Five Excuses That Hurt Your Job Search

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It's hard to believe that it's already January 2013. Where did the last year go? For most people, the transition to a new year is the time to look back and reflect on the things that went well, the things that weren't so good, and the things that we want to work on over the next year.


Many of the more popular New Year's resolutions center around career opportunities. From finding a job to getting a promotion, the new year offers us a blank slate with unlimited potential to reach our goals. The only problem is that too often we fill that blank slate with excuses and negative energy. If your goal for the new year is to find a job, there are some excuses you might be guilty of making that sabotage your goals before you even start working on them.


Here are five common excuses that can hurt your job search:


"No one is actually reading my resume." - I've heard this one more times that I can count. I know that sending in resumes and not hearing anything back can be frustrating and make you want to throw your hands in the air and give up, but that isn't an effective solution. If you're worried that your resume is boring and that it doesn't entice employers to want to learn more about you - change it. Even if you aren't getting many interviews, know that as long as your resume is targeted to the job you are applying for, someone is probably reading it. If you aren't getting much mileage from yours, maybe it's time to scrap your old resume and turn yours into a more effective marketing tool.


"I'm too old." - This is also one that I've heard on numerous occasions. Sure, there are some companies who won't hire people over 50, but they are the minority. Age discrimination is illegal, and although I know that it happens, there are still plenty of companies that don't consider age as a factor in the hiring process. The biggest problem that older individuals have when looking for a job is that they are less likely to embrace new technology and get involved with social media. The job search has changed dramatically in the past few years and if you aren't online and engaged with social networking, you'll miss out on job leads and hiring managers will assume that your technology skills aren't up-to-date. To combat this negative preconception about older workers, put links on your resume to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Make the point up front that you know what it takes to compete in today's job market.


No one is hiring - My teenage daughter has been trying hard to find a job recently and made the excuse over and over that the places she wanted to work at just weren't hiring. She would call the store or check their employment opportunities on their website and each time she would be told that they simply weren't hiring. Still, every time she went into the store, there was a new face at the register, making her realize that maybe they were hiring after all. The thing is, hiring needs can change from day to day. Sometimes, even the store manager won't have the correct information. If there is a company you really want to work for, put in an application or send in a resume. Even if they aren't hiring now, having your information on record means that they can consider you whenever they have a new opening.


"I can't afford a pay cut." - Taking a pay cut is hard - especially if you've been working in your field for a long time. Accepting a lower paying or entry level job is tough, but it's not just about how much you're being paid. If the job has the possibility of advancement, then maybe it isn't a bad decision. Once you get your foot in the door, you can show your worth to your employer. Instead of focusing on the job itself, try looking at the career possibilities it provides. If the job offers a stepping stone to other jobs that fit you better, maybe it's worth taking the pay cut for now.


"It's the economy." - This is one of those excuses that make me think that the person saying it has just given up. Yes, the economy is bad and it has been for some time. Although the job market is tight right now, there are still jobs to be had. On average, someone who is out of work will be looking for a job for a longer period of time than they would have in years past, but they still do find work. If you've been looking and still not finding anything, maybe it's time to get creative and try different job hunting tactics - like networking or volunteering.


There's no doubt about it, finding a job today is hard - but not impossible. To increase your chances of finding the right job you have to make every attempt to stay positive, be enthusiastic and develop a marketing strategy that best shows what you're all about.


Do you ever hear yourself or a friend making these excuses? What do you do to stay positive about your job search? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Photo Source: MorgueFile


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the great comments! @Diane - You're right, I'm younger than 50. I'm 39 but there are companies who think I am too old. Age discrimination happens, but it doesn't happen everywhere.It's a shame because 50, or even 60 doesn't mean that you're done.
  • Elijah f
    Elijah f
    Great information.
  • Herman B
    Herman B
    Very interesting article. The perceptions attached to age (+60) may have changed in Europe and the Americas but surely not yet in South Africa! The over 55 years people have so much to offer and contribute to a company's bottomline and should be considered more. But instead, cheaper and far lss experienced labour resources are utilised at the expense of progress and profitability. We know (surely by now) what it takes to be successful in the South African labour marketHerman
  • Steve w
    Steve w
    Very helpful input. I have updated my Linkedin site with my detail working experience, added search expertise keywords, adding more contacts. And try to add local contact to my list.
  • Diane R
    Diane R
    Your comments about periodically checking back to see if new openings occur are good.I see from your picture that you are younger than 50, so your comments that being over 50 and rejected are inaccurate. It happens at nearly every single company. No interviewer has ever commented to me that they checked my LinkedIn account. If they had, they would have hired me. I am "overqualified", "overeducated", - in short over 50. No one wants to hire their mother.
  • Beverly S
    Beverly S
    I enjoyed reading this information, I'll be 51 tomorrow and I have a 15 yr old son. I quit working 12 yrs ago after my husband died,but I've worked temp jobs and for the past 3 yrs worked as a Security Officer. I will have to work after this yr with more money because we get SS from his Dad, I've worried about what I can do to get started again. I want a Clerical job. I worked in Finance for more than 18 yrs. I can't go back that far and Im great in a customer service/ office position.Im just a Receptionist/switchboard/HR, Security. I need a resume..  
  • Gary G
    Gary G
    This is an excellent article with some good advise.  Matter-of-fact, it points out some very interesting tactics that I haven't thought about doing.  THANK YOU!
  • Sheri A. P
    Sheri A. P
    I am 52, have been out of work for 4 years now. And I do volunteering. I did have a temporary job last year for four months. My resume is awesome. I had many professionals tell me so. What more can I do?
  • Ravi N
    Ravi N
       Enhance my skill in any department in such a way so that learning and potential are the of working environment where not only knowledge ,experience and abilities can be utilized but also offers  strong for learning and expose me to new challenges
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @Terri, great advice. Many people have trouble communicating professionally. Text message style typing has become so popular, but it's not appropriate when you're looking for a job (or anytime outside of a text message, imo).@Amy, being out of work is really hard. Think about what you really enjoy doing the most, what you are good at and what you have to offer an employer. That will get you headed in the right direction. Once you know what you want and know that you can do the job, the next step is to market yourself to that employer. Good luck! I wish you all the best!
  • Terri D
    Terri D
    Amy, if you are using text lingo to address employers in messages, emails, or cover letters, this could indicate a problem.  I am only saying this in view of the way your comment is posted here.  It may be that you were only using abbreviations and "u" here for "you" and not doing as such with your official job search.  Just an observation.  I hope you find something soon.  Try reaching out to confidential searches and recruiters and professional network sites such as
  • Amy J
    Amy J
    i have a very hard time finding a job after being out of one for four yrs what would help me better at finding one i read this article and i feel that it is very hard finding a job and people do come up with excuses all the time how can u work on that feeling
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the great comments. @Olivia, being determined counts for a lot. Even when these excuses are partially true, they aren't reasons to stop looking for a great job.
  • Sherry H
    Sherry H
    The positive comments I say to my friends and family are, you may have to relocate.  You may have to take a cut to get the job, but in time, you could make a higher salary.  Make yourself available for any possibility.  Smile when you are having a phone interview.  Come across happy and eager to get the job!
  • Olivia H
    Olivia H
    I have heard so many friends and family make one or more of these excuses, that it can be discouraging. Also I finished LPN school at the age of 40, and being older in some fields of work can be viewed as an asset by an employer. It shows continued determination, as well as provides younger employees the opportunity to "pick the brain" of someone with much more experience in the field and can be a learning experience for everyone.
  • Ida B
    Ida B
    I want to be notivated and reach my goals.
  • ronald m
    ronald m
    I agree that the job seeker in today's job market must keep a positive attitude and be more creative in order to get the attention of the hiring managers in today's business firms.

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