How to Overcome Challenging Obstacles in Your Job Search

Nothing is more frustrating than researching and applying for jobs but receiving not even the smallest word back on a potential interview date, let alone any form of feedback when you actually do bag an interview and give it your best.

You know you’re applying for the right roles or perhaps you feel ready for that career change; however you hear nothing but the disheartening sentence ‘the other candidate was a better fit for the role’. If you’re landing interviews then it’s all a matter of stepping up your game to ensure you follow through to the end result you ultimately deserve. Even if you’re not quite up to this stage – your willingness to seek out a new role might be trumped by anxieties and challenges that are coming your way.

With all this in mind let’s explore the challenges job seekers face and how to overcome them. Simply scroll through the article or click the images below to jump to a section:

Career change

Lack experience

Entry level 

No feedback

No connections

Career gaps

Not liking you

Lack interview skills

No degree

CHALLENGE 1

YOU WANT A CAREER CHANGE, BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO GO ABOUT IT

One of the biggest reasons we decide to make a career move is happiness and fulfilment in our jobs (or lack of). John Lees from The Kobold Magazine has stated: “What makes sad reading is that there are an awful lot of people unhappy at work, and not feeling like they are getting anything out of their job. There are also vast numbers of people that want change, but stumble at the first hurdle and don’t know what direction to take”. We often find that if we do pick a starting point during our job search, we experience difficulty tackling it head on.

You might think you don’t have the necessary skills to make the move possible. We recommend analysing each and every skill set to your desired industry and highlighting transferrable assets that you can bring to an employer despite not being a complete specialist in the industry.

A career change generally means you may have to cut back on salary as an entry level role will give you more of a chance of setting foot through the door, however you should also take into account how long you’ve been in the world of work and identify any gaps you feel are necessary to fill with the required skills.

Seeking part time, voluntary or virtual work in your chosen feel might just be the way to build up your skills whilst you’re applying for the roles you desire, this way you’re showing a sense of willingness and dedicated character to your prospective employer that you’re taking your career move seriously.

CHALLENGE 2

YOU DON'T HAVE 'ENOUGH EXPERIENCE'

Skills, skills, skills - new skills needed for the jobs these days. Especially STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. Older people might need some retraining and issues of ageism is a big one these days voices Julie Kantor, President & CEO of Twomentor, a business specialising in high impact training and development

Our previous point of seeking alternative work to acquire new skills can certainly help here. After all, even if you’re a graduate from a top-class university, you’ll have no chance up against a candidate with 10 years experience in your industry.

An internship or extra training just might be the thing to differentiate YOU from the crowd. Better yet – an Apprenticeship is another way to go as it not only pays you a living wage, but also gives you the chance of a permanent, higher-paying position.

It's also important to note that even if you don't have enough experience, the presentation of your CV can speak a thousand words: Recruiters and managers often have strong aversions to careless mistakes. No matter how hard it is for them to do, job seekers must work hard to ensure their written work is perfect. Proofread, proofread, proofread, and get others to proofread it too says Suzan St Maur - Best-Selling Author and Marketing Writer. Polish your CV to perfection, make it legible and precise and you'll be sure to impress the hiring manager.

CHALLENGE 2

ENTRY LEVEL SALARIES ARE DEPRESSING TO LOOK AT

"I think the days of doing a job just to do one are gone - people are looking for causes to support and movements to create and work that truly fulfills their passions while leveraging their gifts and talents - if you decide not to be an entrepreneur; to find a company to work for that fuels your spirit and awakens the Incredible in you!" - Darnyelle Jervey of Incredible One Enterprise

It’s an awful truth that entry-level positions are often underpaid. However there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – these situations are temporary, often lasting between 1-2 years and within that time should begin to see positive changes in your duties and salary.

You have to question yourself if it’s worth the move and assess your current expenses and work out what you can cut back on without decreasing your quality of life. Don’t forget that even if you’re being interviewed for an entry-level position, you can still negotiate salary expectations. The worst answer they can give you is a no.

Further reading:

5 Times You Should Consider Taking a Pay-Cut​

​Accepting a Lower Salary Job

CHALLENGE 4

YOU'RE JUST NOT GETTING ANY FEEDBACK

Whether you applied for a job two weeks ago or just had an interview – you still, and rightfully so, want to hear feedback, not only does this look at ways to improve but it also lets you know where you stand.

Christopher Mele over at NY Times discusses with various business fellows and coaches that behavioural tactics you exude can ensure you’re memorable and come across well in your interviews - enough so to be contacted: “Don’t use language that is too tepid” such as ‘possibly’ or ‘maybe’ – as these words make you come across uncertain about your intentions.

Saying you can use X, Y and Z applications provides you with no credibility – ensure you discuss positive results and outcomes of those X, Y and Z applications that relate to the position you are being interviewed for. This way you’re adding value to your skills, giving the interviewer no reason to exclude you from further interviews.

Further reading:

How To Ask About Your Interview Status

So You Didn't Get The Job - Asking For Feedback The Right Way​

CHALLENGE 5

YOU JUST DON'T KNOW ANYONE

Certain industries are harder to break into than others, especially if the demand isn’t there. By utilising social media networks, specifically LinkedIn and Twitter can allow you to connect with industry professionals, or even people like you wanting to break into the industry.

Try and make personal connections by talking about your hobbies and interests on the outside – be genuine in your approach and show true interest in the person you’re trying to connect with. Make it about them and have your contact info ready to keep that connection alive.

You can utilise the internet further by researching networking events in your local area – this way you can meet people in person and gain additional insight into their lives in the industry, in real time! By meeting you new industry professionals you also develop your interpersonal skills and can use your newfound insight in an interview to show you’re proactive and keen to progress in your chosen industry.

If you get a rapport going with a professional, you go in their good books and become memorable. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and build contacts – always remember that they most likely started out just like you.

Further reading:

Make Job Search Connections in Surprising Places​

CHALLENGE 6

THERE'S AN EMPLOYMENT GAP YOU'RE TOO ASHAMED TO JUSTIFY

Certain industries are harder to break into than others, especially if the demand isn’t there. By utilising social media networks, specifically LinkedIn and Twitter can allow you to connect with industry professionals, or even people like you wanting to break into the industry.

Try and make personal connections by talking about your hobbies and interests on the outside – be genuine in your approach and show true interest in the person you’re trying to connect with. Make it about them and have your contact info ready to keep that connection alive.

You can utilise the internet further by researching networking events in your local area – this way you can meet people in person and gain additional insight into their lives in the industry, in real time! By meeting you new industry professionals you also develop your interpersonal skills and can use your newfound insight in an interview to show you’re proactive and keen to progress in your chosen industry.

If you get a rapport going with a professional, you go in their good books and become memorable. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and build contacts – always remember that they most likely started out just like you.

Further reading:

Make Job Search Connections in Surprising Places​

CHALLENGE 7

YOU'RE AFRAID THEY WON'T LIKE YOU

The best mantra to keep in mind when walking into those interviews is that you simply cannot please everybody.

You don’t have to have fully mutual interests or a quirky personality to be liked. Being true to yourself and showing your personality at its best AND landing the job will result in a more satisfying feeling that your genuine nature got you to your position. Understanding basic interview etiquette such as a handshake upon greeting and leaving your interview, simple manners and showing a genuine interest in your employer can work wonders for a first impression and successful interview.

Further reading:

​Why Do Interviewers Act Like I'm About to be Hired And Then Reject Me?

CHALLENGE 8

YOU LACK INTERVIEW SKILLS

Maybe you’ve completed those unpaid internships or those online courses, but it all really boils down to how well you do in your interview. You’ll ruminate thoughts such as remembering what to say or questioning whether your prospective employer or HR manager will even like you. These thought processes can bring up anxious feelings, and can even cost you the job.

Try asking a family member or close friend to run through some interview questions by holding a ‘mock interview’. Lots of practice, even whilst off the record can work wonders for your confidence and give you an idea of what to expect on the day of your interview.

Further reading:

How to Handle Stress During a Job Interview​

CHALLENGE 9

YOU'RE QUALIFIED, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE A DEGREE

Yvette Lamidey the Business Locksmith, based in Milton Keynes (UK) has said “It’s often possible that someone has the right qualifications and if the employer only took the time to talk to them would realise that they are actually worth taking on and investing time in so they gain the experience”.

She also discusses the likelihood of employers not taking on a candidate due to a lack of degree, despite years of expertise – “These are false barriers that employers are putting up - sometimes because there are so many candidates to choose from and sometimes to make the selection process easier. And you know what they might be just losing out on the best person they ever employed!

Whether you have a degree or not – be rest assured that hiring managers receive countless applications and unfortunately have to filter through with what is deemed ‘unfair’ criteria, especially if you have years of experience in the field and a lack of degree. Our advice here is to not take rejections personally, as there is evidence around continuing growth of hiring managers considering candidates without qualifications which gives hope to those with years of experience in their field.

Further reading:

​You Might Be More Qualified For That Job Than You Think

With all our tips in mind, always remember that if you’re applying for a new job, have just been made redundant or are after a career change – You must remain positive despite the odds. John Lees has also advised to “Look hard at the things which get in the way of change – risk, uncertainty, lack of confidence”. Question yourself as to when you’ve overcome these barriers before in any past hardships you've faced, and you’ll be able to apply this to your job search.