Unemployed? Stop Applying to So Many Jobs

Professional Development & Opportunities
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You know the saying, “Applying to jobs is a full-time job”? Don’t listen to it.

Applying to jobs you’re not qualified for (which 50% of job seekers reportedly do) is counter-productive to your job search. Competition is too fierce. Even qualified applicants aren’t getting callbacks.

So stop applying to so many jobs and start becoming more hireable. Here’s how:


Volunteering can increase your chances of being hired if you’re strategic about it. Unemployed teacher? Help out with after school programs or volunteer to be a coach’s assistant. Web designer? Find a local non-profit in desperate need of a re-design and offer your services pro bono. By volunteering somewhere relevant, you’ll keep your skills fresh while enhancing your resume.

Keep Your Skills Current

If you lack a skill commonly required for jobs you’re seeking, spend time each day building that skill. Take advantage of numerous free resources online, including tutorials, ebooks, and how-to videos. If you’d rather have a more structured setup, then look for free or affordable adult education classes in your area.

Alternatively, if you already possess the necessary skills but haven’t been practicing, the do so. Skill atrophy is a huge concern for hiring managers, so practice and get yourself ready for pre-employment skills tests.


There are two parts to networking: reconnecting with your old contacts and forming new ones.

Depending on where you are in your career, reconnecting might mean contacting professors, college advisers, and internship supervisors, or it might mean getting in touch with old colleagues, bosses, and business acquaintances. Find them, email them, call them. Ask them to coffee. Ask how they are (networking is social, after all) and let them know the specifics of your job search (industry, location, etc). See if they know of anything or anyone. Most importantly, follow up!

At a temporary dead-end with your current contacts? Make new ones. Go to networking events sponsored by your university, industry, city, and so on. And look beyond traditional networking events. Consider going to lectures, neighborhood council meetings, and social events in your community. Each of these provides an opportunity to meet people with similar interests, and you can have a fun experience in the process. Again, follow up!


Some job seekers are opposed to anything that’s not a full-time job. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your mindset.

Freelancing is a great way to boost your skills, resume, portfolio, professional network, income, and confidence.

(Search freelance openings now »)

Build an Online Presence

Get found online. Start a blog, spruce up your social network profiles, create an online portfolio to showcase your work. Find companies you’re interested in working for, subscribe to their blogs, and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Find decision-makers at those companies and follow them as well. Learn what they’re talking about, do a little research, and then engage with them online. Impress them with your interest and insights.

Worst case scenario — you’ll learn what’s important to them and use this information to customize your application when a job opens up.

Better case scenario — you’ll establish a rapport with someone who will recommend you for a position and/or tell you about unpublished openings.

Best case scenario — you’ll impress someone so much over time that they’ll create a job for you or bring you in for an exploratory interview.

What are you doing to become more hireable? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by

Rachel Dotson is a former digital marketing manager and former blog contributor at ZipRecruiter. She is based in Venice, California.

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