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6 Reasons You’re Still Unemployed
October 25, 2016

By Kristine Penning,

Unemployed?  Maybe it’s time to reevaluate yourself. Check out this list of reasons you may still be unemployed and determine whether or not you might need to change.

1. You’re Overqualified. Or Under Qualified.

It’s a tough place to be—looking for a new job with years of experience, as many organizations seek out fresh talent. But really, organizations are looking for expertise as well. Don’t low-ball yourself. Employers will be annoyed if you’re applying to entry-level positions or perceive you as desperate. Keep trying for the types of positions your experience and education fits. It can be challenging when an employer may be searching for something so specific, but you’ve got to be honest with yourself and try.

Just the same, don’t apply to a job that you clearly don’t fit. Read the description. If you don’t meet at least some of the qualifications or experience desired, the employer won’t take you seriously.

2. You Don’t Network.

I get it, I’m an introvert and not great at networking either. But the positives definitely outweigh the feeling of discomfort. The saying “It’s not what you know but who you know,” is true in most cases. Seek out networking events in your area (websites like can help, or check out community event calendars) or visit with a mentor about their contacts. Then work on your confidence and think about some discussion topics. Don’t just generate small talk but discuss happenings and trends in your industry. Voice your opinions and expertise. You never know what might happen and who might just have a job opening (or know someone who does).

3. You Need to Work on Your Appearance.

I’m all for individuality, but I have to admit—when I see people with lots of very visible tattoos or earrings, I wonder who’s going to give them a job. The same goes for people who dress sloppily and won’t invest in a blazer and nice slacks. If you really want the job, dress the part. Cover up any tattoos and remove your piercings. Buy yourself some interview-appropriate clothes (and iron them). I’ve only worn my blazer to job interviews, but I’m glad that I have it even if I’ll never wear it again. And fix your hair/facial hair nicely! If you look unkempt, odds are, you won’t get the job. Check out our Pinterest for tips on dressing professionally.

4. You’re Annoying.

Remember when I mentioned the word “desperate” above? Persistence can be good in moderation (it helped me get my job with, but when you’re in an employer’s face constantly and won’t leave them alone, it’s a huge turn-off. Don’t call or email constantly asking if they’ve checked out your application, and don’t show up at their place of business to attempt to speak with them. Check out this past Employer Guide article from about ways to more subtly catch an employer’s attention without borderline-stalking them.

5. You’re Evasive.

Some interview questions about previous employment or weaknesses might be hard to answer. Especially if you’ve been fired before or have an unfortunate quality like a lack of confidence. Just be honest and answer the question. Weaknesses are important to know about. Your employer won’t discount you for them. If anything, they’ll applaud your honesty. Be sure to follow up with a positive note: “Yes, it didn’t work out at my previous workplace, but I’ve really worked on my skills since then and have references that can vouch for that.”

6. “You Got a Bad Attitude.”

Simple as that. You won’t get hired if you’re not eager about the position you’re applying to, if you’re depressed, if you’re angry and bitter, or if you’re self-pitying. Any negative attitude or behavior that is easily seen will be pretty condescending to an employer. Show them how positive and driven you are by the thought of a new position instead of how down you are about being unemployed. No one wants to work with someone who’s going to bring his or her business down.

Given this list, consider if you fit any of these. If so, work on your downfalls and become an employee worth hiring. If not, maybe the only reason you’re still unemployed is because you haven’t been on! 

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