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7 ways to get unstuck when it feels like your job search has stalled

Has your job search hit a wall? Take one (or all) of these 7 steps to blast through it and get the job you want.

7 ways to get unstuck when it feels like your job search has stalled

See if this scenario sounds familiar: You’ve sent countless emails and job applications, but to no avail. Or better yet, you’ve landed a few interviews here and there, only to be politely declined in the final round, or worse, you’ve been ghosted. Ring any bells?

Fear not. There are ways to break through the silence and keep your job search alive in spite of all of the potential dead ends. Monster spoke with workplace journalist Anita Bruzzese and career expert Smiley Poswolsky to highlight seven job search moves that’ll get you one step closer to a job offer.

Reach out to an old supervisor

If you feel like you’ve hit a rut, reconnecting with your previous supervisors can be a smart ploy to get the ball rolling again. A Monster poll found nearly 30% of respondents have boomeranged back to a former employer.

“Everybody’s connected,” says Bruzzese. “Bosses talk to other bosses. Managers talk to other managers.”

Even if you aren’t necessarily trying to land a job with your former employer, getting the word out that you’re looking for work can go a long way—anywhere from gathering potential letters of recommendations to suggestions for people to contact.

“You’re not just tapping in that supervisor,” says Bruzzese, “you’re tapping into that supervisor’s network.”

Follow up with any loose ends

Send an email to anyone who has contacted you beyond an application confirmation. Whether it’s a recruiter who asked you for a writing sample or an interviewer whom you spoke with on the phone, send an email re-confirming your interest in the position and ask if they’d like any additional information from you.

“What you want to do is, even though you’re young, show them how you can fit into that organization,” says Bruzzese. How? Bruzzese suggests offering concrete ideas that articulate the company’s vision as your vision. For example, “I want to help you tap into younger markets,” or “I have some new ideas for using social media to improve the customer experience.”

“Show them that you get it,” she says.

Write down three goals

At the beginning of each week, physically write down three tasks you want to accomplish.  

“Start small and set a reasonable deadline,” says Poswolsky. “If you set a deadline that you know is impossible, you won’t meet it and you’ll start a trend of setting deadlines that are unrealistic. Take baby steps, like ‘I’m going to write one cover letter today,’ and hold yourself accountable.”

Research shows that just by writing your goals down, you are 42% more likely to achieve them. So don’t just type them in your phone or make a mental note, physically dig out a pen and piece of paper and write them down. Doing so will help you prioritize your current needs and focus your efforts moving forward.  

Listen to a podcast

Instead of listening to the same old songs next time you’re in the car, try a podcast. And while there are some hilarious comedy ones out there, we’re talking about podcasts that can help with your career, like Monster's Jobsessed podcast series. You can also search iTunes for everything from industry-specific shows that focus on careers in sales or law, to general job search and career advice-themed podcasts.

“You don’t have to have a job to be learning,” says Poswolsky. “You can learn every day from listening to podcasts.” Afterwards, Poswolsky recommends writing down three things you’ve learned about the world and three things you’ve learned about yourself.”

Ask someone to scan your resume

While you’ve probably spent hours and hours perfecting your resume, a recruiter will do a brief six-second(!) scan before deciding whether you’re worth pursuing. Be sure your resume is in top form by getting a free expert resume evaluation from Monster's partner TopResume. You can also ask a parent, professor or other professional contact to speed-read your resume for 20 seconds (be exact and time them). Have them share what information caught their eye and what aspects fell flat. 

“Try and be specific on what you’re asking them,” says Bruzzese. “Don’t just ask them for a general review.” Start with questions like, “Does it look professional? Do you think I highlight valuable experience? Is there anything you think I’m not including?

Upload your resume so recruiters can find you

Sometimes you just need other people to do the work for you. Start by posting your resume on Monster—now you’re making your skills and experience searchable to thousands of potential employers and they’re trying to track you down, as opposed to the other way around. My, how the tables have turned!

Make a playlist

Studies show that listening to music can not only boost your mood but also increase worker satisfaction and productivity, especially for assignments that require minimal creativity. Next time you need to shoot out a series of emails or thank-you notes, consider putting on some background tunes to get you in the zone. 


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