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When a Job Search Takes Too Long

If you have been conducting a job search for many months with little or no success, it is time to evaluate what may be going wrong.

Behind the majority of fruitless job searches resides a poorly crafted résumé. So it is time to take a good look at yours. Read it as if you were an employer. Does it impress the heck out of you? Does it make you want to reach for the phone and call yourself? If not, you need to do better. A good-enough document will not be good enough when it has to compete with many others. In addition to having a great written document, brutally analyze what you are doing with it. Are you sending that résumé and cover letter to the right people? Unless you are looking for a job in human resources, bypass HR departments as much as possible because they simply serve as gatekeepers-screening résumés and culling the pile. Research, though time consuming, can yield the names of managers or directors in the department you belong in. Get your résumé on that desk.

Also up for review in this circumstance should be your LinkedIn profile. We are now at the point where employers and recruiters are routinely “looking up” potential candidates on LinkedIn. Is your profile just okay or are you proud of how it looks and reads? Is it sparse or is it comprehensive? Does your picture appear business-like in its mood? And do you have the right key words in your heading and summary so that you can be found in a general search for a person in your occupation? If your LinkedIn profile is not of the caliper I describe, this could very well be the root cause, or a contributing cause, of your job search difficulties.

In addition, or alternatively, a unproductive job search may be the result of a lack of time devoted to it. Job seekers should be putting in 15-20 hours of effort each week. That time should be spent doing research on organizations, getting your documents out the door, perusing job postings, networking, and studying for interviews.

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