Report on top of report is coming out lately stating that the job market is hot and it’s never been easier to find work. In fact, the number of job openings outnumbers the amount of unemployed adults – the first time since the Labor Department started keeping track in 2000.
So why does it still feel so hard to land a job right now?
You’re not alone. Job seekers still report high dissatisfaction with the job search process. Rejection, unfortunately, is unavoidable when it comes to looking for a new job. It’s easy to get excited about an opportunity and envision yourself in the role. You put in the effort with a customized resume, craft the perfect cover letter. You ace the phone interview and put your best foot forward in the interview. Then two weeks later, you learn that the company went with another candidate. Or you never hear back at all, which is even more frustrating. It’s a discouraging process, and it effects everyone, green and seasoned job seekers alike.
Part of the issue is that the American unemployment rate hides people who have given up their search. The actual number of workers who want to be employed is believed to be much higher than the 4% we’re currently sitting at. It also doesn’t take into account that while people might have a job, it doesn’t mean they have a good, fulfilling job. That’s something that’s much harder to find. Many workers, especially those new to the workforce, wind up juggling multiple part-time positions in order to make ends meet.
Failure to land that job that seemed like a perfect fit is hard to handle. But failure doesn’t mean you should give up. No one, regardless of their level of experience, only has to apply to one opening when they are looking for a job. Try to learn from your rejection. Use it to refine your methodology and improve your chances next time around. Disregard the current statistics on “historically low unemployment” for a minute. A successful job search is both a numbers game and a quality game.
On the numbers side: For every job post, there are still 250 applicants. Only 8 get selected for a phone interview. Only three will move on to the onsite interview. And only one person will get the job. So for each job application you send off, you’ve only got a 0.4% chance of actually landing the role – all other factors being equal.
Fortunately, all other factors aren’t equal and there’s a lot you can do to tilt the scales in your favor. A well-tailored resume, a custom cover letter, and the right interview questions will all help you get closer to being that 1 in 250.
Failure is something you can (and should!) learn from.