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How to Boost Your Job Search Efforts

You’ve sent out dozens of resumés but haven’t had a single offer. Don’t give up. Check out what you can do to improve the way you look for work.


Whether you’re trying for your first job, or looking for something new, it’s easy to get discouraged while looking for work. But these rejections or lack of responses can be a way to learn how to get better results. Here’s how to up your game when it comes to searching for work.

If you’ve just lost your job, you may have to deal with a range of emotions before you’re ready to re-enter the job market. Check the resources in Job Loss: Creating a New Future for help.

Broaden your work search targets

If you’ve found work easily in the past, your expectations for this work search may be unrealistic.

Be honest with yourself about how much time and effort you’ve put into networking, contacting employers, and other methods of finding work.

If you can truly say you’ve researched the possibilities well, you may have to broaden your work search targets. Discuss your situation with a career advisor or someone else whose judgment you respect. Staff at Alberta Supports can help you with your job search.

Take a good look at your qualifications

If you haven’t been invited for many interviews, it probably means your applications didn’t make it past the screening stage. Some possible reasons you weren’t invited for an interview include:

  • Lacking the required skills or education
  • Having skills that are out of date
  • Competing against other applicants with better qualifications
  • Describing or stating your qualifications poorly

If you don’t have the required skills or your skills are out of date, you could look into ways to develop the skills employers are looking for. Remember to look at your core skills and how they could suit the job you’re applying for.

If your resumé and cover letter haven’t communicated your qualifications well, ask yourself:

  • Do they tell employers clearly and concisely what you can do?
  • Do they show what sort of person you are?

If the answer is no to both questions, rewrite your resumé and cover letter. You can also get feedback on these important work search tools from career advisors.

The most direct way to find out why you haven’t been invited for an interview is to ask. Call employers and explain that you are trying to improve your work search skills. Ask them (politely) for some feedback on your application. They may not have time to provide an answer, but you have nothing to lose and you could get some valuable advice.

Improve your interview skills

You made it into an interview but the offer went to someone else. Why not follow up with the employer and ask what you could have done better?

If you weren’t well prepared, decide what you’ll do differently to be better prepared next time.

If you learn that you don’t have the required skills, you may need to rethink your work search targets to include employers that need the skills you do have.

Count it as a learning experience

Sometimes it’s not about you. When many well-qualified applicants compete for the same job, employers have to make difficult decisions. The differences between successful applicants and unsuccessful ones may be hard to identify. Some employers may choose the applicant they feel would be the best fit with their other staff.

Don’t take it personally. We all go through rejection at some time, so don’t lose confidence. Instead, look at these as learning experiences. There are many jobs available, if you know how to look for them, so you will have other chances to apply what you’ve learned.

Try to stay positive

Employers like to hire people who believe in themselves. An upbeat approach to work search will nurture your self-confidence and improve your chances of getting the work you want.

Very few people get a job from the first resumé they send out or from the first interview they attend. Try not to take the rejections or lack of responses personally. Instead, treat them as learning experiences that help you get better each time. Your next resumé or interview could be the one.

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