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Why You’re Still Unemployed . . . What’s Your Fault and What’s Not

why you're still unemployed

Why You’re Still Unemployed . . . What’s Your Fault and What’s Not

There are some reports that your job search should average one month for every $10,000 of annual salary you wish to earn – so your next $60,000 per year job should take about half a year to land. But what if it’s been much longer than expected and you’re still unemployed? Is that because you’re doing something wrong? Just unlucky? Just impatient?

why you're still unemployed

Here are reasons you’re still unemployed:

Too much experience. Ok, sometimes “experience” means “grey hair”. Which is illegal. While Americans are legally protected from age-related discrimination after age 40, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to prove that you were passed over for a job.

But sometimes too much experience isn’t illegal, just unfortunate. While it might seem unfair to get rejected for a position even when you’re willing to take the job, it’s not completely unreasonable.

First, the assumption could be that you are only going to to stay for as long as it takes to find a job more in line with your career history. Or, the company could be concerned that they can’t offer you enough money, or give you a real career path.

…or not enough. This one is pretty obvious to any recent college grad, or someone entering a new industry. If you are thin on previous job experience relevant to the position, it could be tough to get that first opportunity. As you can imagine, it’s frustrating to not have enough experience, to get experience. (Here are some tips we’ve discussed on how to get experience to help you get there.)

Too enthusiastic. Just like any dating advice column will tell you, people often can sense when someone is just too eager. Whether you’re trying to get an interview for a job or invitation to dinner, it might be worth checking if it’s time to dial it down. Enthusiasm is generally good, but if an interviewer suspects that it is more about wanting anything as opposed to wanting them, it could give a person pause.

…or not enough. For some people, a long dry spell of real opportunities can turn any chance into a desperate plea and they come off too excited. Others realize that they are pursuing a particular job simply because nothing else has come along, and that lukewarm interest bleeds into the candidate’s interaction. If you don’t want it, don’t waste your time or theirs.

If you’re still unemployed, that might not be a bad thing.

The average American full-time employee works 47 hours per week. You want to find a place that you like more days than not, that inspires you, that pays the bills, that does something you believe in. You might not get all of that, but maybe you should try. If for whatever reason, that job just hasn’t crossed your path yet, it might be good that you haven’t settled for something less.