I've been looking for a new job for about 6 months now. I've sent more than 100 applications. I've participated in more than 15 interview processes. In several cases, I got to the fourth or fifth stage but was always rejected. I got two offers but one was so unattractive that I turned it down, the other was at a super small company I couldn't be sure of - I turned it down too.

A few "objective" factors may play a role in my lack of success. I am living abroad and using my second language when applying, which I speak fluently, but which does influence my chances. (My application documents have been checked several times by specialists and they are ok).

Secondly, I'm mainly applying for jobs where women are in minority. In the course of 15+ interview processes, I've met about 40-50 interviewers in all. Maybe 3-5 of them were women.

My "objective" skills (education, former employment, software skills, etc.) are really good compared to other people, and yet I never get the job.

I have several years of post-graduation experience, which however lies in several areas. (I normally applied for a job in area A, which turned out to include tasks in areas B and C). I first applied in A, then extended it to B and even C. Still nothing.

I would love to get some professional advice on my options now. However, I've had only bad experiences with career advisors so far. They normally don't understand the fields I'm applying in (consulting, PM, analytics). They always gave me advice that I could have googled myself. Things that can help people who go to interview in stained jeans and trainers and talk about their admiration for Satan but not people who have some common sense.

Where can I find a good career advisor?

I'm in Western Europe.

  • 2
    Have you asked the companies you interviewed with for feedback? – Philip Kendall Oct 18 '18 at 12:23
  • Free and good quality for a specialised role like counselling is very rare. – Twyxz Oct 18 '18 at 12:26
  • @JoeStrazzere, mainly in my home country and they don't "get" my problems. I found it much easier myself to find a job in my home country myself. Of course, I do network here, but these networks aren't really established yet, these are new acquaintances. – european333 Oct 18 '18 at 12:28
  • @PhilipKendall. In 95% it was personality based. I was told I'm too analytical. And not enough extroverted. And not enthusiastic enough. And too enthusiastic (so they assume I need a new job really badly). I'm not enough self-confident either. And too self-confident (so they aren't sure I would like what I find at their company). – european333 Oct 18 '18 at 12:31
  • 1
    I do not see how what gender the review board people are matters here. If you have applied for more than 100 positions and received 15 interviews it seams like you may not have the background for the jobs you are going for. 15% or less call backs is kinda low if you are truly qualified for the positions you are applying for. Are you sure you have the background to qualify for an interview for said positions? Don't take it the wrong way. Its good to have goals and reach higher but many have specific needs and you may not yet be able to meet them. – Sierra Mountain Tech Oct 18 '18 at 13:54

They always gave me advice that I could have googled myself.

Exactly. I'm not sure if you're in highschool as I never heard of a career counselor for a professional already in the field. Maybe that is different in Europe or maybe I just never bothered looking for one. Back in highschool, my counselor asked me if I liked to read books and I replied no, I do not like reading and could barely read a magazine article. She recommended that I go to a vocational school and get a job as a mechanic as if my lack of reading books is a indicator of something bad. Had I followed this advice, I'd be a horrible mechanic as I don't know a thing about repairing cars. For a little while after college, I'd joke about career counselors from high school but after a while, it's long forgotten. I can't imagine anyone taking the advice of a career counselor seriously.

Typically an individual will build his/her professional networks and mentors and go off them. It's best to network with old colleagues and professors. That's how I would approach this. Call up a old coworker from your last company and open communications with them. Also, don't rely solely on other people's advice. Instead look at yourself, what do you want? You have to think selfishly, and say, "I want to be a PM..." or whatever it is you're seeking. Then figure out what you need to do to get to that position and ignore any "advice" to the contrary.

  • It's not about what I want. I know what I want. It's about what I can do. After showing flexibility but getting rejected more than 100 times, I'm really not motivated enough to send 100 more applications. – european333 Oct 18 '18 at 13:35
  • @european333 It's quite demoralizing to constantly not get the job. However, my advice is not to throw money at it as you'll be more frustrated by it. I'm not sure if a career counselor is free or if you have to pay a fee. As always, remember there are people who take advantage of people in vulnerable spots. They make you feel as if you have to use them or else you'll never get a job. That is not the case. Try calling an old friend or reapply to past rejected jobs. They might have a opening now. It sounds like you're going to interviews so you are doing well, in my opinion. – Dan Oct 18 '18 at 14:05

There is no such thing as perfect carrier counselor,

He will have his opinion of what you should do and you have your own goals and ideas.

These rarely aligned, otherwise you wouldn't be looking for counseling.

Given that you didn`t mention your location, suggestion will be general

Breaking in to the market is hard. Especially with no local experience, doesn`t matter how much you have from country of origin.

100+ applications with 15 interviews can point out to lack of something location specific

IMHO, you should have taken one of the offers in order to familiarize yourself with local workplace, there may be some things you unintentionally doing or saying

My first local job was a 1 year project for pay that now looks like a joke, but it gave me a view of local workplace mechanics, conversation structure and local experience


If your field PM stands for Project Management then look into becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP). It is an internationally recognized professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

I don't mean "look into" because you should want to become one (maybe you will though).

I mention it because if you learn more about them you will have an advantage in interviews because you will know how to talk how the field/industry talks. It may also be a way to focus and firm up your skills.

I've had friends that worked as PMs for RTI and seem to like it, I know RTI does projects worldwide and appreciates multilingual people.

PMPs I know are about 1/3 female (though we're talking dozens; not sure what PMI would tell you)

  • If you connect with other PMs you'll probably find someone that can give you good career advice - someone in the field is always better, as a bonus she may have good advice/leads for you. – J. Chris Compton Oct 18 '18 at 17:32

I've sent more than 100 applications. I've participated in more than 15 interview processes

A interview offer of only 15% or less is a good indicator that your resume is not quite up to snuff for the positions you are applying for. You could be lacking the years of experience they want or the overall skill set they are looking for. As I said in the comments it is good to reach for bigger and better but many companies are not willing to interview someone who is not fully qualified for the position if they are already receiving applications from people who are. Based on this: which however lies in several areas. I am guessing you may not have the total years in a skill they may be looking for. You may just need to work towards getting the years in skill/skills that are needed.

I am living abroad and using my second language when applying, which I speak fluently, but which does influence my chances.

If you speak it fluently then how does it influence your chances? Do you believe your accent may affect your interview? I would doubt it and if that was the case I would not want to work for those people anyway.

I'm mainly applying for jobs where women are in minority. In the course of 15+ interview processes, I've met about 40-50 interviewers in all. Maybe 3-5 of them were women.

As I mentioned in the comments a lack of women interviewers is not affecting your interview. If it was a factor I doubt you would have even received the interview in the first place. Most people are not as sexist as social media would like you to believe. There is zero conclusive evidence this is a real problem and most studies are bias on this matter and cant be trusted either way (good or bad results).

Where can I get affordable, good-quality career counseling (career advice, career coaching)?

Well it depends on your idea of affordable. If you mean cheep then you get what you pay for when it comes to most things in life. So getting "good" advice that you would not be able to google yourself is not going to be "cheep". I am not a counselor but I have interviewed many and been interviewed many times.

My advice is to apply for jobs that you know you could do within a few weeks of starting that you have at least a basic understanding of all things in the job posting and are skilled in a majority of their needs. The rest is up to personality and if you can click with the group interviewing you. Many companies are not only looking for a skilled worker but someone who fits their company culture.

  • 1
    I think you're referring it too much to your own situation. It all comes down to the context. 15% may we awful in tech. But when applying for positions in Tier1-Tier2 strategic consulting this would actually be a good result even for a good graduate, at least where I live. It all depends on the context and the author was asking about access to career counseling, not speculations on her situation. – BigMadAndy Oct 18 '18 at 14:44
  • @385703. My situation? I was speaking on a general level. She brought up some points she believed where an issues and I pointed out where I believe they are not. She also is looking for cheep counseling where I believe she cannot find good quality for cheep. I think I address her question well enough. I have done my fair share of consulting and these parameters fit there as well as far as I have seen. I am not the only one that has pointed out that 15% indicates something is lacking. – Sierra Mountain Tech Oct 18 '18 at 14:49
  • yes, "your situation" since I conclude from your nickname that you are in tech. Tech is a very special industry. It's more international and skills-based than almost everything else. It's also an employee's market. I know very introverted and extroverted IT people. I know people who completely lack communication skills, but who have good jobs as developers. Unfortunately, life outside of IT is a bit different. E.g. during most of my interviews no skills are checked AT ALL. Just the "personal fit". So cut her some slack as what she writes doesn't need to be untrue. – BigMadAndy Oct 18 '18 at 15:06
  • @385703 I am not attacking the OP. I am simply providing my thoughts on her concerns. There is nothing that I need to "Cut some slack" for. My profession in technology is not the only field of work I have been a part of. My work history is very diverse and I am speaking form a general knowledge of all of my history combined. My profile here may be Tech based but that is only because my initial interest in the Stack sites was for Stack Overflow. I agree that IT is its own special breed in interviews and the type of people employed. I am not using my work in tech as "the" source for my answer. – Sierra Mountain Tech Oct 18 '18 at 15:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.