Why Can’t I Find a Job? 16 Common Reasons

why cant i find a job

If you’ve been job searching for more than a month and haven’t gotten the results you want, this article is going to help you answer “Why can’t I find a job?”

Go through the scenarios below, decide which one describes your situation best, and read what you need to do to fix it and get hired!

“Why Can’t I Find a Job?”

Problem 1: I’m not getting any phone calls or interviews

If you’re sending out your resume, filling out applications and not hearing back, here are the potential issues…

1. You’re not tailoring your resume. Companies receive a ton of applications for most jobs. Your resume is not going to stand out unless you customize it a bit. Do this and you’ll get at least double the amount of responses.

2. You’re not customizing your cover letter or submission email. Pick one or two things that caught your eye about the company and made you excited to apply. Relate your own skills to that and talk about how you can help them.

3. You’re not applying for enough jobs. I have friends who are desperate to find a job and then tell me they’re sending out less than five applications per week. Not enough. Not even close. You can check out this case study if you want a great method to apply for jobs quickly and easily online.

4. If you’re applying for jobs in a new state or city, make sure you’re putting the right thing on your resume. Otherwise you might be scaring companies off.

5. If you have a big gap in employment, you need to address it. Write them a cover letter or note explaining the situation. It’s a lot better than not saying anything at all. You might even be able to explain it right on your resume.

Problem 2: I’m getting turned down (or not hearing back) after the first interview

If you’re getting invited for a few phone interviews, your resume is probably okay.

So lets talk about the first interview…

1. Pick something specific that you’re targeting in your job search, and figure out how it relates to this company. Companies want to make sure you’ve thought about your job search and know what you’re looking for. Now you have a great answer if they ask “why do you want to work here?”

2. Do some research and know what the company does, how they make money, when they were founded, etc. This will help you with the initial questions they usually ask… like “what do you know about us?” You’ll seem way more prepared overall.

3. If you were fired or laid off, prepare to explain that.  A weak explanation might be a deal-breaker. (and don’t ever blame coworkers or past employers, just be accountable and show what you’ve learned from the experience, and that you’re ready for your next challenge).

4. Make sure you can clearly explain the job changes you’ve made in the past. I had a friend recently ask me: “Is it a sign of an inexperienced interviewer when they ask you to walk them through your resume?” Good question but the answer is No. They want to see how YOU explain it. And they want to hear the things that can’t be found on the resume, like why you moved from company to company. Or what made you decide to start working in this area. So, tighten the story up and make sure it’s succinct.

5. If it’s not anything above stopping you, it’s how you’re describing your qualifications- past work, experience, education, etc. Be clear and specific about what you’ve done in the past. Have numbers, stories and examples to share and sound excited about it! And any time you can show advancement (like receiving a promotion), do it.

Problem 3: I’m getting through multiple interviews, but no job offer

Okay if you’ve made it this far. You’re very close. Here are a few things to look at…

1. You’re not tailoring your answers enough. To get hired for competitive jobs, being impressive in general isn’t enough. You really need to look at the job description, and think about how your skills fit into THEIR NEEDS. This is what the company cares most about. So when they’re asking about your skills, try to present it as how you can help them, or how you can solve their problems.

2. You’re not asking good questions. Make sure you’re asking at least one or two questions to each person you interview with. Not asking questions in the interview is a dead giveaway that you either don’t care very much, or are willing to take any job you get because you’re desperate. Here are 105 good questions to ask in the interview.

3. You’re not showing interest and following up. Companies want someone who is excited to work for them and interested in the opportunity. This means you should be following up and sending “Thank You” emails after each interview. You spend hours applying for jobs, going on interviews, etc. Don’t skip a five minute step that could be the difference in whether you get hired or not.

4. References. Companies don’t check references until they’re pretty sure they want to hire you. If you’re getting to this point and not getting hired, the references you’re providing may be the problem. A lot of people give references without ever finding out what they’re going to say. I’ve gotten on the phone to check references and had them say “I wouldn’t hire that person again”. So don’t just ask people if they’ll be a reference for you… ask if they’re comfortable being a POSITIVE reference.

5. Salary… Are you saying an extremely high number and scaring companies off? Check Glassdoor’s salary estimator tool or ask some close colleagues or friends if you’re not sure. Or use my favorite line when they ask what you’re looking to make: “My priority is to find the best-fitting position for my career. After that, I’m willing to consider any offer you feel is fair.”

6. Keep going, it may just be bad luck. Good companies get a lot of applicants. It’s possible you did everything right, got to the end of the process with a few other candidates, and the company had to make a tough choice and went with someone else. The good news is that if you made it through multiple interviews, you did almost everything correctly and you’re very close to getting hired!

Update: If you’re going on interviews right now, I’ve created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. Sound interesting? You can check out the details here.

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16 reasons why you can't find a job

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Leave a Comment:

2 comments
Laura says August 18, 2016

I’ve done #1, #2, #3, and #5 in the first section and I’m still not getting interviews. How do I explain my job gaps when they’re from being unemployed? Why can’t I just say “I was looking for work” to explain them?

Reply
    Biron says August 23, 2016

    Hi Laura,

    You can just say “I was looking for work”. That’s fine. Being unemployed happens, and job hunting while unemployed is a good reason for a gap.

    How big are the gaps? Is it more than one gap?

    Are you applying for jobs that are a reasonable fit for your skills as well?

    Reply
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