take something- it is a “Plan B” approach. I encourage the job seekers I work with to include the activities related to finding a “survival job” early in the search. It can alleviate the anxiety.

    I guess that’s a whole different blog post.

    Excellent post!

  7. Debra Wheatman

    Great article Gayle. Very insightful. I am always trying to explain to clients that responding to job postings is only 15% of the game. The US Labor statistics indicate that up to 85% of the job opportunities that are out there go unadvertised. Debra Wheatman, Careers Done Write

  8. ed han

    Gayle, this is superb! I found this courtesy of Jacqui having RTed it. The audit metaphor is excellent and your suggestions all make a great deal of sense.

  9. Martin Buckland

    Great post Gayle! Very valuable information.

  10. WalterAkana

    If you're in job search and spinning your wheels, you need to read this @GayleHoward post. Now. #careercollective

  11. Poncho Scotch

    RT @WalterAkana: If you're in job search and spinning your wheels, you need to read this @GayleHoward post. Now. # …

  12. WalterAkana

    Great post, Gayle!

    You really have identified several top “audit” problems for job seekers. Sadly, these are all too common. Sadder still, is that there are plenty of people who persist in these problems when it’s clear they’re getting nowhere… I guess that comfort zones aren’t necessarily pain free, even if familiar!

    While each audit area is critical, I am (as you may suspect) pretty partial to audit problem No. 4. Like it or not, we have moved into the age of “social recruiting” and a failure to venture into social media could result in leaving money on the table (so to speak).

    Social media is truly the place to see and be seen!

    First, paying attention to the rich information about people, companies, and industry trends found on social media platforms keeps you in the know. As well, by getting up a great profile you give people information that can get you considered for prospective opportunities. As well, becoming known by interacting with others on line is a way to begin to develop relationships. Finally, sharing information and perspectives can add your credibility and enhance your attractiveness.

    This is not the “same old, same old” approach. In fact, done well, it almost automatically keeps you fresh and relevant!

  13. StartWire

    RT @ValueIntoWords: #JobSeeker: Are You Giving Off a Desperate Puppy Vibe? + other Questions to Consider: by @Gayle …

  14. Trabajos Medio Tiempo

    Great post! Still, there are 2 things which really excel in an job interview. Being really good at the job meaning, having 1st hand experience in the industry for quiet a long time and networking…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.