Getting to the Root Cause of Your Job Search Problems

Getting to the Root Cause of Your Job Search ProblemsHearing my son say, “Mommy, I have bloody hands” wasn’t exactly a stress-free way to be woken up at 5:40 am. Seeing the lower half of his face and the cuffs of his pajamas coated in blood didn’t help to calm the thoughts racing in my head. Not to mention the drops of blood on his bed sheet and on the rug.

But, of course, I couldn’t freak out on my little guy. “Let’s get you to the bathroom,” I said gently. “Does your mouth hurt, honey?”


OK, so that didn’t seem to be the problem. As I cleaned him up, I discovered the cause of everything — a bloody nose, likely caused by him scratching up there in his sleep. What a mess something so simple created!

It was a good thing I kept the initial panic I was feeling in check before I knew what was really going on. If I would have let it out, it would have scared and upset my son and unnecessarily escalated the situation.

Is this something that you as a job seeker might be doing?

Being out of work is really tough stuff, to be sure. I know how I have felt during times of transition — sad, scared, frustrated, angry, worried about the future. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the emotions that come to the forefront and to let the negative tapes swell and occupy a much larger space in our brains.

The problem with those negative tapes, however, is that they just give out these general messages that make you feel like no one will ever hire you. That the reasons for your lack of employment are so huge and insurmountable. Sadly, these thoughts that are consuming so much of your time do nothing to solve your problem.

But what if the real root causes that are keeping you from getting a job are much smaller than the negative tapes would have you believe — and can be corrected? Things like:

  • committing typos on your resume and cover letter
  • forgetting to change an old email address or phone number in your resume header
  • including too much irrelevant information, which doesn’t allow recruiters and hiring managers to see your value in the initial 6-second scan they take of your resume
  • not appropriately targeting a prospective employer (spray and pray doesn’t work!)
  • applying for every job that seems remotely possible because “I just want a job!” (no, you don’t — really, you don’t)
  • not focusing on the company and their needs in your cover letter and in an interview

Before going into full-blown panic mode because of your employment situation, don’t you think it’s worth the time to calmly assess the details to gain a full understanding of what’s happening?

Sometimes, you may find that the real problem is as simple as a little bloody nose.

Image courtesy of Bryce Edwards

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  1. Catie Watkins says:

    Melissa, Typos and spelling mistakes are really inexcusable errors in the age of spell and grammar checks on all computers. Getting focused should really help candidates chances of success, they need to focus on what type of job they want and then tailor their cv or resume to each individual job they apply for.

    • Melissa Cooley
      Twitter: TheJobQuest

      Hi Catie,

      Sure, typos and spelling mistakes don’t cut it, but even spell check isn’t infallible. The infamous misspelling of “public” is just one example.

      I also agree on the importance of candidates focusing on what they want to get out of a job search. Sometimes, however, the devil is in the details, and changes on a smaller level can bring about positive returns.

      Thanks for visiting!


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