My Job Search Isn’t Working – What Should I do?

It’s important not to forget that a job search is a journey of many activities and actions that must be strategically arranged and adequately executed to increase success.

March 16, 2023

I have the pleasure of partnering with a wide variety of senior executives and savvy professionals – all eager (and some anxious) about their impending job search.


Now and then, I hear: “Help, my job search isn’t working; why not?”

These individuals are confused and discouraged. And who can blame them? Job searching is tough and can be even more frustrating when you do not see desired results.

With some strategic questioning and exploration, I often discover that professionals are getting derailed in their search because they focus efforts exclusively on either one step of the process (locating job postings) or one tool (developing a resume).

It’s important not to forget that a job search is a journey of many activities and actions that must be strategically arranged and adequately executed to increase success.


So, how can you help improve your job search success?

Start nurturing efforts in multiple areas.

All avenues and efforts are worth exploring during a job search, and a diversified job search strategy is best. Dedicate time and attention to various job search efforts.

Your job search checklist

If you are unsure what this entails and what actions and activities to include in your strategy, I’ve covered you with the checklist below.


1. Pick a job target before you start

A shot fired in the dark is unlikely to hit a target. General job searches rarely work, and saying you want ‘any’ job, not a specific job, won’t make it easy to communicate your offerings to employers. Identify a clear job goal before you commence a search to avoid spinning your wheels in frustration.


2. Discover what sets you apart

You can’t effectively sell something if you don’t know what makes it worthy of investment. Spend sufficient time understanding your skills, value proposition, and what you are known for and good at. Be prepared to demonstrate the alignment between the employer’s needs and your offering.


3. Research job requirements and understand employers’ buying motivators

Not all jobs are the same, and each employer will have unique pain points that require solving. Analyze job postings to identify job requirements, core skill sets, and buying motivators to help target your career communications.


4. Build a strong resume

Employers need a clear demonstration of why you are the best candidate for them and their specific job. Take the appropriate time to build a modern, professional resume that employs current trends and effectively showcases your worth. Ensure to include a heavy focus on specifics and results, not generic job overviews or duties and be prepared to customize content for every application. A generic resume will not cut it.


5. Beef up your online presence

Almost all recruiters are on LinkedIn, so you must be, too. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is fully complete with branded content and industry keywords to help you get found. Increase your online visibility by consistently engaging on the site. Share thought leadership posts related to your field, post thoughtful and engaging comments on posts, and build connections with key decision-makers.


6. Be ready to address employment barriers

Have you got a job gap? Missing skill sets? What other challenges are you likely to face in the journey, and how are you prepared to deal with them? Job gaps and time away from work are common, but employers may prefer to know a reason – so be prepared to speak about it positively. In addition, if you lack a specific skill for the job, be ready to address how you will acquire it.


7. Prepare for the interview

Believe it or not, many job candidates don’t prepare for job interviews – and then they are caught off guard when they don’t get an offer. Before an interview, fully understand the role and your related skills. Next, practice delivering succinct and meaningful responses to common interview questions. Spending just 30 to 60 minutes (at a minimum) can significantly improve your chances of securing a job offer.


8. Network

Both online and off. One of the most significant ROI in a job search is networking and referrals. Keep in mind that networking isn’t a one-and-done activity. It is a long game, something you must do often and consistently to reap the rewards. Strong relationships can increase your visibility during a job search, and a network can be leveraged to identify leads, opportunities, or unadvertised openings. Referrals can also escalate application chances.


9. Seek assistance if you need it

No one needs to look for work alone, so don’t try to tackle the above yourself – especially if you feel lost or overwhelmed. Put together a team of trusted individuals that you can turn to for advice or keep you motivated and accountable. These people may include certified career coaches, resume writers, employment experts, and supportive friends or family. If you need help with a specific job search activity — ask! You may be pleasantly surprised by how much others want to help and can!


10. Create a routine and track activities

Develop a daily or weekly task list to organize your actions and activities. Allocate dedicated time each day to focus on your job search. In addition, track all applications and conversations for easier reference, follow-up, and reminders. Without a systematic approach, you might be going about strategies haphazardly, causing a slowing of momentum or motivation.



Be prepared to put in the work and time. You can’t just dip your toe in the employment waters and expect a quick and well-suited bite. Looking for a job takes effort and energy on many levels, and all avenues are worth exploring. Using the list above, get yourself started on improving job search success!

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About the author

Adrienne Tom

I always wanted to be a writer, and for the past decade-plus, I've been writing career stories for some of the world's brightest business leaders.

I am one of just ~30 Certified Executive Resume Masters worldwide and have been honoured with over 30 awards for my resume and LinkedIn profile creations. Look for my work in popular books like "Resumes for Dummies".