Ask a Career Coach: Help! I'm Not Getting Interviews, But I'm Doing Everything Right

Dear Kyle,

I’m stuck in what I would say is a “rut.” I’ve been employed at my current position for a little over eight years and am sort of stuck. There’s no chance of advancement. I’m bored and know that I have many transferable skills (in pharmaceutical sales); however, because I don’t have direct experience in the area I want to take my career, I can’t even get an interview.

I’ve been sending out my resume for over a year now. I had it professionally assessed by someone experienced in this line of work, so I know it’s professional and highlights my transferable skills. I feel incredibly confident that if I could just obtain an interview, I’d be well on my way to getting the job. Any suggestions or insights on how else I can promote myself to stand out? I’m at a loss!!

Signed,

Stuck-in-a-Rut

Dear Stuck-in-a-Rut,

You just struck a chord with 90% of people who have tried to apply for jobs online. It’s tricky; you can’t ignore the standard application process, but what do you do when the portals become black holes? Assuming you’ve already been tweaking your resume and customizing your cover letter every time you apply for an opening, following up, and still getting no response, it’s time to take other action.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and I’m here to help you navigate it all so that you get interviews (and, subsequently, offers).

Build Your Personal Brand

Once you’ve decided to delve into a new line of work, one of the most important (and fun) things you can do is establish your personal brand. This is effective for two reasons. First, when a recruiter believes you’re a good candidate based on your resume, they will almost always Google your name or try to find you on LinkedIn before contacting you. You want the information that they find to further sell you as a great candidate.

Second, a strong and comprehensive online profile could get you found before you even know about an opening. Being directly contacted by a recruiter is entirely possible (and if you want to learn more about getting poached, check out what recruiter Jaclyn Westlake has to say).

If you’re in the early stages of building your brand, here’s what you need to know:

  • Make sure you have a completed LinkedIn profile that aligns with your resume. A high-quality headshot and full, detailed summary that demonstrates your passion for your new industry are essential components. The summary’s also a great place to sell your transferable skills.

  • Create a personal website. No need to take an HTML/CSS class when SquareSpace exists to make your life easier. Think of this as an online business card: Having one is essential, regardless of how many (or few) bells and whistle it contains.

  • Manage your social media. Tweeting about your profession or posting pictures of industry networking events can help paint a more complete picture of you and your aspirations. On the flip side, your social profiles are another thing a recruiter’s going to see if and when he searches your name online, so make sure they don’t contain anything you wouldn’t be proud to share.

I should note that you want your brand to reflect both passion and skill in the industry you’re seeking. If you can’t honestly do that right now, then you’ll need to take a class, find a side gig, or volunteer so that you do have that experience. Then make sure that’s highlighted on your personal site or on your LinkedIn profile.