23 Reasons Why You Can't Find A Job In 2023 (Plus Tips)

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Determining why you can't find a job is easier said than done. For many, it's a complete mystery that leaves them frustrated and unsure of what to improve on. This list of common reasons why you can't seem to find a job will help you become a more competitive applicant, and ultimately receive job offers. Not Getting Interviews or Calls After Applying. One of the most frustrating experiences you can have during your job search is not getting interviews or calls. After filling out an application and submitting your resume, it's nothing but radio silence. Why is this? If you can't find a job and are having trouble making it past this stage, there are several potential issues that could be a factor. 1. You Don't Have Proper Qualifications. Your basic qualifications are often the first things hiring managers scrutinize when considering... Read more

Celebrate National Nurses Month - and the nurses who change lives

By VA Careers | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

As we begin National Nurses Month, VA proudly joins the American Nurses Association in celebrating our nurses far and wide. We commemorate our invaluable teammates and the positive impact they provide by recognizing that "VA Nurses Make a Difference" — the theme we're using to celebrate Nurses Month this year. By joining the nation's largest nursing corps, you can make an impact on the lives of our Veterans, and change your own life in the process. With extensive benefits and an emphasis on the work/life balance you've been looking for, all it takes is one application to turn your nursing job into a VA career. Incomparable benefits. We offer benefits beyond compare that can make a difference at any stage of your career. When you become a nurse at VA, you can: Work at any VA facility in the U.S. and some territories with one active license... Read more

6 Steps to Managing Your Job Search

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

To find your next job you'll need a process. There are six steps to managing your job search you'll want to follow. You'll learn how to create a strategy to help land the right job. The trouble with job search is that no one teaches you HOW to do it. And even if you did learn how to run a successful job search, some things have changed. Today's Job Search. Years ago, job search started by drafting a resume. (This was back when you had to type your resume and submit it through the mail.) Today, you use online applications and everything needs to be catered to the jobs you are applying to. Here's why you shouldn't start your job search by writing a resume. In order to craft a resume, you need to understand and include the skills employers are... Read more

How to make the most of your job references

By VA Careers | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

We've shared plenty about resumes and cover letters, but the third part of any good application package is always your references. References are people who will speak on your behalf to hiring managers; they are the people who can vouch for who you are and what you can do. When developing (or updating) your references, there are a few simple things you should keep in mind that will help you make the most of the list. Who makes a good reference? The advantage of preparing your references is that you can control who speaks to your potential employer. That may be current or former supervisors, co-workers, team members, current or former customers of the company, vendors or suppliers, or even people you have supervised. Whoever you ask to be a... Read more

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23 Reasons Why You Can't Find A Job In 2023 (Plus Tips)

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Determining why you can't find a job is easier said than done. For many, it's a complete mystery that leaves them frustrated and unsure of what to improve on.

This list of common reasons why you can't seem to find a job will help you become a more competitive applicant, and ultimately receive job offers.

Not Getting Interviews or Calls After Applying

One of the most frustrating experiences you can have during your job search is not getting interviews or calls. After filling out an application and submitting your resume, it's nothing but radio silence.

Why is this?

If you can't find a job and are having trouble making it past this stage, there are several potential issues that could be a factor.

You Don't Have Proper Qualifications

Your basic qualifications are often the first things hiring managers scrutinize when considering your application. They want to ensure that you have the necessary skills to succeed in the position. If you're not getting interviews or calls, you may simply not have the qualifications that employers are looking for from a new hire.

Moving forward in your job search, study the job description. Please read the post in its entirety and make sure you meet the minimum qualifications outlined before applying. If you don't have the company's desired experience, consider applying for a more entry-level position.

If none are available, you'll have to look elsewhere until you can meet those qualifications.

There are Mistakes in Your Resume or Application

Even minor errors in your resume or application can ruin your chances of getting a job. Hiring managers pay attention to those small details, and mistakes give off the impression that you're not serious or detail-oriented enough for the position.

Many job-seekers rarely update their resumes and then wonder why they can't find a job. If this is you, spend some time revising your resume and ensuring that it's 100 percent error-free.

Run it through spell and grammar checkers, reread every section, and have someone else proofread. Do the same when filling out the application to ensure that there are no mistakes that will cost you a job opportunity.

You Need to Expand Your Job Search

If you're hyper-focused on one position or industry, getting an offer will be significantly more difficult. Many more opportunities are available, so if you can't find a job you might want to broaden your search to find them.

Think about applying for jobs outside your industry. Focus on your skills and strengths to see what positions would benefit from your expertise. You likely qualify for more open jobs than you realize.

You can look at other industries to expand your skill set and gain unique work experience. Don't be afraid to look at more junior positions that help you build credibility and beef up your resume.

During your job search, use several resources. In addition to the popular job search websites, turn to your professional network, go to events, and see what other opportunities are available.

You Need to Spend More Time Trying to Find a Job

You can't expect to get a job after only a handful of applications. For many applicants that say they can't find a job, they're simply giving up too early! It takes time, and some job-seekers will spend months going through the grind until they receive an elusive offer.

Treat your job search like a full-time job. Create a schedule that holds you accountable. Set clear goals and work towards submitting as many applications as possible.

Don't stop there. It would help if you also prepared for potential interviews, research opportunities, and more.

Ideally, it's best to submit at least three applications per week. View your search as a job. Otherwise, you may invest less time than necessary to find your next big break.

You're Overlooking the Value of Networking

One of the biggest mistakes people make when searching for a new job is not taking advantage of their professional network. Online job listings are great, but landing your next opportunity may be about who you know. Networking is paramount; you should utilize professional connections to see what's out there.

Reach out to former colleagues or employers. Put out feelers and share the specifics of the work you are looking for. You can even attend networking events to meet people in person.

Make it known that you're looking for a job, and be vocal about where you want your career to go. You'd be surprised by how often people get jobs through networking alone. If you're not using your connections, you're missing out!

Your Industry Has a Highly Competitive Job Market

Sometimes, a lack of calls and interviews comes down to competition. If you're in a highly competitive field and it seems like you can't get a job, countless qualified individuals may be vying for the same positions as you.

The best thing you can do is take steps to make yourself stand out among your competitors. That involves beefing up your qualifications and offering something unique to employers.

Try improving your credentials. You can take classes or obtain certifications for in-demand skills or proficiencies. Many job-seekers in competitive fields also diversify their portfolios by taking on leadership roles or large projects.

Anything you can do to make your resume more compelling can make a difference.

Your Resume Doesn't Stand Out

Here's an issue that could impact your chances of finding a job regardless of the market's competitiveness. Even if you're a highly qualified candidate, a generic or unappealing resume does you no favors.

Hiring managers aren't impressed with generic resumes or ones that simply list job duties. Your experience doesn't stand out unless you write about what you accomplished.

The best fix to this problem is to tailor your resume to every application. That can take more time, but it's an effort that can make a huge difference.

Study every job description, include relevant keywords to make your resume stand out, and craft each section to appear tailor-made for the job.

Employers Have Concerns About Job Hopping

Job hopping used to be a major issue for employers. It's not so much anymore, but some companies still resist hiring people they think won't be around for too long. They may get that impression from you if your resume is large and shows frequent job changes over the last several years.

There's nothing wrong with pursuing something better and moving your career forward. But you must reassure hiring managers that the job isn't a temporary stepping stone.

Include a brief explanation about why you left each company, especially if the reason was company layoffs. In your resume, use language that emphasizes your dedication to professional development and interest in applying your skills to benefit the organization.

There are Unaddressed Gaps in Your Employment History

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may have noticeable gaps in your employment history. If a company isn't worried about job hopping, it may view unexplained gaps as a red flag.

Once again, there's nothing wrong with taking time off to pursue other interests, but the key is to provide an explanation. Address those gaps in your resume's cover letter to make them a non-issue with hiring managers.

Whether you took time off to expand your family, go back to school, or reevaluate your career goals, talk about it. It's better than ignoring the gaps and leaving hiring managers to make assumptions.

You Need More Work Experience

A lack of experience is another big issue for employers. It's not merely about the number of years you've worked in a field. Hiring managers want to see that you have experience performing specific tasks related to the job you're trying to land.

Experience issues can arise if you apply to a new leadership role after years of entry-level work. While you have experience in the field, your resume may not show any history of leadership or relevant responsibilities.

Consider asking your current employer for more opportunities to gain the experience necessary to further your job search. Online or in-person classes can beef up your resume, too, compelling hiring managers to overlook a lack of experience.

Your Resume Doesn't Explain How You are Qualified for the Job You're Applying to

This issue relates to how you tailor your resume for every job application. You can list out all the education and work experience you have under your belt, but it won't stand out if your resume doesn't provide enough details to show that you're the right fit for the job.

You must customize your resume and highlight the most relevant details to prove you're the right person. Use the skills and experience sections to explain why you're qualified.

Study the job description and make sure your resume specifically addresses what the employer is looking for in a candidate.

You Aren't Making it Past the Initial Call or Phone Screen

If you are lucky enough to hear back from potential employers, there's still the initial call and screening phase to overcome. Many job-seekers experience issues overcoming this hurdle, stopping the hiring process before it begins.

If you can't find a job and typically run into problems at this stage of the hiring process, here are some possible reasons to consider.

You Weren't Prepared to Answer Questions

Not preparing for interviews will kill your chances of getting a job. Some assume that screening calls and those first phone interviews don't matter as much as in-person interviews, but that's not the case!

Interviewers use initial calls to thin the herd. The questions are usually more straightforward than what you'll hear during a full interview. However, how you respond still matters.

If you're unprepared to answer phone interview questions confidently, hiring managers will know. A lack of preparation gives off a sense of unprofessionalism and carelessness. Why continue with the hiring process when other candidates could answer questions without any issues?

Always prepare before a conversation. Research the company and review common phone interview questions to ensure you speak confidently.

You Didn't Research the Company Well Enough

A significant portion of the job search should be about researching the companies you apply to. You need to learn everything you can about potential employers. Learn about how the company makes money, understand its history, etc.

Many first phone interviews will contain questions that gauge your knowledge of the company. For example, interviewers may ask, "Why do you want to work here?" You need solid knowledge of the organization to answer those questions.

Not researching the company is a big mistake that will end up with you having trouble finding a job. It shows a lack of commitment and interest.

You are Overqualified

Believe it or not, being overqualified could be the reason why you can't find a job. That might not seem like a bad thing, but it could indicate to an employer that you view this position as short-term or that you may require higher pay than they're willing to offer.

The best thing you can do here is to emphasize how you want to apply your skills to do the best job possible for the job. During the phone screen, stay focused on the skills the job requires.

You don't have to hide your experience. Still, you should know how to reiterate your interest in this position and be comfortable telling interviewers why you want the job despite your possible overqualification.

You are Asking for too Much Money

Everyone has a salary in mind when searching for jobs. You know your worth, but stating high pay expectations during your first call can backfire. Remember: Screening calls are to thin the herd. Most hiring managers will pass on you if you come out the gate with high salary demands.

Do your research about average salaries for this position in your area. Make sure that every job you apply to matches that figure.

When asked about salary expectations, the best approach is to provide a range. Alternatively, you can put off salary negotiations. For example, you can say that your main priority is finding a job that suits where you are in your career and are willing to negotiate salary later.

The important thing is to emphasize your willingness to be flexible. Saying that expectations are firm shows that there's no wiggle room to work with you.

You're Getting Interviews But No Job Offers

Getting through the initial phone call and one or more interviews can get your hopes up. So why do you feel like you still can't find a job after getting so far into the process? Here are a few common hurdles that could hold you back from getting an offer.

You Need Better References

Bad references will quickly remove you from the pool of candidates. Most employers wait to contact references until they know who they want to hire. If your references say they won't hire you again, that's a huge red flag.

Always choose people you know will speak positively of you. Don't assume that a former employer will always sing your praises.

When asking for references, consider providing a copy of the job description so that they know what to expect. Ask if they're willing to provide a positive recommendation. If not, move on to find someone else!

Ideally, you should have two or three references who can provide glowing reviews.

You Aren't the Right Fit for the Organization's Culture

Company culture is a big deal. Employers want people who will fit right into the existing work environment. They prefer candidates with similar values and work styles.

Never go into an interview without understanding the company's work culture. You can learn more by visiting its official website, researching current employees, and more.

Understand what's important to the organization. Use the interview as your opportunity to learn more to help you decide if you want to work there. Saying anything that opposes that culture can create hesitation among hiring managers. You want to be as adaptable as possible.

You Display Negative Emotions

Interviews are about more than gauging your qualifications. It's a chance for hiring managers to get to know you and determine if you're someone they want to work with. Displaying negative emotions of any kind will pull you quickly from the running.

Anger, frustration, and entitlement are all things to avoid showing. No one wants to work with people who will cause problems. Hiring managers will likely opt for your competition if you display negative emotions during your interview.

Always remain positive and professional. Stay calm during your interview and refrain from bad-mouthing former employers or expressing frustration with the hiring process. Keep it light and positive.

Your Social Media Profiles Don't Reflect You Well

In the social media age, you must be careful about what you post. Employers often do outside research about candidates. If your profiles are public, you can bet that hiring managers will take a look!

Consider cleaning out your social media profiles of anything remotely offensive or controversial. If you don't want to do that, make everything private.

While social media posts are something you do in your personal time, they can paint a picture of who you are as a person. If you have anything up that you don't want hiring managers to see, that could be why you can't find a job.

You Don't Have a Good Answer to "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?"

This issue is related to the issue of job hopping, but it goes a little deeper. Potential employers will examine your work history and ask why you left your former company.

It's alright to be honest, but you must remain professional and deliver a well-thought-out response. Negativity or speaking ill of former colleagues isn't a good look. Neither is not being able to say what encouraged you to look for new employment.

Bad answers only raise red flags. Talk about your experiences and focus on the career development aspect of why you left. You can say you wanted to pursue something new and redirect your career.

Leave the more salacious details out of the equation.

You Didn't Ask Any Questions During the Interview

It's best practice to ask at least two or three questions during your interview. They need to be thoughtful questions. Simple questions about work schedules or pay may be important to you, but there's more you need to know.

Instead, ask about the organization. Use the interview as your opportunity to learn more to help you decide if you want to work there. Here are some interview questions to ask employers.

This issue is all about interest. Hiring managers want to see that you genuinely want the job and aren't desperate for a paycheck. Plus, getting answers to questions about performance expectations, key assignments, and company culture gives you a better understanding of what the job is all about. Asking thoughtful questions makes you look engaged and committed, which is always a plus.

You Didn't Seem Interested in the Job

Asking questions, knowing a great deal about the company, and having impactful answers to interview questions are all great ways to show your interest.

No company wants to hire someone who's only there for a paycheck. They want people who can help boost the bottom line and improve the company. You must show that you're genuinely interested in this opportunity.

Otherwise, hiring managers will turn to another candidate. Always reiterate your interest to show that this job is important to you. If you've been skipping this step, that could be part of the reason why you can't find a job.

You Didn't Make a Good Impression

Finally, the problem could be that you're simply not leaving a good impression.

Interviews are not easy. They require more preparation than most people realize. Furthermore, you're under a magnifying glass! Interviewers and hiring managers judge every response and non-verbal cue.

Pay attention to your body language and how you communicate. Convey ideas concisely without rambling. Those little details matter and affect the overall impression you leave behind.

Work on your interview skills. Practice answering common questions and do mock interviews to ensure you come off how you want. Aim to be confident and compelling.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why you can't find a job. But fortunately, all of them can be addressed.

Take some time to go through this list and find areas that need improvement. By being honest with yourself during this process you'll be able to make yourself a far more competitive candidate!

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Celebrate National Nurses Month - and the nurses who change lives

By VA Careers | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

As we begin National Nurses Month, VA proudly joins the American Nurses Association in celebrating our nurses far and wide.

We commemorate our invaluable teammates and the positive impact they provide by recognizing that "VA Nurses Make a Difference" — the theme we're using to celebrate Nurses Month this year.

By joining the nation's largest nursing corps, you can make an impact on the lives of our Veterans, and change your own life in the process. With extensive benefits and an emphasis on the work/life balance you've been looking for, all it takes is one application to turn your nursing job into a VA career.

Incomparable benefits

We offer benefits beyond compare that can make a difference at any stage of your career. When you become a nurse at VA, you can:

  • Work at any VA facility in the U.S. and some territories with one active license
  • Receive recruitment bonuses and relocation reimbursements for certain positions
  • Care for your family with group health insurance, including dental, vision and long-term care
  • Plan ahead with our three-tier retirement plan and access to term life insurance

Find your work/life balance with:

  • A flexible schedule, and sometimes even remote work options, to accommodate your needs and lifestyle
  • Generous vacation and personal leave, including 26 paid days off, 13 sick days and 11 paid federal holidays
  • On-site perks, like child care, dining facilities and fitness centers

A mission without measure

As any member of our nursing team will tell you, the work they do is not just a job, it's a mission to provide the best care possible to those who have served our country with honor.

VA nurses take that mission to heart, advocating for Veterans and making sure they get the care they need, when they need it.

Beyond their fierce dedication to the mission, our nurses work to provide innovative, caring solutions that resolve the complex health challenges faced by Veterans.

Whether acting as part of a Veteran's treatment team, serving on leadership boards or contributing to interdisciplinary collaborations, our nurses work with one goal in mind: improving outcomes for our Veterans.

Unmatched opportunities

We offer nurses almost limitless opportunities to lead and grow. In addition to the ability to easily move around the country, you'll find opportunities at all levels of experience and in a variety of clinical settings.

To start with, you can practice in a variety of care-delivery settings, including acute, ambulatory, mental health care, telehealth care and outpatient clinics.

At all of our more than 1,300 sites of care, you can have a voice at the table, weighing in with physicians and leadership to improve nursing care at your VA facility.

Whether you want to pursue clinical work directly with patients or consult, there are numerous opportunities available, extending to educational roles and leadership positions.

You can also embrace scientific exploration to come up with new ways to serve Veterans. We have many nurses who work in research and contribute to knowledge, best practices and clinical leadership practices.

"Each area has a distinctive career progression, but because we're so flexible and we want to attract the best and brightest nurses, there's always upward mobility," said nurse recruiter Laura Sarmiento. "They have that opportunity, and I've never seen that with our competitors."

Work at VA

Step into a nursing career alongside the most dedicated members of our team and start learning what it means to serve Veterans.

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6 Steps to Managing Your Job Search

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

To find your next job you'll need a process. There are six steps to managing your job search you'll want to follow. You'll learn how to create a strategy to help land the right job.

The trouble with job search is that no one teaches you HOW to do it. And even if you did learn how to run a successful job search, some things have changed.

Today's Job Search

Years ago, job search started by drafting a resume. (This was back when you had to type your resume and submit it through the mail.) Today, you use online applications and everything needs to be catered to the jobs you are applying to.

Here's why you shouldn't start your job search by writing a resume.

In order to craft a resume, you need to understand and include the skills employers are looking for on your resume. If you don't know what those are, you're resume may not have the right skills listed. And even more importantly, maybe you want more responsibility or to change roles or industry. How will you show that using your old resume?

That's why this process starts with the really difficult step of self-assessment and market-place assessment.

Networking Is Key

Networking is the key activity to landing a new job.

It helps get your foot in the door and learn about jobs you may not have discovered on your own.

Randomly "spraying and praying" your resume around hoping that someone may know of something just doesn't work.

That is why you need a networking strategy.

  • Who do you need to meet inside target companies?
  • Who is knowledgeable about your desired occupation?
  • Who can you talk to and learn more about potential employers to target?

You need a clear message. (And a clear message can only happen after you have assessed and researched the job market and prepared your marketing materials.)

But what hasn't changed is the overarching process — there are six steps to managing your job search.

6 Steps to Managing Your Job Search

If you follow these steps you'll know what you're supposed to be doing to conduct a successful job search.

Step 1: Assessment

Assessing yourself, and knowing what you want and need from your future job and employer is important. You want to align your purpose with the work you do. You also need to understand the demands in the labor market and industry trends.

Step 2: Research

Conducting more in-depth research will help you better understand what skills you should highlight and what employers are really looking for.

Step 3: Presenting Yourself

By this point in the process, you are ready to create your marketing materials (pitch, resume, LinkedIn profile, marketing plan)

Step 4: Project Management

The best way to keep your job search on track is to manage it like a project — set goals and deadlines and hold yourself accountable.

Manage your job search with a blend of proactive and reactive job search strategies — applying for jobs, networking, building an online presence, using social media and LinkedIn, partnering with external recruiters and more.

Step 5: Interviewing Strategies

In order to perform your best during job interviews, you'll want to prepare in advance. Honing stories to fit job descriptions, practicing your answers out loud, and knowing what questions you'll ask.

Step 6: Project update

Every couple of weeks, evaluate the progress you've made. Analyze what's working and what's not working. And you'll need to keep track of your job search activities.

If planning and managing your job search were easy, you wouldn't need a sherpa to guide you through the process. Sherpa-ing is what I do.

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How to make the most of your job references

By VA Careers | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

We've shared plenty about resumes and cover letters, but the third part of any good application package is always your references. References are people who will speak on your behalf to hiring managers; they are the people who can vouch for who you are and what you can do.

When developing (or updating) your references, there are a few simple things you should keep in mind that will help you make the most of the list.

Who makes a good reference?

The advantage of preparing your references is that you can control who speaks to your potential employer. That may be current or former supervisors, co-workers, team members, current or former customers of the company, vendors or suppliers, or even people you have supervised.

Whoever you ask to be a reference (and you should always ask, never assume), choose people who know your work well. You want references who have seen you in action and can speak to your abilities and personal work ethic. Remember, you're in control of this process, so use it fully to your advantage by selecting references who are enthusiastic about you and your work.

Contact information is critical

While most people keep their cell phone numbers and email addresses long-term, it's not uncommon for someone to change a preferred point of contact, even if it's just to differentiate between business and personal information. A quick phone call or email to confirm you have the best contact method for your references can save you a ton of headaches during the review process.

Similarly, make sure you're referring to your references correctly. In the hectic shuffle of our busy lives, it's easy to lose track of what everyone is doing. Someone acting as your reference may have started a new position, earned a certification, or added a particular skill that can lend some weight to their referral of you.

Give your references a heads-up

Just as you want to have the most up-to-date information for your references, you want them to be just as aware of what's going on in your job search. If you apply for a job, drop them a quick note and let them know someone might be in touch. Let your references know what kind of job (or jobs) you're applying for, as well, and if anything has changed with you that might be applicable.

This also gives your references the opportunity to frame what they know about you through the lens of the job in question and allows them to speak intelligently about your qualifications. A good reference will be able to vouch for your skills, but a great reference will be able to tell a hiring manager exactly what makes you qualified for a particular position.

Keep your references current

While a good reference will vouch for you months or even years down the road, it pays to have references who hit a little closer to who you are at this particular moment. Trustworthy coworkers and supervisors at your current job will be able to speak more influentially than someone you haven't worked alongside in a few years.

If you don't want to give up an older reference, consider adding one or two new ones to show your most recent capabilities. References that span your career can illustrate the trajectory of your work experience, and a good mix of new and old will show a hiring manager growth and consistency in your skills and abilities.

Work at VA

A good set of references is essential to your application, and by following the tips above, you're going to be one step closer to landing the job you want at VA.

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