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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


Do you think that your job search is taking a long time because of the economy, covid, the applicant tracking system algorithms or the number of people competing for a specific position?

I don’t think they aren’t the real reasons you don’t have a job yet.

And even if they ARE contributing to the problem, you have NO CONTROL over them.


Continuing to feel victimized by those factors robs you of the power that you do have regardless of those circumstances.

You have to take charge of what you can control.

Here are the 3 main reasons, that you CAN control, that your job search is taking longer than it has to and what you can do about it.


  • What you are doing:

    • You think that you have to cast a wide net so you don’t miss any opportunities.

    • You are applying for all types of jobs, in any industry, that are in any way connected to your experience.

    • You haven’t taken the time to define the specific type of role you are best suited for in an industry you care about that makes sense in your career trajectory.

  • Why it’s a problem:

    • Companies are extremely concerned about retention.

    • You can’t know enough about every industry and position to be able to convey, in a compelling way:

      • Why you are a good fit.

      • That you understand the industry and the environment in which a company operates.

      • Why you are invested in the company’s mission.

    • These are the things that companies look for, and many times they are more important than the sophistication of your skills.

  • The solution:

    • Choose the type of position you want. Be specific.

      • HR is too general - do you want to be a recruiter, benefits manager, or learning and development manager?

    • Choose the industry you are interested in.

      • Again, be specific - Health Care is too general - do you want to work for hospitals, insurance companies, telehealth or wellness apps?

    • Do research and learn about the business models of those companies, know how they make money, who the thought leaders are, what obstacles and challenges the industry faces, who are the competitors in the space, etc.

    • Know how the role you want contributes to the above issues.

    • Distinguish yourself from the competition when you speak with your network and/or interview, by showing your knowledge and passion for the company and industry in addition to your hard and soft skills.

    • Extra points if you can speak to relevant experience in the industry and/or have an internal advocate to vouch for your interest and knowledge.


  • What you are doing: You keep:

    • Tweaking your resume and your Linkedin profile.

    • Learning new skills.

    • Applying to more jobs.

    • Constantly changing and customizing your cover letters or other outreach communications.

  • Why it’s a problem: You might be making a good resume better. An extra skill might make you a better candidate. Better communications and more outreaches and applications may be better than what you are doing now. BUT - while there is a difference between good and better:

    • It is hard to discern when prospective employers are reviewing hundreds of resumes.

    • It is very subjective.

    • Most importantly, this is what everyone is doing.

  • The solution: Do something different, that no one else is doing.

    • “Different” is more compelling and noticeable than merely “better”.

      • When the iphone first came out it was different from other mobile phones and got everyone’s attention. MIllions of people bought one. But nowadays, nowhere near as many people are excited about or even pay attention to the subsequent iterations of the iphone UNLESS it does something very NEW and DIFFERENT, not merely a little better - like longer battery life or improved security.

    • Brainstorm ways to be different from most other job seekers.

      • Send a video of yourself answering the most often asked interview questions along with your resume.

      • Offer to do a project for free to show your skills.

      • Volunteer for a company you want to work for and use every opportunity to convert that to a paying job.

      • Create and submit a powerpoint pitch deck about how you can solve a problem a company is having.

      • Do a sample project for the company and send it in with your resume.

        • For example, write a blog post that you would write for a specific company if you were applying for a digital marketing role.


  • What you are doing: You tell companies, in your resume and other communications, what you have done, the skills you have that correspond to the ones they list on the job description, and how you would use them in the specific position.

  • Why it’s a problem: Companies don’t hire you to “do work”. They hire you to get results that affect their bottom line, whether through finding efficiencies and cost cutting opportunities, freeing up someone else to generate income or generating income directly.

  • The solution:

    • Know how the company you are talking to makes money. Understand their business model.

    • Understand how the role you are applying for contributes to that, directly or indirectly.

    • Communicate what RESULTS you can produce for their bottom line.

      • Example: If you are working in customer service, you don’t want to just explain how you resolve customer complaints, or even the number of complaints you can successfully handle. You need to show how your skills will increase customer retention and inspire repeat business which will increase profits not just because of additional purchases, but because repeat business is even more profitable than new business because there are no new customer acquisition costs.

If you can correct any or all of these issues then you will be the one who stands out.

  • You will be the one a company notices in the first place.

  • You will be the one a company believes is not a flight risk.

  • You will be the one that a company thinks will help them make more money.

YOU WILL BE THE ONE THEY HIRE and my guess is they will do it SOONER THAN LATER!

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