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How to NOT get paranoid during the job search

Dear Coach Joan,

Am I the only one getting paranoid during my job search? For the last three months I have sent out over 50 resumes and I have gotten no bites, no interviews. I am applying for jobs I am well qualified for. Should I assume that I have been blacklisted by former employers? I just don’t know how to interpret this rejection …

Sad in Santa Rosa,


Dear Jan,

No, you are not the only one feeling really bad about getting no responses to your online job search. It can be very depressing to feel as though you are being rejected before you’ve even had a chance to be interviewed.

The reality is that many, many people opt to submit their resume online and companies are overwhelmed with submissions. And sadly, unless you have the exact qualifications they are looking for you will often get no response, not even a rejection note. Is this right? Of course not! You have taken the time to submit your resume and possibly (hopefully) a cover letter explaining your enthusiasm for the organization and the position, and your key qualifications and how they align with the job requirements.

But, we live in a very competitive environment, and organizations do tend to be more opportunistic than considerate. Yes, this is my opinion, but it is backed up with many years of seeing candidates experience exactly what you are talking about.

That said, we in the career business strongly recommend that you get up from behind your computer and start getting connected with real people who can influence your job search in a real way. How might you do that?

  1. Professional Associations: Google to find professional, local organizations in your field. There are organizations for almost every industry from engineering to sales to marketing to manufacturing to hospitality and more…. The people who run these groups are typically professionals who are volunteering to play leadership roles and who are interested in advancing knowledge and education in their field. They often enjoy networking and helping others. You can go to their web sites and find upcoming meetings and I recommend calling ahead to introduce yourself to a couple of the leaders, and offer to volunteer at an event. They will often invite you to come free to your first meeting. Show your enthusiasm and  meet people who can help your job search.
  2. Job Support Groups: Almost every town and city has some kind of MeetUp and job support groups. You can check out your local chamber of commerce and even ask at your local library. There are often employment centers, too. These offer a way to meet people and work together on your job search, on your resume and career tools, interview skills etc. It helps to have support and accountability in the process. And you never know who knows someone at the companies you are aiming for. Having your resume delivered in person rather than online offers a much better chance of you being considered for the job.
  3. Confidence Cards: The opposite of being paranoid is being confident! I suggest you build something I call Confidence Cards. Use about 6 index cards. On one side write down a skill or capability you have. On the other side write out 2-3 examples that demonstrated those skills or capability. Once you’ve completed those you have your Confidence Cards. Discuss them and really take to heart the achievements and capabilities you truly have to offer! No once can take away the perseverance you showed in working and going to school to earn your college degree. No once can take away your research and writing skills that allowed you to do a fine master’s thesis. No one can take away your having reached quota in your sales job for 6 quarters in a row. Own your achievements, articulate and be prepared  to share them when networking and interviewing.

The job search process can be a difficult time and see it as a real JOB. Take control. It is about YOU owning your capabilities, building your confidence based on real skills and achievement. Then, you must get out there to connect with people who can then connect you with opportunity. As I always say to my clients:


Work hard to be ready, Jan. Keep yourself pumped up! Project confidence grounded in true achievements and skill. You will find and create opportunity this way!

Onward to finding a great job,

Coach Joan

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