Your Job Search Is Giving You Feedback, Even If It's Silence

It seems like every time I turn around, there's a new diet that people are talking about. Every time, the diet is offered as a surefire way to lose weight, and every time, there are some people who have amazing success stories and others for whom nothing changes.

When a diet works, there is clear feedback in the form of weight loss or feeling better. The reverse is true as well — a person who sees no difference, or only feels worse, after months on a diet is not going to continue with it indefinitely.

I don't see this happen very often with job searches, however.

Let's say you send out 30 different applications, and none of them result in a job interview. This is a form of feedback — it means the approach you're using is not working for some reason.

But most people don't listen for this silent feedback. Instead, they blame the economy (even though there are still plenty of other people getting hired) or their lack of experience (even though other people right out of school are getting hired), or they say things like, "It's a numbers game; I just need to get more applications out there."

What if, instead, there's something about your application materials you could improve? Wouldn't that be worth figuring out?

The same thing goes for if you're landing multiple interviews but not any job offers. That's feedback telling you that your application materials are great, but your interviewing skills are lacking.

You may even get explicit feedback about why you're not landing the jobs you interview for. Don't let yourself use this as an excuse! If every place is saying you don't have enough experience, you could say, "Well, it's not my fault; I can't just magically have 10 more years of experience."

But look at the broader feedback: Are you applying for jobs you're not qualified for? Do you maybe need to seek an internship or volunteer work in this field to gain additional experience? Or is there something about the way you're communicating in interviews that is signaling to hiring managers that you're not prepared to take on the job?

Pay attention to the feedback your job search is giving you, even if it's silent. If something is consistently not working, it's time to make some changes.