Picture this: You walk through the doors of Generic Inc. after receiving a call from their hiring manager. You’ve been eyeing this job for a little while, and you truly feel like you have all the qualifications to excel at this job. After all, they did call you for that very reason, right? You’re nervous, but you do your very best to not let it show.
You walk up to the front desk and tell the receptionist why you’re there. You’re greeted, shown the little “waiting area,” and told to relax until the hiring manager, Mr. Dreams, calls you back into his office. You wait for a little while, contemplating if it would be unprofessional to help yourself to the water cooler or coffee machine in front of you. After what feels like an eternity, you’re called into Mr. D’s office. He shakes your hand and greets you with a warm smile. You genuinely feel welcomed into his space. You take a seat in his comfy leather chair as he begins to ask you questions regarding your experience, certifications, and background. You answer all the questions as detailed and professionally as possible. By the end of the interview, you feel like there’s no way Mr. D could turn you down.
Mr. D tells you he’s impressed with you and that he will call you later next week. You head on home and excitedly wait for the call. You wait. And wait. And wait some more. Days or even weeks have passed, and you never received the call. What went wrong? Everything went so well! Mr. Dreams even said he was IMPRESSED with you… How could you not have gotten the job?
Alternatively, you may be a younger person who’s struggling to save up for college, to pay their student loans or are even just in need of some money so you can move forward with your life. Maybe you’re struggling to move out of your parent’s/guardian’s house or trying your best to save up for a car. Maybe you’re even somewhere in between. Either way, all the situations end the same: you didn’t get the job. Maybe you can’t even manage to land an interview.
I’m sure after the countless failed interviews and rejected job applications, you’ve begun to wonder if the employment game is rigged, if the employers were racist in some way… or even if there’s something wrong with you. You’ve read every book and article on “how to get the job”, “how to ace the interview”, “how to behave during an interview”, “how to make a perfect resume”, and countless other related topics. But still, nothing. What gives? You’ve seen so many people get jobs easily, or at least easily compared to the hell you’re going through. You’ve even asked them for advice, which typically yields information you already know or even bad advice. Which all leads you back to square one.
Here’s Why You May Not Have Gotten The Job
According to Inc.com, the leading 10 reasons for being unable to land a job is:
- Not being proactive
- Lack of passion
- You don’t “sell” yourself
- Your resume doesn’t showcase how valuable you are
- You haven’t researched the job or company
- You seemed entitled or cocky
- You’re overqualified or underqualified
- You don’t have good connections/you’re disconnected from your industry
- You’re not likable
- You’re giving the wrong impression
Some other reasons I’ve found while doing my research are:
- Your application had mistakes/was incomplete
- Bad communication skills
- You don’t look like you belong at the job
- You didn’t share 6-9 reasons why you should get the job
- Not asking questions or “showing interest” in the job
- You don’t have a good social media profile
- You smell bad
- You weren’t dressed appropriately
- You have irrelevant or odd information in your resume
- Talking bad about previous employers/coworkers
As you can tell, there’s a lot of reasons for being rejected for a job. Some of them are genuinely bullshit, like appearance (excluding if you’re inappropriately dressed) and including 6-9 reasons why you should get the job (a lot of people don’t like and/or aren’t good at talking about themselves). Bad communication/body language skills, such as twiddling your thumbs, lackluster expressions, and not asking enough questions are also pretty dumb reasons for rejecting an otherwise perfect candidate for the job. However, there were quite a few reasons for rejection that made perfect sense, such as an incomplete resume or smelling really bad. But even then, those reasons for rejection are pretty obvious.
So what do you do if you still can’t get a job after avoiding all the “don’t”s above? Do you give up? Keep going? While you should never give up, it wouldn’t hurt to take a break if you’re seriously at a dead end. Sometimes taking a break is exactly what you need to get the ball rolling again. If you’re reading this and thinking “I can’t take a break!”, stop and really analyze your life. Is your search that desperate that you can’t even take a day or two off to give yourself some time to think? If so, onto phase two.
How To Make Money If You STILL Can’t Find Work
If a break isn’t in your future, then the first thing I’d suggest is posting job ads for yourself. Put ads on Craigslist and everywhere else you can advertise your interest in a job. Include your resume, what work you’d prefer to do, your name, etc.. Just don’t include any sensitive information, such as your address. Don’t be shy to ask friends if they know of anyone looking for employees or if they know of any places that are hiring. You’d be surprised what a good word from a friend can do for your odds of getting the job. Also don’t be shy to attend random job fairs you hear about.
If you want to try and make a few bucks in the meantime, and you have pretty decent writing skills, I’d recommend submitting stories and/or articles to websites and publications that pay for user writing. Depending on where you go, you can make anywhere from $60 – $500 per article or story. Alternatively, if you’re more gifted at drawing, vector art, etc. you could try licensing your art and selling it on stock websites such as Adobe Stock, starting a class, or provide your art for paying writers.
Somewhat in the same vein as the previous point, if you’re an expert at something, make an online class for it! You can teach online classes and charge for paid memberships and exclusive tutorials once you get a following of students. There’s classes for everything from drawing to martial arts to languages and cooking. If you can find something you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, then go for it!
And finally, work on your mindset. We as humans give off a lot of body language unconsciously. If you have a negative mindset, whether it’s about yourself, the job you’re trying to get or even your odds of getting the job, your potential employer very well might pick up on it. Try and go into interviews positive and happy. A friendly smile and handshake can take you a long way.
Being jobless is never easy. It’s almost never fun and being penniless in today’s economy is not only a death sentence, but a major source of shame and embarrassment. There are millions of people in America alone struggling with unemployment; especially due to COVID-19. You aren’t alone in your struggle. Rising rent, more expensive health insurance, car payments, phone payments, putting food on the table… it’s a lot. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s okay to take a break and look into more unconventional ways of making money for a little while. It’s okay to stop and take time to focus on bettering yourself. It’s okay to just stop and ask for help. You are not a failure for struggling or asking for help. You’re trying your best. Just remember to never give up and always keep an open mind to opportunities around you. You can do this. We can do this.