Cooperation to solve a puzzle

Tiffany J. Franklin, M.S. Ed.

Going through a job search can feel like someone is sucking the life out of you. Day after day, you toil on your resume, cover letter, applications, networking, putting your best self out there, dreaming of what your future could be and waiting for crumbs of validation in the form of an interview. You know you would be perfect for this job, so why don’t recruiters agree? Do they remember what it’s like to wait for that life changing phone call? Do they care that your life is currently in limbo?

The frustration associated with job searches is something I remember well, but a little perspective can make the process less daunting. Keep in mind:

  • No one job determines your destiny. Sure, you may want one particular position badly, but your dream job or at least one that better aligns with your values and career goals may open in a month or two. If you received and accepted the original job offer, you would have missed out on something worth the wait.
  • A job search requires adaptability. If you send out 30 resume and no one responds, it’s an indication your resume is not representing you as well as it could. Go back and make changes for the next round of applications to see if it generates more interest. Same goes for your interviewing technique and the types of opportunities you are identifying.
  • Perseverance is essential. A successful job search entails many components and takes time. You may have to adjust your approach, but you can’t give up.
  • A little empathy goes a long way. Recruiters are dealing with a lot of stress as they sift through hundreds of resumes in a short period of time to try and make that match. Sure, it may not be the same type of stress as a job seeker, but connecting the ideal candidate with a position is not as easy as it looks. After years as a career coach, I learned this during my time as a recruiter for an agency. 

Big deal, you say, why should I care about the stress of recruiters?

  • Because displaying empathy and understanding other people’s pain points can help you be more strategic and efficient in your job search. If you think about what is stressing them out, you can present yourself as a solution to their problems rather than another person emailing them 5 times in one day.

Have you ever had to hire candidates for a job or find someone for a group/activity that you loved? What are the things that you looked for?

  • Someone who has the necessary skills.
  • A person who demonstrates passion for this role/organization, instead of the person who applied to 100 things and said you were the one who called back.
  • A candidate who can articulate why they are a fit for the role (with solid examples) and who has done the necessary research to show they understand both the position and the company.

Thinking about your target audience (recruiters, hiring managers, company leadership), their pain points and how you could be the solution to their needs can go a long way in helping you tailor your message and increase your odds for securing an interview and subsequent offer.

When preparing for an interview, pretend you are a hiring manager, and view your answers through that lens. What are the 4-5 key skills this job description requires? Does your answer to “What is your weakness” shed doubt on your ability to do the job? When you answer “Tell Me About Yourself” are you describing your experience in a way that is genuine and aligns with the essential elements of this job and the company culture? If you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think about the message your answer is sending, it’s a good indication you need to rework that answer.

Need more help? Email Tiffany at to schedule a mock interview (phone, Facetime, or Skype options).

Photo credit: FernandoAH/iStockphoto