5 Tips to RIPEN Your Job Prospects

Why am I not getting the job? 

One of the most common question asked by unemployed office and administrative professionals is this: “I have sent out all these resumes, so why am I not getting the job?”

Sound familiar? Here are a few pointers that may help:

1. Resume

Yes, you may have sent out some 200 resumes.  And still, you have no bites?  Think about it…your resume and cover letter are what you need to get you in the door.  So, if you are being rejected or overlooked, what do you think the issue might be?

I have heard so many people say, “I have been told my resume is exceptional so I know that can’t be the problem.”


In a later article,  I will do an extended review of resumes and cover letters but for now, let us assume that it could be the resume or cover letter that are the issues… If so, what can you do about it?

Begin by asking someone you really respect (and with relevant experience) to review your documents.  Have that person tell you honestly what issues they see. Put your ego aside. Listen to what they have to say.  It could be anything; a misspelled word, not enough job history, improper tenses, poor sentence structure or overuse of certain words…

The internet has a lot of information but much of it is irrelevant and written by people who are unqualified or have some other agenda.  Find someone who knows what they’re doing, can give you constructive criticism, and who doesn’t have a hidden agenda.

2.  Interviewing.

Interviewing skills can be learned. You might start by having a friend do a mock interview with you to see how you handle yourself.  Again, put your ego aside.  You’re looking for constructive criticism. Perhaps you are showing how nervous you are? Maybe you do not look the interviewer in the eye or use too many hand gestures.

Remember, you are selling yourself.  Let the prospective employer know that you are the best candidate for this job.

If no one is available to help you, then videotape yourself.  Share the video with a friend or mentor to ask for feedback. Give them some guidelines on what you are looking for and tell them to be honest.  Incidentally, this video exercise is excellent preparation for a “Skype” interview with a potential employer as well!

3. Preparedness.

You have the interview but are you really prepared?  Did you study the company? Did you research the department you wish to join or the personnel who are employed there? These are not difficult things to find out and knowing this information could put you head and shoulders above your competition.

What does the company stand for? What are its core values? Do you understand the company’s product & service offerings? Who do they market to and how? What recent challenges have they experienced and what are their plans for the future? You can find most or all of this information via the company’s own website, Google searches, and LinkedIn.

In the interview, try to tailor your questions to the job you are looking for as well as more general information about the company itself.

Practice your questions, but be ready to ditch your questions if they are not relevant. Try to think about the interview more as a conversation than an inquisition and for goodness sake… listen very carefully to the interviewer and pay him or her great attention and respect!

Although you may feel pressure, try to enjoy the process and let your enthusiasm shine. Show them what an asset you can be.

4.  Exterior.

When selecting your outfit for the interview, my advice is that you dress appropriately for the job you are applying for. For some professions, it would be silly to wear a suit for the interview, but for executive or administrative positions, a suit is certainly appropriate.  Use your discretion and if in doubt, go more formal rather than less.

Since an interview can come at any time, you always need to have your “interview clothes” at the ready.  Your wardrobe should be up to date but not too trendy.  It’s important to show that you take pride in your appearance. If you’re a woman, yes, that includes wearing makeup. Just apply it carefully and with a light hand.

Above all, be yourself – your best self!

5.  Networking.

This is a topic that I will cover more in depth in a future article. Essentially, you never know where the next job is going to come from, so always be networking. Keep your eyes on the prize -a job!  Networking can happen anywhere at any time!

Thank you, Deidra, for these great tips! I look forward to your future articles and diving deeper into some of these tips!


Posted in Advice & Tips permalink

About Deidra Jenkins

Deidra Jenkins is sharing with OfficeZilla her 30+ years of experience and insight into the administrative world with a series of "Dos and Don'ts" articles. Deidra is an Administrator for Del Monte Foods, leads an active group of 100,000 Administrative Office Professionals on LinkedIn and is an Employment Consultant for Kolman Ely Employee Services based in Philadelphia.


5 Tips to RIPEN Your Job Prospects — 6 Comments

  1. Deidra,

    What a fantastic blog, and I will take all your pointers on board. I know that my CV and cover letter were read by a professional and improved upon as it was “you” that made them look really professional and I use them whenever applying for jobs. Well done on this article, enjoyed reading it.

  2. I am getting interviews with my resume but don’t get past the interview stage. I just don’t know what else I can do. Pointers on that would be so helpful. I have been told that I interview great also. Help!

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