7 Reasons You are Still Unemployed

by Kevin on March 30, 2009

I work in the staffing industry and see a lot of resumes every single day. I talk to a bunch of folks looking for jobs whether they are unemployed or just looking for that next career move. Today I thought I would address unemployment as it has hit 10% in certain areas of the country (ouch!).

Seven Reasons You are Still Unemployed

  1. Your salary expectations are too high.
  2. Your personal network is underdeveloped.
  3. Your resume is too short/too long.
  4. You are waiting for the perfect job.
  5. You are applying to jobs you are unqualified for (the shotgun approach).
  6. You live in an economic disaster area.
  7. You get overly nervous during interviews.

1. Your salary expectations are too high.

I bet many of you would honestly be surprised how many people I speak with that have unrealistic pay expectations. Obviously firms pay differently for the same position. Some firms have great benefits, but don’t pay as much. Others are extremely stressful and thus pay a bit more.

The problem people run into is when they get laid off from a company that pays well above the market average. You’ll find someone making $75,000 that is only “worth” $50,000 in the market.  The bottom line is if your pay expectations are too high you need to adjust quickly to land that next job.

Also run the math on how much money you are missing out every week you go unemployed. Each week increases the amount you need to make once you do land a job. The faster you land employment the better.

2. Your personal network is underdeveloped.

This is a personal fault of mine. My personal network when I got out of college was not very strong. Then I moved cities which weakened it even further. To be completely honest when I moved here I know my fiancee (now wife) and maybe two other people that also happened to be her friends. My network was very weak.

Statistics show that about two-thirds of all people get a job through their network rather than through a job board or job posting. Two-thirds. That’s a lot of people.

Make an assessment of your network. Reach out to those old co-workers. Start going to local networking events. But keep the golden rule of networking handy: give first, get later. The more you help others the more your name will be out in your community and industry.

3. Your resume is too short/too long.

I’ve seen candidates with 15+ years of experience with a resume shorter than this bullet point. Seriously. Then again I’ve seen one resume that was 17 pages long.

Your resume shouldn’t be too short or too long. Like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, it should be just right. What is just right for your industry? I don’t know. Isn’t that helpful? We typically see resumes that are two to four pages long that contain a lot of detail to be just right. In others one page may be just fine. While you are developing your network you might ask around and see what others say.

4. You are waiting for the perfect job.

It isn’t out there. Trust me. There are some jobs that are great — great benefits, great pay, great environment, and a product you believe in to boot. But the people in those jobs aren’t leaving anytime soon.

This ties in with the salary expectations. Tone down your list of “must-haves” for a job. In this economy you simply can’t afford to wait.

5. You are applying to jobs you are unqualified for (the shotgun approach).

This is an utter waste of your precious job-hunting time. I’ve had retail cashier’s apply to be senior level managers. You are not only wasting your own time, you are wasting the time of the company as well whether it be staffing or internal HR. Doing this guarantees your resume goes straight into the trash. Don’t do it.

6. You live in an economic disaster area.

In some areas unemployment has hit 10%. There is simply no way around staying unemployed if your city is falling apart. I would not want to be unemployed in Detroit right now. I don’t know anything specifically about the area job market in Detroit, but with the big three laying off people left and right the local economy is in the tank.

Your best bet to get past this one might honestly be to move if you can afford to.

7. You get overly nervous during interviews.

Sweat forms on your forehead. Pit-stains mar your shirts. Your hands are clammy when you shake the interviewer’s hand. (Honestly there is nothing worse than this. Please pass me the hand sanitizer.)

It’s just an interview. Chill. Out. Count down from 10 if you have to. Take a deep breath. Yes this is really important. It could pull you from the ranks of the unemployed. That’s big news, right? Sure, but if you bomb the interview because you are so nervous about landing the job that isn’t going to help.

I always tell my candidates this: they wouldn’t be interviewing you if they didn’t think you could be a good fit for the job. Period. Managers are busy. Really, really busy. They are not going to waste their time interviewing unqualified candidates. So congrats — you’re qualified. Use that as a source of confidence (do not read as cockiness!) in the interview.

And good luck… you’re going to need it.

Comments on this entry are closed.