You’ve been applying for jobs and getting interviews, but you’re not getting offers. Here are some criteria and questions to help you assess and adjust.
The job role. Is the role a good fit for your strengths? When you look at a position, what percentage of the tasks are tasks you can demonstrate you have done successfully? In terms of duties and responsibilities, what are your weaknesses? How important are those tasks to being successful in the position? Make sure that you can do 80 percent of what they are asking for!
Too qualified? When someone looks at you and your background, are they likely to see you as over-qualified? Sometimes people do not get hired because the employer fears you won’t be satisfied with the position or that you will be hard to manage because you’ve been in a higher-level role and that you’ll be too independent.
Underemployed? If the job appears to be lower than your status, are you able to explain what makes it a good fit for you now? Can you make a persuasive case that you’ll stay in the position rather than leave when a better offer comes along?
You and the organization. Have you worked in organizational cultures similar to the one you’re applying for? Make sure you can communicate that you know who they are and how they work, speak their language (mission and values) including speaking the career vocabulary of the particular role. Show the employer that you talk their talk.
The job network. Do you know and have established relationships with the stakeholders, clients, contacts and community served by the organization? Make sure the employer knows you don’t need introductions!
When it comes to interviewing, you’re the only one that sees how you are interacting with others. Be honest with yourself: are you clear and articulate? are you using the time to “talk about yourself” to show you’re the best candidate for the job?
Clarity. When you present stories about your accomplishments, strengths and skills, is it clear that you are indeed accomplished in the specific areas that the job demands? Do your stories clearly highlight relevant skills and knowledge? Do you sound confident?
Emotions play a huge role in interviewing. Long time job seekers may have to manage their emotions more than people starting fresh on a search: are you bitter or resentful, depressed or exhausted, over-eager and seeming desperate? Remember when interviewing to use your body and breath to ground and steady yourself and to connect to what you love about the work to help you convey confidence.
Weaknesses, endings, failures and complaining. In this competitive job market, employers are looking for people who are positive, can-do, and easy to manage. Pay careful attention to how you speak about past employers, challenges in the workplace, things that didn’t go well, and endings; anything that indicates you may be grumbly or blaming or stuck in the past can go against you.
Lining up the dots. Are you applying for jobs with great similarity to what you have done in the past, meaning the same constituency, the same general mission, funders and culture?
Plans B and C. If following your old organizational thread is not working, think seriously about plan b or c. Look at your transferrable skills and think about where they can be directed. Look for organizations with missions and values that match yours. Look honestly at your strengths and think about what you can pitch and pitch well.
Practice your pitch. Look at your job collateral. Most everyone needs to work on pitching and job search materials. Getting in front of your friends or former coworkers is a great way to polish your pitch. You’ll get feedback about what lands and insights about how to be more effective.
Self-care. Make sure that you are taking time out- for exercise, fresh air, good food and kind interactions. It is important to know you are good and maintain real work-life balance.