Most job seekers, including both recent college graduates and working professionals, encounter challenges when seeking a job change. Here are 10 specific challenges job seekers face and the reasons such obstacles arise.
By Aditya Sharma, Special to California Business Journal
- Abundance of competitors: The overall number of open positions is much lower than the number of job seekers applying for the position. Most entry-level positions have thousands of job applicants who are either college students or recent graduates. Due to the large pool of applicants, recruiters and hiring managers cannot dedicate sufficient time to each application, and hence candidates are not readily noticed. Today, automated software is available to help scan large pools of candidate resumes and select a few for interview calls. However, the accuracy of these software programs is still not confirmed, as they rely heavily on keyword density.
- Insufficient skills for experienced positions: Most positions require experienced candidates with specific skill sets and do not attract qualified candidates. Candidates often apply randomly for positions when they find that the requirements match their skills only somewhat, but this helps neither the company nor the candidate.
- Expired positions on job search websites: Most job search websites do not devote the effort to refine and filter expired or filled job position listings. Ideally, the company is responsible for recruiting an account manager to make sure that job positions are removed from the online listings as soon as they are filled, but this requires additional effort, and recruiters often ignore this task. This not only wastes the time of job applicants but also creates false hope for them for an interview.
- Complex visa requirements: International candidates face additional obstacles within their job search regarding their visa applications. Most working visas for international candidates require an additional investment of a couple thousand dollars, which presents an added financial burden to the company. Furthermore, visa processing is a time-consuming process and requires an investment of a couple of weeks, and in some cases a couple of months. Even after the effort, money, and time investment are expended, visa approval is not guaranteed. This is discouraging for both job seekers and employers.
- Preference for internal referrals: Companies prefer to interview candidates from within the company or those recommended by a current employee as compared to an unknown candidate who has applied online. This is definitely best practice, but it decreases the hiring opportunities of candidates who do not have strong connections with industry professionals. Online applicants only have opportunities to share their talents if there is no qualified candidate in competition for the position.
- Lack of knowledge regarding the right channels for employment: Most job seekers just apply online for positions of interest, and then they simply wait for feedback. They fail to consider other contact channels, like meetups, social media groups, and discussion forums on which they can find many relevant job positions and networking opportunities.
- Excessive dependence on career centers. Every school has at least one career management center responsible for inviting company representatives and industry professionals to the school to help students learn more about companies and potential opportunities. However, most career centers have either one or two facilitators, and it is difficult to cater to every student’s career needs. Career management centers provide some solutions, but students must also be proactive in their own job search, and this will greatly increase their chances of landing their dream job.
- Unawareness of actual strengths and weaknesses: Students often apply for every job position they encounter, which leads to numerous rejections. Graduates often fail to focus on the job requirements of each position and the skills they can offer. Even If they get an interview call, they are often unable to secure the job, because they lack sufficient knowledge of their own skills.
- Using the same resume for every application: Job seekers often do not focus on the job description and qualification requirements mentioned in the job positing. When applying for a job position, a generic resume submitted by candidate cannot reflect the candidate’s specific fit for the individual job position. The major reason job seekers make this mistake is lack of diligence to understand the job position. Candidates might do this because they apply for multiple positions within a short period of time, due to which they compromise the quality of each application. A properly crafted resume requires changes to cater to each position individually, including tweaks to the executive summary, technical skills, functional skills, and work experience. When specific skills are present within a candidate’s resume, hiring managers can more fully understand the applicant’s actual potential.
- Inability to write a cover letter: Cover letters are often required for specific job applications and offer a valuable glimpse into the applicant’s skills and strengths. Each company requests specific skills and qualifications, and an effective cover letter can give a job seeker a strong edge over his or her competition. In contrast, a poorly written letter can cause a company to discard a job seeker’s application without further consideration.
Upon reviewing these obstacles, job aspirants can identify the areas in which they can improve. The job market offers many opportunities, and candidates must focus on the right direction and adopt a smart and efficient strategy to secure their dream job.
Aditya Sharma is Co-Founder of HiCounselor LLC.