There has been a lot in the news lately about the long-term unemployed and how employers are discriminating against them. Why are they discriminating? They believe you are “unemployable”. They assume that if a hundred employers have already looked at you and passed over you for other more appealing candidates, there must be a good reason. They assume you must lack the skills, experience, education, or stability to be successful. Is it true? Maybe you need to reassess your job search techniques and see if there is an aspect that is shooting down your chances.

1. Is your resume effective? If you aren’t getting interviews, take another look at your resume. Does it target your desired job and contain powerful action words, accomplishments, and industry keywords? If it’s too general and not targeted, employers may think you don’t have a definite career path in mind. Even if the truth is that you will take any job, your resume should not reflect that. Have several versions of your resume if necessary, targeting different jobs. If it doesn’t contain power verbs and strong achievements, it may not be making enough impact. What makes you stand out from others? Since many employers have software that scans resumes for industry keywords, you don’t stand a chance without them in your resume. Does it present you in the best light? It should not highlight gaps in your work history or lots of employers with short employment durations.

2. Make face-to-face contact. Online only won’t cut it. You’ve got to hit the pavement too. If the company’s application policy is online, apply online first and then drop by in person and ask for the hiring manager. Whether you get to this person or not, say you applied online and would like to drop off your resume for that person. Adding a face to a digital application helps, and going in person shows initiative. Also, get out and network. There are networking groups that meet at various locations and provide valuable job leads. Networking is how 80% of jobs are filled. It is your ticket to the “hidden job market” where many jobs are never advertised.

3. Modify your target. Another reason you may not be getting interviews is that the job market is simply flooded with applicants in your industry. Your industry may not have very many jobs available. I’ve seen job postings for one job get over a thousand applicants. That means your chance of getting the job is one in a thousand! Perhaps you need to broaden your search to include other job possibilities or consider breaking into a new field by pursuing further education or training. Once you decide, you will need a modified version of your resume as well.

4. Interview well. If you’re getting interviews but no call-backs or job offers, maybe you are making fatal errors in the interview. Research common interviewing mistakes to see what you may need to work on. Your appearance should be impeccable. There should be no negative talk about former employers. You should not mention any health or personal problems. Don’t ask about salary or benefits in a first interview. Are you enthusiastic and positive? Are you selling yourself well? Are you researching the company ahead of time? Practice being interviewed with a friend, and consult literature about interviewing skills.

5. Follow up with employers. Hiring authorities want to know that you are very interested in the job even after the interview. You should immediately send by snail mail a thank-you card to each person who interviewed you. An easy way to make sure you spell names correctly is to ask each person for a business card at the interview. In the card, briefly thank them for the interview and restate in a sentence or two how you could add value to their company and that you look forward to hearing from them. Then a week after the interview, call and ask for the hiring manager and inquire about whether they have made a decision yet.

6. Get to work. One way to separate yourself from the unemployed is to begin volunteer work, which you can include on your resume as current activity. If possible, make your volunteer work somewhere related to your career. You can also register with temporary employment agencies. Temp agencies aren’t just for day laborers and secretaries anymore. More and more companies are using their services to fill permanent positions. Once you begin work through an agency, it can go on your resume. You may even be placed with an employer who hires you full-time.

It’s important to periodically assess what’s working and what’s not in your job search. If you’ve done these things and are still not seeing results, consult a Career Counselor who may be able to devise other specific strategies for you personally.

Author's Bio: 

Krista Mitchell is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and career industry article writer. Expertise in crafting resumes designed to showcase your qualities with impact.