Job hunting getting you down?


Out of work for a while, feeling bored, depressed and downhearted? Have you been sending off your cv and applying for jobs with little success? You may have been looking around for a new position but not found the type of role you are looking for advertised. Or you may have been to a few interviews but have been unsuccessful. There can be any number of reasons why you find your job search frustrating. So how do you keep motivated to secure the position that you are looking for? Here are a few steps you can take to improve your chances of success:

Improve your success at application stage:

Really look at the job description and personal specification and make sure that you are applying for a role that you are qualified for. If you cannot ‘tick all the boxes’ with directly relevant skills and experience then include any experience that demonstrates that you have directly relatable skills in your cover letter but keep a realistic view on your application. Your chances of success will be less than that of the candidate who has been doing the same job for another company! Despite this, remember you “gotta be in it to win it” and you have nothing to lose by applying, so go for it.

Make sure your cv is tailored to the role that you are applying for. Edit your basic cv to respond to each job application and the specific requirements of each role.

A well-crafted cover letter is essential. This should summarise your experience and what you are looking for career-wise. This information should, of course, tie in very closely with the job description.

Think laterally. If you can’t secure the role you want in the company you want, then think about how to get there in the longer term. Can you work your way into this by taking a sideways step to another company or even looking at a slightly more junior role? Many vacancies are filled internally or from a known individual in the same industry. Securing another role may give you the opportunity to impress your new work colleagues with your work ethic and enthusiasm whilst allowing you to upgrade your skills and gain the experience you need.

Can’t find the role you want advertised even though you know these positions exist?

Research your target industry and contact the relevant hiring manager directly to see if there are going to be any suitable vacancies coming up. Network at industry events if possible and nurture your business relationships. Many vacancies are filled by internal candidates or through existing business contacts and may never be advertised.

Speak to a recruitment consultant from a reputable firm. Most professional recruitment consultants are very industry specific and have developed good working relationships with many different clients. They will be able to advise you on potential opportunities and may be able to approach target companies on your behalf on a speculative, yet confidential basis.


Getting interviews but not being offered the job?

This is a tough one, and it can really dent your confidence. However, its good to bear in mind that there may be any number of reasons for a hiring decision. Ask for detailed feedback from your interviews so that you can look for any patterns to the feedback and address areas of weakness.

If there is feedback that can be easily resolved through preparation and practice eg “you didn’t demonstrate that you had the skills required” then you can act on this to do better for next time through practice and use of better work examples. If the feedback was that you did not have as much specific experience as the successful candidate then perhaps you can ask about opportunities for development with you current employer or if that is not possible then you may be able to explore gaining additional skills and experience outside of work, for example with a voluntary organisation.

Lacking motivation

If you are frustrated by lack of development in your current role but not progressing fast enough with your job search, I would suggest first approaching your existing company to explore if there is any scope to develop your career further. There may be opportunities for you to gain wider experience, perhaps through an internal move to another team or by taking on additional responsibility for a specific project. You may also find that it provides you with the challenge you were looking for and a better working experience.

Still waiting for that first break into work?

Try to keep a structure to your day. Set up job alerts from the major jobs boards to cut down on time browsing and set aside time each day for job applications. Use the rest of your day wisely and actively seek out opportunities to keep your skills up to date and gain new skills.

Use the job centre, Skills Development Scotland and other agencies in your local area to find out about opportunities for work. Lastly, I understand that the benefits system is an absolute nightmare to navigate but very often accepting work, in any position, will be more beneficial in the long run than waiting for your ideal role to appear. Temporary jobs very often lead to more permanent opportunities and any work experience and new skills gained will help to secure alternative employment. So, if possible, I would strongly recommend taking the opportunity that is open to you and seeing where it leads.

If you are a school leaver or new graduate, please also check out my previous blog posts on Job Hunting 1:01 and Top 5 Suggestions to Boost Your CV on the website There are loads of suggestions for improving your chances of success for early careers applicants.

Lastly, for individual advice and coaching, please contact me at



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