What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (2024)

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (1)

By Jennifer Parris

Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a job search and you’ve been giving it your all, despite your best efforts, you just can’t find a job.

It can be disheartening not to see results from all your hard work, but don’t despair. By following a few simple tips when you can’t find a job, you can turn your job search into a success!


FlexJobs is the longtime leader in helping job seekers find the highest-quality remote, work-from-home, hybrid, and flexible jobs. You can sign up for premium-level access to our database of hand-screened job listings, as well as job search and career webinars, and many other great resources! Learn today how FlexJobs can empower your job search!

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (2) Can’t Find a Job? Consider These 13 Tips

1. Take a Break

You don’t need to quit your job search entirely, or even take a months-long hiatus, in order to give yourself a break from job searching. Even taking just a day off every now and then can recharge your batteries so you’ll feel ready to jump back in, refreshed and ready to go.

It’s OK to take some time off from your job search once in a while. Allow yourself a day or a few days off and spend that time doing something that energizes you and makes you happy, and reflect on what’s going well in your search, says FlexJobs Career Expert Toni Frana. Afterwards, you’ll find you’ll be able to get back to your job search with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

2. Go Where the Jobs Are

Some people will move to a different city, state, or country to find a job in their field. But if you’re looking for a remote job, your location may not be a significant factor. It does, however, help to target your search to the fields and jobs that are most compatible with remote work. Do a bit of research on who commonly hires in your field to help speed along your search, suggests Frana.

3. Spruce up Your Online Presence

Studies have shown that the majority of hiring managers will look at a person’s online presence even before reaching out to them for a job interview. How do your social media profiles look? Are they a mishmash of (public) family photos and some political point-of-view posts? One of the most important aspects of your job search is to ensure that your online presence is up to date and professional.

Take the time to clean up your profiles, or create some new ones that show you in a professional light, and keep them current so potential bosses can see that you’re active on social media…for all the right reasons.

4. Get Skilled or Schooled—or Both

If you’re finding that you aren’t entirely qualified for the positions you’ve been applying to, that could be one reason you can’t find a job. Employers often won’t hire someone who doesn’t have the majority of the skills, education, or job experience necessary for the position. If you need to boost your skill set to be more in line with what companies are looking for, consider going back to school or finding online resources to gain the skills you need.

5. Change Your Mindset

It’s easy to feel defeated if you’ve been job searching for a long time and not getting any responses. If this is the case, a change in perspective may be all you need to turn the corner and find some success. Just like taking a break from your job search is important, so is having the right mindset. It is hard to be a job seeker, applying for many jobs and possibly not hearing back from employers, says Frana.

Instead of going into each new job search with trepidation, try to stay positive and see every application as a chance to fine-tune and perfect your process.

Work to focus on the progress you are making with each application—honing your search tactics, getting efficient with your application process, and understanding what keywords to use for an ATS are all important tools to use as you go through your search, explains Frana. Each time you apply for a job, you are improving your process, and that’s great progress to landing a job. Celebrate those small steps!

6. Try a Temporary Job

If you’ve been job searching for a while and still haven’t landed the perfect position, you may want to consider taking on a temporary job. Temp jobs are an excellent way to get your foot in the door at a company, learn some new skills, and build your professional network. And you never know, some temp workers, even those who are seasonal, are offered permanent positions once their original assignment ends.

7. Build Your Network

Especially if you’re introverted, it can feel hard to put yourself out there to grow your network. But networking is one of the best ways to meet new people and generate leads that can help with your job search. While most in-person networking events are on hold during the pandemic, there are many online networking events you can do from the comfort of your home office that can yield some great results.

8. Review Your Resume

If you’ve been looking in your field and are qualified for the positions you’re applying for but still can’t find a job, resume mistakes and typos may be to blame. When you’ve read (and reread) your resume so often, it’s more likely you’ll miss some significant issues.

It’s always a great idea to have someone else review your resume before you submit it. A spouse, family member, friend, or resume review expert can look at your document with a fresh set of eyes and let you know if there are any glaring mistakes to correct before applying for a job. If that’s not an option, try changing the resume font, font size, and font color and then rereading your resume so it looks different to you. Then, when you are satisfied, change it back to the right font before applying, offers Frana.

9. Customize Your Application

When you’re applying to multiple positions over the course of a few days, weeks, or months, it can be tempting to use the same resume and cover letter over and over again with just a few small tweaks here and there. However, employers are looking for applicants who are the perfect fit, so taking the time to customize your resume and cover letter to each job will help you stand out from the crowd.

Keep in mind that one reason you can’t find a job may be because the applicant tracking system (ATS) isn’t picking up your information based on its keyword searches. Customizing your resume and cover letter to include relevant keywords that the ATS has been programmed to look for can give you a leg up in the application process.

10. Consider Other Industries

It might not be exactly what you want initially, but if you’ve tried to find a job in one industry and aren’t having any luck, it might be time to look at jobs in other fields. You may discover you enjoy a new career field much more than you thought you would, and you’d be surprised how many of your skills are transferable from one field to another. Once you’ve made the switch, you may even find that a career change is an exciting and transformational time in your professional life!

11. Look for Other Types of Flexible Work Arrangements

You might have your heart set on working from home full-time with flexible hours, but that may not be in the cards…for now. Thankfully, there are many types of flexible jobs under the big banner of work flexibility. Expand your search to part-time jobs, freelance or contract gigs, flexible schedules, alternative schedules, partial remote work, or any combination of those. Being open to other types of flexibility can lead you to job openings you may not have found if you were only searching for full-time, 100% remote jobs.

12. Practice Your Interviewing Skills

If you’ve made it to the interview stage in the application process, congratulations! But if those interviews aren’t leading to any job offers, it may be time to upgrade your interviewing skills. You can practice with friends, family, or even fellow job seekers who might be able to offer tips on what you’re doing right and where you might need some improvement.

If you have a career mentor or a former boss who you’re friendly with, ask if they can do a mock interview with you, too. If not, you may want to consider online career coaching as an option to get constructive and actionable feedback. With most interviews happening online these days, it’s also helpful to prepare for the remote interview process to set yourself up for success.

13. Pinpoint the Problem

If you can’t find a job, it’s helpful to take some time to examine why (and where) you may be struggling. What part of the job search process is giving you the most trouble? Is it that you can’t find jobs that you want to apply to? Or do you not hear back from employers after submitting your application? Are you getting to the interview stage and then getting passed over for positions? Understanding why you can’t find a job is an essential path toward correcting your course and landing your dream position!

For example, if you consistently struggle to find quality jobs in your industry, it might be that you’re looking in the wrong places. Big-box job search sites offer lots of positions, but the vast majority may not apply to you, your qualifications, or your flexible work needs. If you’re looking for a work-from-home job, a niche site (like FlexJobs) will help you find positions that are more targeted to your goals.

If you’re not getting invited to interview, consider if your application is the best it can be. Make sure that your resume has a modern format and contains relevant work experience for the job you’re applying to. If you’re interviewing with hiring managers and not landing the job, are your interviewing skills rusty, or are you unsure of how to sell yourself during an interview? Practice can help you work out the kinks so that you can get hired for the job you want.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (3)Still Looking for a Job? FlexJobs Can Help

Job searching can be challenging, and when you can’t find a job, it can feel like you’re stuck in career limbo waiting for the right opportunity to come along. Focusing on improving your job search process, expanding your search, and taking breaks when you need can lead you straight to career success.

FlexJobs offers flexible careers in more than 50 job categories, including freelance, flexible schedule, remote, and hybrid jobs. Tour our platform and learn how we can help you find a job.

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Leave a Comment


What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (9)


November 17, 2019 at 9:17 am

If you can't find a job or don't know what type of job you would like to do you don't have to force yourself, it can be stressful to find a job. The best bet would be to stop trying to hard take breaks and not focusing on it too much! I wanted to find a job I did everything applied online, went to angecies and even dropped cv's at my local stores, and nothing. Not to mention I was very polite on asking if I could lend them my CV in case they would be hiring. Now the only way I am living is by student loan and being a student at university. Best bet would be for you to become a student and live off the student loan, and once you finish your education at the time you should be introduced to popular brands.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (10)


November 14, 2019 at 1:53 pm

I've tried all these and still cannot find a work from home IT job to save my life. I'd imagine any WFH job posting results in a deluge of applications since this is what so many people want. However few employers offer WFH. Why? My theory is they are afraid to give up control. They enjoy having employees play their inane -ss in Chair game. What they don't get is that those with the privilege of WFH reward their employers with extra effort, loyalty, and increased job tenure. Plus it results in lower costs of office space, as well as having environmental benefits and employees not stressed out after a tough commute.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (11)


September 17, 2019 at 7:38 am

The same is all over the World. Smth is always wrong age, overqualified or underqualified etc etc...

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (12)


September 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

What if you've tried all 12 steps? Also, I dont think whoever wrote this article considered the fact that no job means no money, which means no moving, no transportation etc. .this is a very serious topic and for those of us who went to college and earned degrees and changed careers, went back to school etc etc etc are only getting older! Never believed in ageism until now. Being a 50 year old female is a bad combo when it comes to employment. I don't have ANY help from any family Or Friends. So what do those people do? Been looking for a permanent job for 8 years!!!! Its the most demoralizing experience especially since I was once employed as a Supervisor helping disadvantaged children. I changed my career because for about 5 years I looked for something in my field to no avail. Waste of a Masters degree! Now, even with certificates, I cant find any job! Been homeless, borrowed money and tried different cities, but I have 0 resources now and if I cant find a job in the next month, Im homeless again.....what does one do?

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (13)

livedraw sd

August 20, 2019 at 1:51 am

Some genuinely superb info, Glad I found this.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (14)


August 9, 2019 at 9:50 am

Start with the temp agencies and try to get in a job nobody wants such as night receptionist. In the meantime just temporarily take retail but never consider it anything other than a quick stepping point. Desk jobs are more secure or warehouse jobs . You need to have something recent to catch their eye so start working at McDonald's and then grab something as soon as you can before you quit the McDonald's job ? The key is keeping the ball rolling and up-to-date with how active you are. They like people that will take anything they don't like people that sit around waiting for the perfect job !!

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (15)

Mo Sam

July 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Hang on there Katharine I am in the same situation as you are in now, really giving up too.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (16)

Katharine Bisset

June 12, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I have been unemployed for over 5 years with some volunteer work in between and my last temp care job was 2012. I was on JSA but now on universal credit where I am struggling each month. I have been on UC for two years and thought it was a great idea at first but since no sign of a part time job has come through I am feeling very defeated. I live alone, am 37 and cant even get a cleaning job! I have therapy for my anxiety of returning to work as my job centre work coach does not exactly help much. I just find it hard living on this uc as granted benefits were never meant to be luxury but get real. I pay my rent in full and now adding the council tax and other bills there isnt much left. I have £30 left for 3 weeks and without help from my parents I would starve. I am hating doing daily 5 hour job search where I am lucky to have internet at home where I pay monthly so don't have to go out and find a working computer. I never thought I would be feeling so down being 37, I am giving up the hope I may never get a job. Nice to read I am not alone.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (17)

LornellFelder Jr

May 28, 2019 at 7:56 am

housekeeping cleanig 16$ hour

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (18)


May 13, 2019 at 12:50 pm

I am 45 and having a hard time finding employment as well. I have had some great companies call me in for interviews, only to be interviewed by younger females who could seem to care less about the job and want to talk about "the culture". It's ridiculous. I've applied for hundreds of jobs. I've gotten interviews- then rejection- which is even worse. The problem, I hate to say, seems to be that younger workers want to hire...younger co-workers.It's difficult. It's frustrating and I'm starting to get depressed. A year of this...and it's just insane. I hate to see it, but also glad to know I'm not the only 40+ having this same problem. I called out one company on it and I think they nearly shat their pants. Ummm...we're not stupid. We know when two 28 year-olds interview a 45 year-old...and another 20-something is hired....it's blatant age discrimination.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (19)


April 30, 2019 at 6:21 am

Interesting article but so far off base. I've been unemployed for over 7 years and have been diligently seeking a new job since> I was a systems administrator for a public company when a new CEO took over. First words out of his mouth was he was going to replace all the older workers with younger people. I was replaced by an inexperienced 26 year old. Yes age discrimination is alive and well and legal in my state.I would love to re-locate to an area where I can find work, but I cannot afford to move nor does my family want to be up rooted.I am on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and have been using them in a professional matter. That is no political posts, nothing that is NSFW, no family photos. Keeping it clean and professional. I engage in conversations and nothing has ever come forth in it but you always seem to bring out the 'arm chair experts' and the haters who make it their hobby to follow you and chastise you. So why bother with social media in the first place?I've even tried video resumes and ads, infographics, wrote numerous articles in my industry and created tutorial videos for what? No one ever responded or made an inquiry to see if I wanted to join them.As far as going back to school, great idea but when you are unemployed or under employed, going back can be costly. I'd rather put food on the table than sit in a classroom. Oh there are plenty of MOOCS out there but employers don't recognize them since no degree is attached to them. Plus some of the MOOCS leave much to be desired for they were horribly produced and the instructor was boring or they really never covered much material at all.I've registered with and applied through over 550 staffing firms and temp agencies and not one of them has picked up a finger to place me. Not one. And I've gone through some pretty big names in the staffing agency field as well as small firms.With the resume, I've custom crafted it to the job ad and more. I've had it reviewed by several resume 'experts' with one person who wrote 5 books on resumes. They all have said my resume is spot on. Altho some offered small tweeks such as change the font face from Times Roman to Arial and from Arial to Times Roman. As far as content, everyone said it was perfect. Yet it is not working. So far I've distributed over 8,000 resumes either through job portals, employer websites, snail mail. hand delivered, job fairs (I call them cattle calls), and more. I've gone as far as adding white text to the bottom of the resume to try and get through the ATS.Oh yes, network. network, and network. After 7 years of networking I can safely say that networking is just and excuse to pass time when nothing is working.Then there are the career coaches. I've worked with 8 of them and when see that they cannot help me, they turn their backs on me. I've even gone to numerous workshops to brain storm some new ideas and try to get an insite into what is going on. That was a waste of my time. All that came of them is something I already knew. And that is age discrimination is rampant and perfectly legal in my state and not one single politician wants to do anything about it.At one workshop the facilitator wanted everyone to be an entrepreneur and have their own business. Great but that was not for me. I had a business once before and didn't want to have those headaches again. He said that I had mental issues for not wanting to be an entrepreneur. So at the end of the day, you wind up settling for a menial 20 hour a week part time job at minimum wage with no future, chance of advancement or benefits just to put gas in the car.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (20)

My name's Jake

April 18, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Although not being as old as the majority of people in this thread (I'm in college), these issues about age discrimination is completely outrageous. Something has to change in this society if it means that laws against age discrimination have to be enforced. No one should be declined for or fired from a job, just because of age, disability, or even appearance. People should be accepted to a job based on their ability to complete their given task, and not be discriminated for anything out of their control. On this thread are hundreds of people who have been victims of mistreatment and discrimination, while other people who have it easy, because they were just the cheap, underqualified employees who manage to fit into the narrow, blind scope of large corporations. In a perfect world, we should have work equality, and there shouldn't be discrimination of people. We need to have our voices heard, and we need society to change, to accommodate all people of all kinds.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (21)


April 17, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Greetings!I am 37, can't find a job in digital marketing in Seattle for 4 months already. Feel very demoralizing, sent hundreds of applications. Recently moved to USA. Had several interviews with no offers. I got 18 years of experience, masters in Engineering and a bunch of certifications. I was very successful in my country, worked in IT as a head of a department and know my stuff very good. But I am struggling to start my career in the US. Amazon, Microsoft and other big companies- never even a single reply.Spent dozens of wasted hours answering recruiters questions.I am overqualified for entry-level positions and not qualified for management roles. Just keep optimizing my resume and sending more and more. Had several interviews with no offers. Started to work as a freelancer, Seattle is not very friendly for newcomers.The economy is Good and low unemployment is all BS.I feel pretty embarrassed cause can't find a job for such a long time.Thanks my family is supporting me during this long search.I could not imagine that it is SO HARD to find a job in US.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (22)

Dave R

April 17, 2019 at 6:41 am

Great comments Sue! I think you hit all of the major areas and had great advise for all. I’m personally living this emotional roller coaster right now, in my early 50’s.I would love to take you up on the resume review, can I get a good email to send to you? Thanks DR

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (23)

Torrance Ray Benberry

April 16, 2019 at 1:48 pm

I know exactly how you feel. I have put out at least a hundred applications through email and haven’t received 5 responses. I even spoke with a few recruiters which start of promising and then I don’t hear back from them and they don’t return my call. It’s very frustrating but reading your comments and hearing that you trust in God is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing the faith! Good luck to you and may God bless you.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (24)

Torrance Ray Benberry

April 16, 2019 at 1:37 pm

I really liked your comment and I found this thread asking Google the exact same question “Why can’t I find a job”. It fills like I have filled out hundreds of online applications but clearly not as many responses as jobs I have applied for. You mentioned you would look over a resume for free. Were you serious or making a point of not wasting money?

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (25)


April 10, 2019 at 9:06 pm

I came to this thread because I googled: "Why can't I find a job?" So I started reading and this is what I've found:-Jasmine Reed believes we are not willing to move for a job (truth be told, I haven't applied for jobs anywhere else but where I am so I haven't tested that ... yet), anyone else tried that?-Brian thinks the job vacancies are a scam (something about tax credits for businesses)-Jeanne linked a Forbes article on "Pain Packages" aka "the old way to send a resume" aka "snail mail". Good advice though.-There are several people commenting who are in their 30s and at least one or two who are twenty-something and one college age. So it can't be just because you turned "40 or 50".-Cathy says "money is no problem" ...ugh what are you doing here?So questions: Is it really that difficult for the older adult to find work? Are we looking in the wrong place? Some of us are REALLY HIGHLY qualified, so does that mean our personalities suck? One person said we should dye our grey hairs (lol! omg)...well yes, I mean you should TRY to look neat and professional. But there is nothing we can do about wrinkles. Well there IS botox, and stitching your skin to your hairline but that's expensive and your face will be frozen in one expression!My experience was surprise - the people who interviewed me (with one exception) were older...some older than me or at least they looked older. I thought I did really well on at least three but no offer. The ones who were younger...I balked. She looked like 18, it must've shown in my face. I didn't think I was a fit. That said, her boss looked like she was in her 60s and very grey. So go figure. If ageism is a real thing then I'm afraid it was learned from us. People our age are doing the hiring and the screening (I'm not referring to the IT industry here, they are young by design). So do we forget this when we have jobs? I don't accept that our experience isn't needed. Companies want to make a profit. Hiring people who can't do the job would impact their bottom line. But if the market is bad, then we may have to accept an "entry level" salary because the jobs I'm looking at claims entry level = 5yrs or more in experience. That's not entry level. My advice is: 1) Unless your resume really looks bad, don't spend money to revamp it, do that yourself. Those people are like sharks picking off the weak to earn their own keep. Actually send it to me and I'll do it for free. But there are several great templates out there. 2) There are people claiming to coach you to find a job. Unless they offer a money-back guarantees don't spend your money there either. 3) Do. Not. Give. Up. Keep trying, everyday. Send out at least one via email. Walk in the door of a company and drop off a resume. Ask your friends/family for help/leads. 4) Do not sit at home all day. Go for a walk. Go to church/temple/mosque. Go jog in the park, smile at people. Go visit a relative. Volunteer. 5) And on Friday...relax, read a book, watch movies and enjoy the weekend. Good luck to us!

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (26)

Bob Hoffman

April 2, 2019 at 4:58 pm

I get asked prior to any interviews, “when were you born? “ or “ what yrear did you graduate?”. If I refuse to tell them until after my interview, they tell me they must have it prior to the interview. As a result of my age I have been replaced by a couple of people who have been in my spot in line!

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (27)

Sara Smith

March 23, 2019 at 2:16 pm

This is disheartening for me and everyone who is looking for work. I have been searching for a job since November 2018. I was hired but part-time basis for 24 hrs per week at a company that design packaging for bottles in december.. When they started to decrease my hours.to 12 hrs from once a week. I knew they were not going to hire me, I am sending out resumes ten times a day. It is part of discrimination or you can not speak other languages. I have bills and rent to pay. I. might have to give up my apartment because I am using my saving to maintain. It is very scary because it is an unknown environment whether you are going to be homeless.

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (28)

Alex Hiraldo

March 20, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Landing a job these days are not promised. I have been searching for work for 2 1/2 months now and nothing. My resume is in top shape which employer pointed out but if its not one thing its another. Salaries are depressing or jobs are way too far. I have experience in two separate fields and I cannot get companies to bring me on board for some strange reason. I do calls, thank you letters, smiling on interviews, the whole nine yards. And most importantly, rent has to be paid and you have no income. How scary.....

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What to Do When You Can’t Find a Job: 13 Tips (2024)


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