When you can’t find a job…do you forget how good you are?

I often hear from readers who have been looking for a job for months and even years. And I can’t help thinking that no matter how talented you are, when you can’t find a job and that continues far longer than you ever imagined, you start to edit your own memories of how good you are.

If no one wants you (or so it seems) then maybe they know something you don’t. At least that’s the kind of self-doubt that begins to creep in. Even normally confident people start to question their value – and wonder if they’ll EVER get a job again. (You will.)

Have I been there at some point in my own career? Absolutely. (More than once in fact. ;-) ) And I’ll bet most of you have too.

A prolonged job search starts to eat at you. The longer you go without getting an actual offer, the harder it is to walk into that next interview brimming with self-confidence and an aura of success.  And if you are feeling any of this, please just know you are not alone.

The other thing I want you to know is you are just as talented and capable and job-worthy as you were before all this began.  Maybe even more so now because you’ve learned tremendous patience and how to cope with ridiculous business processes. ;-)

Job search takes time, creativity & then some more time

There IS  a job out there with your name on it.

Amazingly talented people go a year or more without finding a job nowadays. Sometimes it’s about hanging in there and continuing, as an actor in a play does, to find the  excitement of the moment even in your hundredth performance…er…interview. Sometimes it takes looking beyond the boundaries of our original idea as to what kind of job we’re looking for, so we open ourselves up to new contacts and fresh possibilities. (A reader just did that and I’m so proud of her for discovering a new path she hadn’t even considered before.)

I’ve included some posts below to help provide you with  ideas to get those job hunt juices flowing again. And maybe to see if there are indeed job search/interview skills you need to strengthen or revisit. But there’s something even more important to work on.

What you really need to land (and keep) that job

Your strongest assets – both in job search and as an employee – are the attitude you carry with you, the energy you project, your willingness to be open to new possibilities, and your belief in yourself. So in the meantime, if you need a little booster shot:

  • Think back to times in your life when you succeeded. Include any success memories since they are all about YOU. Solutions you found. People you helped. Ideas you had. Things you learned. Things you created. Friendships you’ve made. Barriers you overcame. Projects you took on and finished.
  • Write down these memories – as many as possible. They are all important and, even if not at first obvious, form the basis of good job skills.
  • Now ask yourself how you might successfully apply these same skills in your next job.  Really let yourself think freely w/o letting doubts creep in – and if they do, boot them out and get back to the good stuff!
  • And then without stopping to think any further, write yourself a free-flow paragraph or two (don’t worry about grammar or punctuation) about ALL your strengths, your talents, things you bring with you to any job, and the reason you would make a great employee and co-worker.  Why you’d be great to work with, what you are willing to offer your next employer, what you’ll accomplish, etc. (If it helps, make up a job – and just let the words flow!)
  • Now create a one-page takeaway using the paragraph(s) you just wrote along with your list of success memories (from the first step).
  • Prescription: Take one-page booster shot as often as needed!

And whenever you do feel doubt creeping up, apart from rereading your takeaway, just remember we all go through this. Tell old Mr. Doubt you are NOT going to let him get the best of you – no matter how long it takes and how determined you have to be in finally landing that new job.

No matter how many “nos” you get, you only need one YES…and it’s coming. It just likes to take its own sweet time getting here. ;-)

Some job search articles to help:

7 Career Pros Talk Job Search 2.0

15 Job Search Tips from a Guy Who Just Got a Job

Job Search: The Simplest Job Networking Tip of All

10 Things I Learned in My 3 Month Job Search

How Joe’s HR Friend Got His Job Search Going Again

5 Things to Ask Yourself If Your Job Search Screeches to a Halt

7 Ways to Rev Up Your Recession Job Search

Don’t Let a Whiner’s Club Attitude Screw Up Your Interview Chances!

And to help you stay sane:

Stuck in the Waiting Game After 2nd Interview

12 Ways to Stay Sane After a Job Interview

I Got the Post-Interview Temporary OCD Blues

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. One of the most overlooked aspects of losing your job is the mental one. Being out of work for months is devastating. My company is laying off an average of 75 people every quarter so I have witnessed a lot of unemployment lately. Some people never saw it coming and don’t even have a resume prepared. Others were somewhat prepared and have a solid skill set but are holding out for their dream job as the months go by. I figure it’s going to take a while to replace a good job so go out and get a contract or temp job while you search. This is especially true in IT where a 3-month contract can pay really well. It’s really difficult to get quality candidates for a 3-month gig so the pay rate usually reflects it. I’m interviewing aggressively now and have some great leads from former co-workers who were laid
    Off. Sadly, most people have their heads buried in the sand hoping it won’t be them. I say hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

    • Ba…I am with you! having worked in IT for many years, I see the wisdom in your words. And while dream jobs are great, sometimes you can find them with those little 3-month gigs. At the university I worked in, we had 3-month contracts turn into many years! I wish you much luck with your networking. Sounds like you’re doing what you need. Good luck, Ba!!

      ~ Ronnie Ann

  2. I’ve been there Ronnie, and the longer you’re out of work, the harder it is on your psyche, especially your confidence. In one instance, right after I was laid off, I received a note from someone who knew my work. He said I was too talented to have been let go. I tacked up the note on my fridge and read it every day. That, at least, helped keep my spirits up.

    The lesson? If you find something – anything – that can motivate you in those dark hours and days, lean on it!

    • Thanks Rick. Nicely said…as always. ;-) I like the fridge idea. Great place for whatever speaks to us when we need an ego boost. I sometimes tape words that speak to me on my walls. And a someone I know uses the bathroom mirror. Maybe one day we’ll have contact lenses with inspirational messages only we can see. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~ Ronnie Ann

  3. Volunteer to keep your skills current. Doing so will interrupt any loss of confidence that you might be experiencing, let you meet new people, and almost inevitably return more to you in more ways than you can imagine.

  4. Beautifully written post, Ronnie Ann! It’s a message that job seekers need to hear because it is so easy to succumb to all the negative tapes playing in your head.

    I would add “Join a job club” to this list of things a job seeker should do to bolster his/her attitude. The kind of support that is received is such a benefit and can really sustain a person during the dark times.

  5. Ronnie Ann, I so seriously want to print this and tape it to my wall…so the next time I come across a client feeling the same, I can share some of the wonderful advice you have so beautifully laid out here!

    Sometimes no matter how much encouragement we give others, until we find ourselves in the same (jobless) shoes, it really is hard to comprehend the kind of turmoil and helplessness a lot of our “still looking” candidates are feeling. But I agree…we should be our one true cheerleader, unwavering and full of hope that the job they are looking for will be within their reach someday.

    Don’t give up, job seekers!

    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter for questions, comments or violent reactions)

  6. Thanks so much Donna, Melissa and Karen! Sometimes I leave things out of a post just for the sake of (attempted) brevity, but your advice and words of wisdom help round out the conversation very nicely. Much appreciated.

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  7. Cleo Carriel Benitez says:

    Dear Ronnie. This is the first time Iam visiting you. What a wonderful surprise to find your articles,your stories and advice as well. Sometimes, you if allow me, I’m going to stop by to check upon the news and so precious information. Tks a lot.

  8. Ronnie Ann,

    Very well said — great pick-me-up ideas (that operate on both the personal and the professional levels, which get ever-more entwined the longer the period of unemployment goes on, I feel).

    2 quick thoughts:

    1. The most positive thought that kept me going during my 2 years of unemployment was your very last line: “it only takes one ‘yes’”!

    2. After a lengthy period of unemployment, once you start working again, it is going to take time to “get your footing” again (mentally, emotionally, and otherwise). I’d say it took me almost a full year to “come back to life” fully after 2 years out of work. Remember not to be overly hard on yourself when getting back to work: renewing the mind, heart, and spirit takes time.

  9. This is such a great post, Ronnie Ann, with great comments!

    If you’ve been working in an environment that is failing, like a company in bankruptcy or the death spiral of down-sizing, you’ve probably lost confidence even before you lose your job. I know – that happened to me!

    Your pick-me-ups are great ideas! GL Hoffman wrote some excellent ones on Job-Hunt in July, too.

    The bottom line is that this kind of feeling and this kind of thinking is SO self-defeating and so hard to fight in a tough job market.

    Loved Donna’s suggestion about volunteering! Volunteering helps with “resume management,” networking, and keeping your spirits up.

    And Michael is absolutely right about “recovering” – you need to do it to regain your confidence, and it takes time.

  10. Hi Cleo! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. You are of course welcome any time. And if you have any questions or advice to share with others…please do! This blog is here mostly for support and to remind people there is light at the end of the tunnel – and every now and then help provide a flashlight. ;-) Best of luck!

    Great reminder Michael! So true. I love your words “Remember not to be overly hard on yourself when getting back to work: renewing the mind, heart, and spirit takes time.” Yes!!!

    So nice of you to drop by Susan! Like you, I’ve been there myself. More than once in fact. ;-) For anyone who doesn’t know Susan Joyce, she runs a GREAT job resource site called Job-Hunt.

    Thanks Susan for reinforcing some of the great suggestions for keeping our spirits up and our job-hunt energy high!! I know you also wanted to mention Melissa’s point about joining a job club. And I’ll just finish by repeating Karen’s words, however long it takes and whatever job you might need to take in the interim: “Don’t give up, job seekers!”

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  11. Hi Ronnie thanks for the positive note, I have been unemployed now for 12 months, 12 long months, been for interview upon interview, various testing after the interviews and still nothing. Its at the point of total desperation and right now all I want to do is cry, went for an interview a second one again, was told more testing would be done, now get told no outcome now the one person has gone overseas yet in the interview nothing was mentioned. It was mentioned that its reaching month end and that they still interviewing should I make it through this one that there would be assesment tests….

    Maybe I didnt make it and the overseas thing is just a way to say no, im so tired of this

    I was a credit manager and a good one to, now to a mom who has no idea how to meet monthly obligations I feel so frustrated and now resulting to tears

  12. I had been unemployed for a little bit over a year now.
    I am going through the same thing as you.
    The incredible heavy feeling of the pressure to get a job during an interview is sometimes too much to bear.
    Everything seems to be depending on the outcome of each interview. My future and my family’s livelyhood.
    The torment of thinking whether you will get a second interview or whether you got the job or not is incapacitating.
    But I think there is hope as long as you believe in yourself and to never ever give up no matter how hopeless the situation may look to you.
    Learn to manage the disappointments in your life. Never ever give up.
    Failure sets you up for your next success.

  13. Adeline: My heart goes out to you. I can well understand why it feels like too much…job hunts are ridiculously unfair because you get so little feedback and it looks like nothing is happening until something actually happens. That’s maddening!

    I really don’t know what I can say to help your search other than what I’ve said in various articles on this blog. Just remember jobs do happen even when we see nothing ahead as long as we keep the search going. It may be time to shake things up by doing a 2-per-week networking challenge. ;-) What’s that? Find TWO new people to call or e-mail each week – old friends, former colleagues, former teachers, relatives, names you find in the news – and let them know what you are looking for and ask if they know of a job or a name to contact.

    And don’t be afraid to stretch your skills into something else (see: transferable skills) you never considered before! I’ve done it many times and one thing leads to another even if at first it may not be the perfect fit.

    Best of luck, Adeline. Something good is out there with your name on it!

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  14. the saying that I keep my daughter going with is everytime you get a no it takes you closer to a yes!

  15. Pigbitin Mad says:

    Not sure where all this optimism is coming from. If you are always up against 800 other applicants YOU WILL NEVER WIN. PERIOD.

    And we will always be up against 800 other applicants.

  16. @Pigbitin Mad
    Yes – [Content Edited by Work Coach Cafe Team] 2 master degrees, 20K student debt and no income…
    It is a harsh rat race with psychopaths in managerial positions and the rest who can’t care less if you have money to feed yourself or where will you live if you can’t pay your rent any longer.
    Ontario Works workers are a cruel joke – young inexperienced kids deciding your life. Less than 600$ a month to pay rent, food, medical, dental and any other expenses. And yes – they will deduct any extra money you made selling your used books on Amazon for example.
    [Content edited by Work Coach Cafe Team]

  17. Bruce Wayne says:

    I had a time when nothing I did got me closer to a job. Money was gone. Got sick and could barely work even if I got an offer. And when I did get an actual interview, I could watch myself go through the motions but i wasn’t the person I used to be. I was angry. I was broke. I was scared. I was depressed. And I couldn’t see any way out – nor did I care much any more.

    Not even sure how it happend, but old friend offered me a job – way below my experience – and even though it meant moving and very little money, I went. I figured I wasn’t going to let the system break me. And the new manager treated me like crap. But somehow I kept going and finally got to another job in the same company and it was like I was able to breathe again. I had my life back. Can’t tell you it’s been all smooth…but there are plenty of good days now.

    Don’t really expect that to help. Just want you to know you’re not alone. And that your words touched me. My prayers go out for you.

  18. Awesome post!

    Getting up everyday to peruse a million job sites, writing a cover letter for each job, tweaking your C.V., and networking is a job.

  19. Hi Ronnie,
    I took a job in HR management consultancy firm. Our team looked after the compensation and benefits. I had just joined the firm when I found out that it wasn’t entirely a Finance department. Since I wanted to work in financial arena, I quit my job and attempted for CFA Level 1 to further enhance my financial education. I haven’t since, got any job offer although I have given interviews but in vain.

    Please help me. Most people tell me that I fail in interview because of my lack in communication skills. Also I am scared of meeting new people although I have achieved targets in my previous employment. Delegated work to my subordinates.

    How am I suppose to go about it.

    Thankyou

  20. Hi Asra!

    I’m so sorry you are going through this, but not sure how I can help from this distance. There are so many factors involved that comments on a blog just can’t go into.

    Is there a job/career coach available to you in your area, either through government or privately? Sometimes a few sessions can make all the difference, since they can identify and help you address things I could never know! ;-)

    You may also find useful tips in some of my previous articles. Start here and follow the links:

    Do You Get Nervous About Being Nervous During an Interview?

    Good luck!

  21. Dear Ronnie:

    Time are a bit more difficult.
    In 2008 I was working in Dubai for and international company.
    It was for Universal Park it was divastating to be so far and knwo there was nothing in the US.

    The bad economy hit there and the faith of these random of nationals from all over the world.
    Had no where to go.

    I Have been back inthe US looking for work anything…for 4 years.
    I worked maybe 10 months out of it and collecting unemployment.

    I want to work.
    Being in my fifities but can lift and work hard.

    There are so many issues..Older, no construction or architecturel jobs, and too much
    work experience…..then finally when I work, thye feel I know , or too experience and it
    intimdates the Mgr. and then they pick on me and cause some excuse to exit me.
    I do no speak to much except pretaining tothe work…to get it done correct.
    It is not easy and I have been running outof options.

    I really want to work and I can work hard and loyally.

    Running out of time but not fiath.

    sam

    • Hi Sam,

      I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time, and it’s SO important to keep faith in yourself and in “the universe” (or whom/whatever) that you will be OK!

      Supposedly the construction industry as a whole is beginning to recover, hopefully soon enough and close enough to you to do you some good.

      I’m wondering if there are other places where you could apply your experience, skills, and knowledge, too, for example:
      * Building maintenance jobs (office buildings, hospitals and health care centers, manufacturing plants, etc.)
      * Property management jobs (like being the residential maintenance man for an apartment or condo complex, which might come with a place to live, too).
      * Teaching in a vocational high school or junior college.

      I am sure there are other options, but those are the ones that pop into my head.

      Ask for help from the career counselors at your local state employment office, often called a Career OneStop Center. The services are free, and the help available could be exactly what you need. Just type your Zip Code into the location field on this form, and it will show you the Career OneStops near you -
      http://www.servicelocator.org/. Some retraining may even be available for you! Check it out.

      Good luck, and keep the faith!
      Susan

  22. Out of work for a 18mnths now after having to leave a ten year position after being bullied out by mamwager and her manager. got a settlement,but thats gone now.i need to get back into work. i have 4 children, 2 under 2 years. i dnt want to go back to the same type of work which was office call centre etc, but thats all i have done. im 37,and dnt knw what to do.i claim e.s.a at present. Im in the u.k in england.

  23. I have been frantically searching for employment now for one year with no success. I have had a handful of interviews, and one company in particular has interviewed me over the phone twice, then I made it to their face to face interview three times, only to not be contacted back on the position I was interviewing for. The last time I was called for an interview, they said they liked me and my qualifications, but when I went to the interview I was told they would make their decision in 2-3 weeks. I went with my big smile and tried to exude every ounce of confidence I had left. Like you wrote in your article, after not being offered a position of a year or so, you tend to doubt that you are even qualified anymore. I feel my experience is gone by the wayside. I am not in touch with new procedures and I feel like a fossile when I go for an interview, mostly because the people conducting the interviews are as old as my children. I am going through the final steps of a messy divorce and the small amount of spousal support I receive can barely keep a homeless person alive. Currently I live with my best friend who has helped me out financially and kept us afloat. I will be moving into my Parents home, which I own, in about a month. Without a job and a paycheck coming in, I have no clue how I am going to pay bills. Although I will not have a mortgage, I will have other bills, like taxes, utilities, groceries and I will also be loosing my medical benefits once I am officially divorced. This has been the worse year of my life. I am 52 and not getting any younger. I have worked in the Healthcare Field for 29 years, and when I go to a physicians office, I know without a doubt I could run circles around the hired help. I have no clue what it is about me that is just no appealing to employers. All my previous employers were very happy with my job performance. Even the patients would comment on my personality and caringness. I am at the breaking point and don’t know how much longer I can survive without work. My checking account in almost always in the negative. I just had to take my one dog to the vet for his vaccines and that put me over in my account again. If the Judge handling my divorce doesn’t allow me more support I will be out of luck. I don’t want to rely on support I want to work…Help!!

    • Hi Kim,

      Wow – what a very tough year you have had! So many things run through my mind about what could be going derailing your efforts. A solitary job search is a lonely, miserable, confidence-destroying process. And that’s for people who are not going through divorces on top of a job search.

      Here’s your problem as I see it – you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s very common giving how much job search has changed in the last decade, and particularly in the last couple of years. Something simple may be sabotaging your efforts, but, if there is something, you don’t know what it is.

      This is my advice:

      1.) Look for a job search support group run by a professional in your area.

      They usually meet every week or, at least, every month. It’s a great place to discover you are not alone in your misery and also a great place to get support and good advice – people to help you with your resume, your LinkedIn Profile, your cover letters, your interviewing style, and the latest effective methods of finding a job. They will also often know who is hiring in your area, where good meetings are where you can meet potential employers or others in your field to increase your network, and share job leads.

      Check with your local churches, public libraries, local senior center (if there is one where you live), and your city/town hall to find them. You can also check out MeetUp.com to find local groups and Job-Hunt.org’s list of local networking and job search support groups by state.

      2.) If you have attended a college in the past, whether or not you graduated, get back in touch with them to see if they provide career and job search support for alums.

      3.) Start volunteering somewhere.

      Hospitals (also nursing homes and assisted living residences and probably many other similar organizations) need volunteers. Perhaps there’s a local medical association of some sort that meets regularly and you could volunteer to help them. You want to get visible back in the medical world.

      Do NOT do for free what you want to be paid for, but get more visible in that “network” of people.

      If none of those sources or ideas work for you, perhaps there is a politician running for office you would like to support or an issue that is important to you that you want to support – fighting heart disease, fighting breast cancer, etc. People love to help people they know, and becoming widely known is very good. Again, check out MeetUp.com to see what is happening.

      The more people who know you, the better the chances are that you will land a job. It may also help you feel less like a fossil, getting back up to speed on the current issues and topics in your field.

      4. Grow (or set up) your presence on LinkedIn.com.

      I know a lot of people in the 40+ age range think YIKES! LINKEDIN WILL DESTROY MY PRIVACY!

      And, I say, NO! IT WON’T DESTROY YOUR PRIVACY! But, it will help you find a job!

      For these reasons -

      * 80%+ of employers Google an applicant before inviting them in for an interview.

      LinkedIn Profiles usually show up at, or very near, the top of Google search results on a name. So, it is an opportunity for you to “control the message” about you because you write that LinkedIn Profile.

      * No LinkedIn Profile? Nothing to compare the resume to.

      Employers compare the resume with the LinkedIn Profile to eliminate the people who “embroider” their resumes with a few extra – untrue – things.

      * No LinkedIn Profile = out-of-date and irrelevant. Not “private!” Invisible.

      Missing-in-action! OUT – OF – DATE!

      * LinkedIn is NOT Facebook! And that is VERY good!

      LinkedIn is for grown-ups and the LinkedIn business model supports protecting everyone’s privacy. They don’t hand out email addresses or change their privacy policies to “out” people’s personal thoughts.

      Go to learn.linkedin.com/job-seekers and learn how job seekers can use LinkedIn. Also check out the other “learn” links for more help setting up a good LinkedIn Profile and becoming more relevant to today’s employers.

      Stay in touch! I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

      Good luck!
      Susan

      • Linkdin shouldn’t matter. The electronic age of social networking is truly going overboard!

        • chandlee says:

          Hi Liam,

          Thanks for sharing your perspective. While it may feel to you like the age of social networking is going overboard, as I see it — the silver lining of social networks is that it makes it easier for people to identify contacts inside companies who can help you get hired once you identify the job that you are interested in going after. You can also search LinkedIn to see how others with similar experience to your own present themselves. I find that researching how others market themselves can help you figure out strategies for how you talk about your own skills an experience.

          Again, thanks for weighing in — and good luck.

          Best,
          Chandlee

          Good luck and all the best,
          Chandlee

  24. Kunal T says:

    Hi.

    I am going to tell you briefly about my background before.

    I am a 23 years old guy in a foreign country, namely Poland since last December. I am currently living with my girlfriend and her parents since then. My girlfriend isn’t bothered to look for a job as she is dependent on her parents and can’t tell her anything as she keeps threatening me of throwing me out of her house. I am going through a kind of depression like when someone has no reason to live. As if I am blind, deaf and mute also without hands. I was living in the UK for 3 years before coming here and I had not a great life but a liveable life. I went to the UK to study ACCA after taking a huge joint loan along with my dad by mortgaging our sole property-our house. I could not complete my studies because the money was not enough. But professionally I did achieve success as I was working as an acting team leader for the last 2 years.

    I am not working since June 2011 and it is killing me. As not because I can’t find a job but more because my dad who is in his 50s is spending around 75% of his salary to pay my loan. And at my place there is my mum, my dad and my little sister who is going to school. I think I still owe them many thing as despite my dad not having a good, fixed and blue colour job he made me a successful young man. But at the moment I am like I said a dead man. I don’t feel like to talk to anyone not even my parents. I feel like I am a waste and useless. I am trying my best and I did apply over a 100 jobs in the last 6 months but I’ve been called only twice- last week.

    I went for my interview which was 75% group assessment and 25% 1:1 interview. I knew that in the group assessment I was the best and this gave me a boost for the 1:1 interview and I know that I did well. However, I was home from the interview after a tiring 10hours journey via train I received an email saying ‘you were not selected’. I laughed and took it as a joke and I ran away from reality. But when I had a few drinks I came back to life and to be honest, I went to the toilet and started crying. But then after that I remembered my parents and went straight to my laptop on and wrote a long email giving a briefing about my assessment and I attached my CV and educational certificates and sent it to one of the interviewer who gave us her card to contact her anytime. But its been 6 days she didnt reply me yet and I did forward the email one more time. But then I realised that my skin is coloured so what’s the point of fighting against a big world known multinational company who claims to be an equal opportunity employer. I was broken I am still.

    I feel like I am retired and I don’t have any aim in life. I started a business in my country last year and had to close it as its was not profitable. And now i dont even look at myself into the mirror-like I disgust myself and I am no more the person I used to me. I keep myself closed in the bedroom everyday just surfing the net or doing something alone. At night when I sleep, it always comes to my mind why not insure myself and get killed and atleast i know that my parents dont have any burden nor fright of losing their house (although they dont show me any kind of suffering nor pushes me to help them). But I know what is going around. And this thing keeps on increasing everyday! As I am useless. I can’t find any job anymore. Wherever I send my application there is only two possibility- either I get an email saying I haven’t been selected or I don’t receive anything at all. I was not rewarded for my pain, my endless nights revising and my sacrifice. I don’t see any chance of getting any job in the future and this pushes me to watch movies about suicide. I look at my past I see that I was a multi talented guy not excellent but good a little bit in everything. But today, I am scared as I don’t have anyone who I can ask for help. I can’t beg my parents because they are too fragile, my friends distanced themselves after they got more success or busy in their personal life, I am scared of my girlfriend as she always threaten me of doing bad things to me. I don’t know if I should look for a job or somewhere to insure myself!

    Kunal

    • chandlee says:

      Kunai,

      Thank you for writing. I am sorry to hear of your situation, it sounds like you are in a less than optimal place on multiple fronts. I recommend that you seek the help of community organizations that can be of help to you — from finding a job to getting mental health counseling for your depression.

      It is well documented that the job search process can take a toll on one’s mental health. In fact, it can be as psychologically challenging as the loss of a spouse, housing or a major relationship.

      I am sorry that you were turned down for the last job you were interviewed for — and that you did not hear back from some employers. Unfortunately that is an all too common experience in the U.S. as well. I recommend you seek out services available from non-governmental agencies and charitable organizations — volunteering and asking for help from the school you attended may also help — let people know you need help finding work. If you Google “career coach” and Poland, you will find several individuals listed — I can’t vouch for any of them and know you may not have money for their services — but encourage you to write and share your story and ask for their recommendations that may be of help to you.

      They may also have resources and suggestions for your business. We can’t officially recommend anyone to help as we don’t do that, but I do think a bit more research may help. I wouldn’t apply for any more jobs until you seek out advice on how to apply — as hiring protocol varies from country to country.

      Good luck with your job search and I hope things get better for you.
      Chandlee

  25. My job search has taken a turn for the worst once again. Two months ago , I had three interviews with major government contractors. Then a month later, I got rejected by all of them. Two of those contractors decided to cancel the technical writer and business analyst position that I interviewed for because of contract issues. Another company based in Tysons Corner, decided to cancel the solutions writer position because they lost their hiring manager to another company. Therefore, they had to restructure their entire staff and freeze their hiring process.

    Back in January, I had a permanent offer with another major government contractor in Fairfax VA, but the offer letter never came through from the recruiter because the position they offered me was going to expire in 3 months. The company said that they will find me another project. Unfortunately, that project never came through. Therefore, because of contract funding issues, I was laid off before I can start the new job.

    I really don’t know what to do folks. Nothing seems to working out at all, and anytime a bad break occurs, it always happens to me. Therefore, I starting to believe that I had hit rock bottom on my job search.

    Do you folks have any suggestions on how should I approach my career search? I am still interested in finding a full time opportunity in technical writing, business analyst, web development proposal writing, and technical analyst positions. I apply to those jobs on every job board website, but it hasn’t worked for me at all.

    At this point, getting networking contacts via social media is the best option for me in terms of getting a full time opportunity. Your help and kindly tips will be greatly appreciated.

    • chandlee says:

      Tom,

      It sounds like it is a very bad time in your industry as a whole. Is there anyway you can set yourself up as a consultant or contract worker and work your way back in that way?

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

      • Chandlee,

        I can easily get a contract or consulting job, but the problem is that employers don’t value contract jobs that are short term. (such as 1-6 months) I would like to go back to contracting, but it has a year or longer. I already took a short term contract last year in Rockville, and I thought it will lead me to a full time job very quickly after the contract ended. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and I’m still looking for work 10 months later.

        On the bright side, I had a job interview last Friday in Fairfax VA. The interview itself went really well and the company was very pleased on my experiences and questions that I asked during the interview. I’m just hoping for the best and keeping my fingers crossed!!

        • chandlee says:

          Tom,

          Thanks for the update, additional information, and please do keep us posted. Because experience can be expensive for employers — sadly enough — it can take experienced hires longer than it should to find that next opportunity.

          Please keep us posted and thank you for stopping back by.

          All the Best,
          Chandlee

          • Bad news Chandlee. The job interview that I had 2 weeks ago in Fairfax VA took another bad turn for the worst. I got rejected because the company selected another experienced candidate. I did ask the recruiter why I didn’t get selected, and she said that I seemed very nervous during the interview so that you seemed to misunderstand/misinterpret some of the questions so that they did not get the types of answers they were looking for in some cases.

            At this point folks, I have nearly exhausted all resources and lost all of my confidence on my job search. However, I have to admit, that I get really nervous on in-person job interviews that has 3 or more people interviewing me at the same time.

          • chandlee says:

            Tom,

            First of all, I am sorry that the job did not work out.

            If you are in Northern Virginia, I recommend that you join a job search club. You can find a directory of them here, I believe there are several strong ones in Northern Virginia.

            There’s also a strong Job Search Group in Bethesda, Maryland which offers smaller group practice programs. You can brush up on your interviewing skills and get some strategies for group interviews. (You are not alone in finding that they are difficult.)

            You can do this. Hang in and keep us posted.

            Best,
            Chandlee

  26. I started my job search before graduating college in 2010. I have a BS degree in criminology, and I want to be a lawyer. Now I have done a few internships (non pay) at a few law firms in Miami and Tampa. I also had my resume redone numerous times by my college’s careerservice department, friends who are employed and family. I must have sent over 200 applications to different law firms, and in July of 2011 I was offered a job at a law firm in Tampa.

    After a month’s time I was fired from my supervisor because I could not follow directions, even though I was asking for help when needed. I’m 23 years old and I have never felt so humiliated before. I finished the year with an AA in paralegal studies thinking that would improve my job opportinities, I was wrong.

    I have been to temp agencies and every firm in my area applying for job that I felt qualified for, and was to get a few interview calls. But at the interviews, employers were judging me because I was young and a minority. They didn’t ask me about my education background or skills, just my experience, which I still feel I am lacking. I even applied to jobs requiring testing and I pass, but still get rejection emails or no no return phone calls.

    I am in student loan debt (both private and federal) so I need to find work. I can’t afford to go back to school with all the fees needed for testing and applying, plus waiting for a decision. This happened to me this year because I was rejected from two law schools. I am not married or have children but I do want build a future with my girlfriend that allows me to financially stable. I have exhausted my resources, so I am in serious need of help. I am doing this all by myself.

    • chandlee says:

      Oh Keith,

      There’s nothing harder or more frustrating than a dream deferred is there? That sounds very challenging.

      My recommendation is a hard one to offer — and one that I would seek outside counsel (in addition to our site) on: I recommend that you perhaps explore other opportunities outside of the legal field.

      I think it’s highly likely that the reason you are not getting a call back has NOTHING to do with your being a minority and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that it’s been a very difficult labor market for lawyers and especially recent law school graduates. There are literally thousands of newly-minted JDs in the U.S. who are working for free! And many of those students owe more than $100,000 for their law school educations.

      At the same time, there are also hundreds of jobs in different fields that require the same skills as lawyers — take jobs that involve regulatory compliance and following regulations, for example. Or on the math side — forensic accounting. If I were you, I would seek to have conversations with fellow graduates of your undergraduate school program in Criminology. Educate yourself about some of the alternative jobs they have and how they found them.

      While it’s hard to give up on a dream, you may not have to in the long run. But after 200 tries, it rarely hurts to open up your options and expand the potential playing field.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  27. Hi ,

    This is an amazing write up posted by you. But as you said it the doubt still lingers in my mind if I ‘ll ever be able to find a job for myself. Completed Master’s at a prestigious Univ in US of A but had to delay the graduation because of the recession . I had so much hope for myself that I’d get an interview call and used to wake up with that hope everyday .But later on as time passed by we were told that international students are not being recruited because of the current situation. After spending four years in US of A and the graduation delayed by 2 years all you feel is like losing the hope of getting a job. But had come back to my home country and started looking for jobs and the question posed why delay in graduation and what is your real time experience. have been working in a small organization for an year and half in my home country but when I ‘d want to shift the job the answer is this does not count for real time experience for a prestigious company as us. I’d want so badly to get into my dream job but I feel like all the paths are closing in on me. When I see friends and family of my age and who are the undergraduates getting placed , I lose my confidence . Many things are attached to getting into the job. Hope some day I see the light at the end of this dark tunnel . Please suggest me some ways out of this. My friends say that I should be looking into the consultancies that provide me the fake experience certificate that the companies ask for as my organization is not providing me with any work experience certificate and even though they give it all the reputed companies have a chance to say that this is not real time experience. Please suggest me any ideas out of this situation.

    Thanks

    Sneha.

    • Sneha,

      Never ever fake your work experience or misrepresent what you can do. A reputation is a terrible thing to risk. Just look at the CEO of Yahoo! who recently lost his job for over-exaggerating how many computer science courses he took as an undergraduate.

      I recommend studying up on companies in your country who have offices in the U.S. — or who are opening offices there. (If the U.S. is where you want to be.) Apply to those companies and leverage your in-country experience in the U.S. Often this helps people get visas in the long run. Focus as much on learning a field and networking in that field than you do worrying about your job search — it’s not the big picture that matters here, it’s how you can carve out a place that fits you.

      Hang in there and good luck,
      Chandlee

  28. I have been out of work since relocating back closer to family in 2010. I spent 17 years in Boston and now reside in Missouri. I have an associates degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelors degree in business and over 15 years administrative experience. I literally apply for 10 plus jobs a DAY with no luck. I either never get a phone call or I go on the interview only to be told they’ve selected someone else. I have been living on the last of my tax return and school money, and am out of options at this point. I have two small children so I have to find something with daycare hours, and there seems to be NOTHING else I can do. I have a strong work ethic, I don’t get nervous in interviews, I have tailored and re-tailored my resume with no luck. I had one job but it was a temp job and after the birth of my son they decided to not bring me back on and I just can’t seem to find anything. I have my resume with every company, every temp agency, and there just isn’t anything I can do. It is frustrating and very disheartening to me and I feel as if I’ve wasted my time and money even getting those degrees as they do NOTHING for me. What else can I do? I’ve gone to my local career center, placed my resume online, with every temp agency, and still nothing – ??

  29. Hi, i’m 29 years old, went from school right into work, never really had a direction of what i wanted to do.
    I thought retail, as i’m best at talking to people. I’ve had all kinds of jobs, from my first one, constructing beds, i was there 3 months and let go, after making mistakes when making the bed panels.
    I’ve also worked at a cheque cashing company, i did well, i’m great with customers as i my manager pointed out too. But i wasn’t so good at other aspects of the job and i got told off about when there wasn’t any work, i didn’t actively start cleaning or finding something to do until i needed to serve a customer. I was let go from there after 3 months too. I’ve also worked in a pub, again was let go after 3 months. I do a good customer service, work well in a team and on my own and i’m an outgoing guy. Most of my orders were fine, but i made the odd mistake like not asking for the table number of the customer, because they blurted out their order so quick….most of the time, i asked them for their table number, other times forgot because they said their order and i ended up listening.
    I’ve also worked in admin roles, but i couldn’t hit the hourly targets and i suffer with dry eyes, so don’t like looking at a computer 8 hours a day. Another admin job i had, they showed me what to do, i made notes and they made notes for me, it was as a sales administrator. But it just didn’t click. It didn’t come natural to me and it was taking longer to pick up than they wanted. They let me go after a week.

    So although socially, i’m a confident, outgoing person who is positive. In jobs, i’m not as confident, maybe because i haven’t got the freedom and i’m given tasks to do and sometimes i’m fine with them but other times, i try and i make notes, but i can’t hit the target or i make mistakes or forget things. I lose my concentration in some repetive jobs.

    As i said my best skill is customer service, but it’s hard to get a job in retail now.
    and my last job was in july 2012…… since then i’ve had another, but it only lasted a week.
    Because even though they liked me and i’m very sociable and get on easily with people. I struggle to complete even simple tasks or hit targets.
    At times, at home i can get distracted too and don’t always do what i was meant too get done and i end up going online instead of doing something useful.

    So now i’m at the point where i think, what can i actually do. As employers want someone who is brilliant and can hit the ground running but i can struggle with jobs.

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