3 common job search roadblocks and how to jump them

What do you do when you’re ready to take the next step in your career and you know exactly what you want to do, but there are too many obstacles in the way? Do you:

A: Give up and say it’s all too hard, or

B: Look for different ways to get to where you want to go?

(Hint. The answer is B.)

Sometimes it can be hard to see how you can change your situation, but if you know where to look and are prepared to step outside your comfort zone, you can still get your dream job. Let’s look at three of the most common roadblocks that might be sitting in the middle of your career pathway and how you can get around them.

Ben Chan - CEO Envato

Ben Chan - CEO Envato

There’s nothing available right now

This one’s a bit of a cop out (sorry if that offends you, but it’s true). There are always jobs available. They might not be ones you are aware of, though. If you are only looking at online job boards or in your local community, then you are limiting your view. That’s like standing at a scenic lookout with your destination on the horizon and only seeing the branch that’s in front of your face. What you need to do is step back and take in the big 360-degree view. Get a drone camera out there and zoom it around. You’ll likely discover that there are many pathways that lead to where you want to go.

One of the best ways to do this is to put yourself in positions where you can network with others in the industry you want to work in. Go to industry events and meetups. Contact hiring managers or people of influence in their field and ask them for advice. Even meet up with them for a coffee if you can. Sometimes the companies aren’t even looking to hire, but once they meet you, they may decide to give you a chance or to refer you to a different organisation that is hiring.

Another approach is to use social media and state that you are actively looking for work. Ask for referrals and update your profile so that there’s nothing embarrassing on there. Facebook and Twitter may work for referrals from family and friends, however, if you are looking for a professional role, you’ll need to get on LinkedIn. For some excellent advice on creating a profile that gets noticed and building a network, see our previous article on The Mentor List, Step out from the shadows and shine.

Too many people are applying

Why not look at the jobs that not many people are applying for? Maybe they are not advertised widely. Maybe they may be in an unfamiliar field. Maybe most people think they won’t have the right skills. Then again, maybe they’re right up your alley?

Here’s the thing. No matter how many people apply for a job, somebody ends up getting it. That somebody will most likely have gone that extra mile and done things that others weren’t prepared to do to convince the employer they were the right person for the job.

Raghav Haran has some excellent tips on how to do this in the article How to Get Any Job You Want (even if you’re unqualified) on medium.com. Haran says you need to convince the employer that you can do the job before you get the job. And, the best way to do that is to actually do the job. Study the job requirements, the employer, and their clients carefully, then do a pre-interview project that proves you know how to meet their needs. This could involve checking their online reviews for common complaints about the product, for example, then showing the employer how you would resolve those issues using a report or a product design mock-up.

I don’t have the right qualifications/experience

How badly do you want the job? If you really want it and you have the time, you could go out and get the right qualifications, even if that means going back to study in some way.

If you don’t have the time and the opportunity is sitting there begging, apply for the job anyway then convince the employer you can do the work. Of course, this will only work if you can do the job and have most of the prerequisites. The reality is that, in many cases, employers don’t really need you to have every qualification, they just want to eliminate the applicants that don’t stand a chance. They want people with the right attitude who will fit well into their environment more than anything.

Ben Chan has worked extensively with organisations like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs. He has bachelor degrees in Engineering and Actuarial Mathematics from Melbourne University, an MBA from Stanford University, and is currently the CCO of Evanto. In his podcast interview on The Mentor List, Ben shared how he found many unconventional ways to reach his career goals. These included skipping many of his Melbourne University classes and still finishing top of his class in both degrees. When Ben applied to work on the stock exchange floor at Goldman Sachs, he was told they don’t accept Stanford graduates. However, he didn’t let that stop him. Instead, he applied for work in another department and was then recommended for the stock exchange floor.

So, back to our original question. What do you do when there are roadblocks on your career path? You go out there and make new pathways for yourself. You’ll learn new things and enjoy the scenery along the way.


Call to action…

Hear more of Ben Chan’s personal story by listening to his interview on The Mentor List. You’ll be inspired by his razor-sharp focus and sheer tenacity. It might be just what you need to hear to help you gather the courage to step out on your own career path and stride toward your goals.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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