This week, the LiveCareer team pulled a few common questions out of our inbox and composed the following answers for our readers and job-seeking friends.
Question #1: Starving Artist
“I don’t know why I haven’t found a job yet. I’m looking for a creative position in marketing or advertising and I’ve been actively searching for six months. I know that the economy isn’t perfect right now, but here’s my problem: I’m just as qualified as anyone else. My friends and fellow graduates have all found great positions, and I’m still looking—but I have a college degree and a completed internship with a major company, and I’m as creative and energetic as anyone else in this field. I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Help!”
Three details draw our attention: First, your six-month search. Your field is very competitive, and most entry-level marketing and advertising candidates search for at least eight months before they find a position they can accept.
Second, it’s never wise to compare your career path with those of your friends. It’s hard to resist the temptation, but this comparison won’t help you or provide you with any useful data. Your path is your own.
Third, it’s time to start taking a closer look at your job application process, including your resume and cover letter. Get some professional help with these documents and you’ll start booking more interviews.
Question #2: Attention to Detail
“I don’t think employers are reading my resume at all. I worked so hard to edit and polish my application, but I still get calls in which employers ask obvious questions that I clearly address in my resume. For example: ‘where do you live?’ Are these employers just stupid? Or am I not making this information clear enough in my written document?”
Neither. Your resume clearly states where you live and summarizes your work history. And employers are definitely reading it (otherwise you wouldn’t be receiving these calls). But these obvious questions are usually part of a checklist or cross-checking process that’s very common during the screening stage. Just be patient and answer politely. Any hint of weariness or eye-rolling on your part can turn off employers and bring you back to square one.
Question #3: Boring Bob
“My resume embarrasses me. It’s too short. I have no impressive ‘accomplishments,’ and I’ve held the same job with the same company for 10 years. I just printed my document out for the first time and looking at it makes me feel ridiculous. All these years I thought I was doing pretty well, but now I feel like a boring person, a risk avoider, and not very ‘competitive’ compared to other candidates. What should I do?
Get past these feelings and focus on the future, not the past. And while you’re at it, recognize that your stability and reliability are far from “boring.” They’re an asset to any company smart enough to hire you. Visit LiveCareer and use the resume building tips and tools on the site to reexamine your on-the-job accomplishments (which you DO have), and find out how to showcase them in the best possible light.