Keeping the Right Focus in Your Job Search

posted by Brian Krueger under job search #job search #careers #mistakes #jobs #resume #interview #networking

Discouraged job seeker needs help
Discouraged job seeker needs help

Here’s the dirty little secret about job search: 95% of it sucks. You will be spending the majority of your time doing stuff that doesn’t seem to matter and isn’t bringing you any closer to your goal of finding a new job. Yet, in most cases, you won’t necessarily know which activities will work until you have tried them. And failed.

And then there is the rejection. Sometimes it’s overt, other times covert. But it is part of the reality of job search. You will be rejected multiple times on the way to that one "Yes."

So you might feel like you’re in a rather constant state of banging your head against the wall. Figuratively or, sometimes, literally.

So yes, it’s OK to scream (find a nice, quiet, soundproof room, if possible) and it’s OK to vent (find someone with a sympathetic open ear). Just don’t give up. You are one more rejection on your way to your eventual acceptance.

Job search has rejection written all over it. You may feel like you are stepping from one rejection to another. Your resume is rejected time and time again. Finally, you get that elusive interview, only to be rejected in person. Yikes. That’s when you find out that rejection was way easier when you simply didn’t get a reply. This is in-your-face rejection.

Yet job search is a numbers game. You are not right for every position out there. Nor is every position out there right for you. The key is to narrow the focus on your search and to keep looking forward. Yes, there will be rejection. But each rejection is something that has already happened and is in the past. Get past it and keep moving forward. Learn from it and work to make yourself a better candidate going forward. Remember, being rejected for the wrong role is a good thing.

If you are stuck or feel like you’re in a rut with your job search, go back to the fundamentals. Do three quick reviews:

1. Your resume.

It should be broad enough to include you on opportunities for which you are qualified, yet focused enough to exclude you from opportunities for which you are not qualified. Look at both the structure of your resume and the content. If you need help, take a look at the Quickstart Resume Generator at to put your content into a great format.

2. Your network.

Make sure you are tapping all of your potential network. It’s not enough to just post-and-pray (post your resume and pray someone finds it). Yes, post your resume, but also work to make direct contact. Attend professional association meetings related to your profession. Reach out to contacts who work at target employers. Ask for internal employee referrals.

3. Your interviewing skills.

If you are getting interviews, but not getting call backs, you need to rework your interviewing skills. Start by reviewing the interview questions (and answers) at, then practice. Do a mock interview, or two or three. Get comfortable in your own interviewing skin. Don’t get rehearsed, just practiced enough to know where you are going and what specific examples you can use in the interview to answer behaviorally.

Job search is a long process with an end goal of not just finding a job, but the right job. Along the way, you will find a lot of not-right jobs and not-right employers. Remember, all you need is one right job and one right employer to make it all worthwhile. I am a strong believer in the view that there is a right job out there for everyone. Your job is to find it. And at, we’re here to help.

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