It may feel like you’re being productive to submit resumes and brush up on your LinkedIn profile, but pause…you may be getting ahead of yourself. Check the signs that you’ve started your job search too soon.

Here are 3 signs you’ve started your job search too soon

Sign #1: You apply for jobs you know you don’t want

THE CONSEQUENCES: You are spending time on these job sites like it’s a part-time job, and you have nothing to show for it. Instead of a productive job search that gets you closer to your goals, it drains and demoralizes you.

THE REAL PROBLEM: You don’t know what you want. You don’t know what will be fulfilling while meeting your income needs and using your strengths. So you’re just scrolling and scrolling, but you don’t even know what you’re looking for.

THE SOLUTION: You need a thorough, intentional discovery process to learn your criteria for fulfilling work. You need to know what will fulfill your sense of purpose, what skills and strengths you want to use, what your income requirements are, what kind of life you enjoy outside of work and THEN you can explore what careers might accommodate all of those things.

Sign #2: You don’t get interviews OR you don’t perform well in interviews

THE CONSEQUENCES: You don’t get offers. You don’t even get your foot in the door, and you get more discouraged than ever.

THE REAL PROBLEM: Let’s assume you’re applying for the right kind of position for you. No interviews and poor interviews can indicate that you don’t know what you have to offer or how to communicate it.


  • Step 1: Know your value. Own it. Stop taking what you can offer for granted (an issue for almost every client I’ve ever worked with).
  • Step 2: Communicate what you offer in a currency the other person values. You’ll never be able to please everyone; this is about learning your audience. If I were to pitch myself as a project manager, that pitch would sound different if I was talking with a financial firm vs. an arts organization vs. a university. I would adapt my message to their values, language, and culture so they could better hear what I’m saying.

ALSO POSSIBLE: You’re doing everything right, but you’re getting passed over because they are trying to balance out their team, bring in people with identities and life experience you don’t have, or maybe you’re up against racism, sexism, or ageism. That brings us to the next sign:

Sign #3: You personalize & internalize rejections in your job search

THE CONSEQUENCES: You get so discouraged that you question your abilities, you apply for positions that don’t meet your needs, OR you just quit trying.

THE REAL PROBLEM: Not being emotionally prepared for the rollercoaster that is the job search process.

THE SOLUTION: Get tools, community, and mentorship to keep things in perspective, interpret the feedback you get, navigate challenges, and recover from disappointment.

Have you started your job search too soon? How will you backtrack and prepare to do it better next time?

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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