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In today’s job market, it’s very easy to become frustrated by the lack of response to your resume or application submissions. The fact is there is about a 6:1 ratio of job applicants for each available position. What does this mean? It means you have to stand out, head and shoulders, above the rest of the applicants.

Potential Reasons You’re Not Getting Hired

It means you have to have the perfect resume and cover letter, tailored for each position that you apply for, that easily shows that you have the background (or potential) for the position. Let’s assume you have all of that, and you’re still not getting calls. There may be some reasons why you're not getting hired:

You Have Not Fully Grasped The Reality

...of today’s market and the massive economic upheaval that is occurring. All of the fancy degrees, past experience, and so on just isn’t enough today. These things DO matter - it’s just the applicant pool is full of people with these backgrounds. Thus, the competition is much more stiff. Nothing in this job market will come easily. Some positions will come more easily than others, but they may be positions for which you feel you’re overqualified. The “gem” positions will typically take much longer and be harder to get.

You Don’t Apply

...because you don’t like to be rejected, and if you don’t apply, you can’t be rejected. This is circular logic, and self-fulfilling (and self-defeating) behavior. You don’t know until you try. In the marathon that is today’s job search, you’re going to be rejected until you’re not. It’s a fact of life. We’ve all been there. It’s not personal; it’s just business. It is unlikely this reflects on you as a person (unless you had an interview and you totally bombed – in that case, instead of focusing on the negative, learn from the experience, and go forward better prepared the next time). You may have been a great fit for some positions – someone else may have just fit a little bit better. In an employer’s market, this happens. When the tide changes, and it will, this will be less of an issue.

You Don’t Take Your Job Search Seriously

If you’re unemployed (or underemployed), your job search should be at least 30-40 hours per week – responding to ads (low value return, but necessary), resume and cover letter customization, and networking, networking, networking (did I mention “networking”?). If you are employed and are looking for a new gig on the sly, at least 10-20 hours per week would be appropriate. Watching daytime television and hanging out with friends is not likely to get you a new position. Looking for a job is a job. Treat it like one. What’s listed above falls into the category of “bad habits” for lack of a better label. These habits are very easy to break – with focus and discipline. By getting into good habits, your position search should be that much faster and more fruitful. However, that totally depends on you.

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Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.