So you finished school, got your degree and you’re excited to use it. But what happens when you can’t find a job in your field? I’m going to show you 11 things you can do right away.

Sit back, relax, grab a notepad so you remember all of this, and then scroll down to get started.

I Can’t Find A Job In My Field. What To Do?

1. Take a closer look at your resume

If you just put your skills and experience on your resume and sent it off, chances are you’re not going to hear back or get interviews. Why? Because everyone else is doing the same thing. You need to put in extra effort to stand out or you won’t get noticed.

So make sure you’re tailoring your resume to fit the employer’s needs. It’s much easier than most people think if you use the method I explain in that link.

Also make sure your resume has as many facts, numbers and specific accomplishments as possible. Not just general statements.

2. Take a closer look at your cover letters/emails you’re sending

Once you’ve checked your resume, do the same for the cover letters you’re sending.

Cover letters are important and one of the first things you should check when you can’t find a job in your field.

What should your cover letter have in it? Here’s the basic idea…

Don’t make it about you. Don’t make it some long letter about your life story. Sure, you should have some of that mixed in. But the cover letter needs to be about how you can help them.

Talk about what you read on their website, on the job posting, etc. What are their needs?  Talk about how you can come in and immediately solve some of their problems, help make them money (or save them money), etc.

If you do this you will stand out from 90% of the other applicants, and you will have a much easier time finding a job in your field.

3. Make sure the jobs you’re applying for fit your experience and skills

This is one of the things I mention in my top reasons you can’t find a job. If you are applying for jobs that are too far outside of what you’re qualified for, it doesn’t matter how good your resume is. You aren’t going to hear back.

Test this by applying for some jobs that are lower level than what you’ve been looking for. You don’t have to accept those jobs, it’s just a test. But if you find that all of a sudden you’re getting a lot of calls and interviews, it’s a sign that they might be a better fit for your level.

If you’re looking to get that first job in your field, getting your foot in the door is more important than starting salary. You can earn more money as you go, but you need to get that first position. So keep an open mind while testing the market.

4. Improve your interview skills

If your resume is good and cover letter is good, and you’re applying for jobs that are a reasonable fit, you should be getting interviews.

That’s only half the battle though. You need to go in ready to impress them. You need to be more impressive than the competition. And usually, there’s a lot of competition for the average job out there.

I recommend you check out this article of my best tips before and during the interview. It will help you get job offers immediately. It’s based on everything I learned as a recruiter for 5+ years.

5. Think outside the box

I recently wrote this article for Huffington Post. I’d highly recommend taking a look. It’ll give you four ways to think outside the box and side-step the competition in your job search.

Here’s what’s inside:

  • How to get job offers from companies that don’t appear to be hiring
  • How to network at meetups and events to land a job faster
  • What relocating can do for your career and how to test whether it’s right for you
  • How to quickly and easily create videos to send along with your resume (you will immediately stand out if you do this)

Go ahead and check it out now, you’ll definitely find at least one idea you can use right away.

6. Make sure your social media profiles and LinkedIn look professional

Employers almost always look. People are going to search for you on LinkedIn, whether or not you plan on using LinkedIn to find a job.

Also make sure your Twitter and Facebook accounts are clean as well. Remove anything that could be seen as offensive, rude, or too opinionated.

7. Talk to friends and network

If your friends and former classmates don’t know you’re job searching, they can’t help you. Don’t beg for help but do make sure people know you’re looking (and what you’re looking for).

Try to help them too. If you see a company that’s hiring for a position one of your friends is looking for, tell them. That way they’ll keep you in mind for the same. Or they might even discover that the same company has a job for you too.

8. Talk to professors and colleagues

If you’re a recent graduate looking to find that first job in your field, make sure to ask your professors for help. They’re usually connected to a few employers one way or another. If not, they can at least offer some advice or write you a letter of recommendation.

Most professors want to help you, and it makes your school look better if more people are finding jobs in their field after graduating. But if you don’t ask, they can’t help.

9. Think about related fields and similar areas

When you can’t find a job in your field, it might just be a sign that your search is too narrow. Think about related areas. Are there other jobs or fields that would use your education and experience, but aren’t the typical job every person with your background goes into? If so, you might find less competition there.

So look around on Google and search for the different types of jobs that people with your education or experience can do. You might be surprised at what you find.

You can ask for advice on your career options and potential career paths on reddit as well. Their career advice section is usually pretty good and people are helpful in general.

10. Don’t get discouraged

When people come to me and say they’re struggling to find a job and getting discouraged, I always say the same thing…

Forget the past. Forget all the statistics. You only need one job.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve interviewed for 50 jobs without a job offer. It doesn’t matter if you sent 200 resumes without hearing back. You just need one. One single job. Follow the steps above, don’t give up, and you’ll find it.

In the end, what does it matter if you got interviews from 50% of your applications or 7%?

Once you find a single job, this is all over. So don’t get discouraged by past statistics, and don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other people.

That’s the fastlane to getting upset and discouraged, and possibly giving up. Focus on that next application you send or that next interview. You only need one to go well.

11. Remember, you’re not stuck in one field or one career path

Here’s the reality…

I don’t want you to read this and think I’m telling you to give up on finding a job in your field. I’m not.

But the truth is that there are a ton of great careers out there that require some sort of degree (usually), but no particular field of study. So if you can’t find a job in your field and you’re getting frustrated, remember there are other options out there.

I majored in Finance but ended up becoming a Recruiter in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. I knew nothing about science, I just took the job and learned.

But I ended up being paid very well as a recruiter, talking to Ph.D. Scientists and learning an incredible amount about that industry.

There are many other jobs like this where you can get in on the ground floor without any particular education and eventually earn 6 figures. By “eventually” I mean 5-10 years if you stay focused.

So here are some other ideas of careers that almost anyone can get into:

  • Sales
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • PR
  • Writing (copywriting, technical writing, etc.)
  • Operations management
  • HR
  • Recruiting

There are many more too.

Obviously, if you want to be a Nurse you need the appropriate degree. If you want to be an Accountant you probably need one too.

But for the vast majority of successful people out there, if you ask whether they use their education or degree, they’ll say “No.”

The most successful salesperson at one of my past jobs earned $1 million per year (yes, working on commission in sales can be incredibly lucrative), and he had a degree in English. The second best guy had a degree in History I think.

So focus on getting an entry level job in a company with good leadership and strong growth. You’ll be in a growing environment and can get promoted quickly.

You might join as an associate, learn the ropes, and then move into Project Management once you understand their system. Or you might join as an assistant in Operations and then become a Manager and then a Director. Those are just examples. There are a lot of other paths you can take with any degree.

Remember you’re not trapped.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Biron Clark

About the Author

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23 thoughts on “What To Do When You Can’t Find a Job In Your Field – 11 Smart Ideas”

  1. Just pointing out here as someone in mid-30s who is just… generally unsuited to work where the work is social in nature… your entire list of jobs in the last point of jobs “almost anyone can get into”… are jobs that I personally would be both miserable in and very very bad at… and probably couldn’t actually get into.

    Speaking of not getting into jobs, social class plays a role in the networking aspect of that, and most networking advice is pretty useless for people (like this person here) who don’t come from the same social background as the professional fields they are applying for.

  2. Good article. I am in the aviation industry with one year of experience. Applied to so many jobs and results are zero. Nobody wants to hire people who don’t have much experience. It’s a catch 22 situation; You won’t be hired cos you don’t have experience and you can’t get experience unless you get a job. It’s a very tough market and I would disparage anyone to not get into aviation, unless – the market you are in really has a lot of opportunities, or you are very passionate about aviation, but then again passion doesn’t feed the stomach. So consider everything and get into it at your own peril. I have already wasted so much money and close to 2 years of my life studying to get a Masters in this field. BIG mistake and lots of regret. I’m now looking to get into something else but frankly don’t have any idea what I should get into. The world is complex; there are so many kinds of work; and it is precisely why it’s paralyzing. I fear what if whatever I choose now turns out to be a waste of time and money too, putting me deeper into the rabbit hole.

    • This happened to me as a social worker. They want experience, but you need a job first to gain experience. I was jobless for around 1 yr and I can understand what you’re going through. Never lose your faith and keep trying until you get a job. And be resilient too. Good hunting mate!!

  3. I have been trying to get a job doing program evaluations for affordable housing in the greater Seattle area. I graduated almost a year ago from graduate school. I have applied to hundreds of jobs. I have been to so many interviews I have now lost count. I would say 50% of my interviews go onto the second or third rounds. I am networking, doing about 3 informational interviews a week and I always customize every resume and cover letter.

    My first week out of grad school I had 2 final interviews and I didn’t get either. This week was the same. I have brought samples of my work and even started working on some of the issues I would be working on to show my commitment. It seems like no matter what I do, nothing works. There is always someone better.

    I am at my wits end. I would appreciate any advise you have for me beyond your tips you posted.

  4. “So here are some other ideas of careers that almost anyone can get into:”

    Every single listing I’ve seen for everything you’ve listed requires a specific degree and three years experience, with the exception of sales, where they want 6 years experience for an entry-level minimum wage position.

    • I’ve succeeded as both a writer and a recruiter with no prior experience. And that’s just me. If nothing’s working for you, then part of it falls on what you’re doing and the actions you’re taking. Sorry if that comes across as a bit blunt, but the advice I posted above has worked for a lot of job seekers who cannot find a job in their field, and I’ve followed it myself successfully.

  5. Regarding your list of “ideas of careers that almost anyone can get into” – it’s extremely insulting to people who actually are in those careers that you merit the fields as so “easy” that “almost anyone” can get those jobs. Can’t find a neurosurgeon job? No problem, just go become an HR rep.!

    • I’m a blogger and anyone could start a blog in one day. It doesn’t mean they’ll advance/succeed. And it certainly doesn’t bother me that anyone can start doing it. Take pride in being good at your job, not getting accepted in. Then my comments won’t bother you.

      The simple fact is: Some jobs ARE easier to get accepted into, while others are more competitive and difficult to get hired for.

  6. None of this has worked. Sales and marketing and such are not real jobs. People need a real steady paycheck. The reason those jobs are always hiring and will hire anybody is because no one stays. They are crappy jobs.

    • There are sales/marketing jobs that are scams, but there are also great jobs to be had in those fields. Be careful about writing off an entire field of work like that.

      You should definitely avoid anything that’s 100% commission or has any upfront costs to join. Never pay them to start.

      But sales is one of the best fields of work. Period. There are very few other areas where you can make 6 figures or 7 figures (yes, more than 1 million a year) with just a Bachelor’s degree. I’ve seen this first hand and know for a fact this can be done… particularly in B2B inside sales (phone sales). So yes – there are crappy jobs out there in EVERY field. But there are incredible jobs in sales/marketing so be careful about generalizing or making assumptions.

  7. Thanks for the ideas. I will try some of these ideas; I’ve been doing a cover letter and resume, but usually since I have so much experience in different areas I end up going over what is already on my resume. I probably should focus more on the job description; I’ve been doing that more for the cover letter, but not the resume. It can be frustrating. I remember 2008 and this isn’t like that, but still feel like I should be getting more call backs (just was laid off around 12/1).

  8. This article is the classic false expectactions article about finding a job. I am young, I have a Master’s degree in STEM, no criminal record and not a single job application I sent was successful. It’s easier to go to a dating app and find someone with money to marry.

  9. Ten years in sales ( 7 in Medical Sales) and I have tried unsuccessfully to change careers. I can’t get an entry level job. I just completed my MS in Marketing and I feel like I’ve wasted 2years and thousands of dollars.
    Every job board (Indeed, Glassdoor & Zip Recruiter) I visit contains the same jobs that reposted from another career site.

  10. How does any of the above magically make jobs appear when there are none? Being a software dev and taking a job in a place like Monroe was a huge mistake. Relocated my kids lives and 4 years later laid off. Nothing in this article will magically help when there simply isn’t a job opening in your field in your area.

    • Brian,

      You’re right – I’m not offering a magic solution.

      And if that’s what you’re hoping for, you’ll be disappointed with any advice you get.

      Maybe relocating was a mistake. What are your options now? Can you relocate again? Can you try to find a company that’ll help pay for this if they hire you?

      Or maybe you can find remote work. That’s becoming more common, and software development is definitely one of the areas it’s happening in.

      There’s no magic solution out there for you – here or anywhere else. You have to get yourself out of this. I’m only trying to help.

    • I am a 57 year old registered pharmacist. My department at a PBM was closed last year due to restructuring. I had gotten a part-time job in retail for 6 months but then the store was sold and they no longer needed me. I am having the hardest time finding any positions. I get interviews, but then no job offers. I can’t decide if it is the profession (students now graduate with Pharm D) or my age. So very frustrating! People are very inconsiderate and do not even get back to you. Any suggestions are welcome!

  11. “So focus on getting an entry level job in a company…….”

    That’s the trick. You’ll probably need a business-related or technical degree to get that entry level job.

  12. I am fed up with companies requiring a Bachelors degree to answer phones as a receptionist. I have an Associates degree with 20 years experience. But I am beat out time and time again due to no Bachelors degree.

  13. I can’t find a job in my field after graduating and it’s been 7 months.

    This article gave me a new perspective and a few new things to try before giving up, so thank you for sharing.

  14. I can’t find a job in HR at all. I live in NYC and there are on average 100 applicants for each job. I have tried applying to other parts of the country too – it looks like HR is a saturated field. If I don’t find a job soon, I”m going to change careers out of lack of options. I have a Masters degree in HR, a PHR certification and over 15 years HR experience, mostly from Europe. I have been looking on and off for 9 years now.

    • Wow, you have a lot of experience in HR. I have a Master’s in Health Care and Human Resources Management. I have been looking for a job in HR forever. I thought I can’t get a job because I lack experience. Good luck, hopefully you will find something soon!

  15. Biron, I agree with you on all the 11 ideas listed here! As it happens, I also graduated in Sales and Marketing and ended up in HR (which was a blessing). I took the same approach you’ve advised here and what has worked for me, looking back, is networking and speaking the recruiter’s lingo! Cover letters don’t get a closer look if they don’t pass the system. That’s why job descriptions websites are tremendously helpful as well as salary sites (i.e. to be confident with how much should you ask for. Not everybody is good with networking, though, but sites like this exact one often offer more support and advice than imagined. Glad to have found this!

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