Can’t Find a Job?: Step-by-Step Guide (With Ideas)

cant find a job

It is tough to find a job if you are unemployed and can’t find a job. The longer you’ve been out of work, the less likely it is that a hiring manager will choose you for an interview. This article will tell you how to find jobs even when long-term unemployed and provide some ideas on what type of job might be best for your skillset.

Can’t find a job? This article with give you not only a step-by-step guide but also lots of great ideas!

I’m not saying this is easy, and if you found this page, you’re probably pretty frustrated and feel like you’ve tried a lot already but still can’t find a job. But you CAN improve. Every job seeker can find something on this page to improve. So if you can’t find a job, bookmark this page and use it as a reference to adjust and improve until you do find a job.

How to find a job Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Make A List Of Things You Could Possibly Do

This doesn’t have to be a list of jobs you’d like to do, just any job you feel capable of  doing when you are fed up being unemployed and can’t find a job. This list is for you to know what your options are so that if it’s not the right time or place, you can figure out why and move on with a better plan of attack!

Step 2: Make A List Of Your Skills And Weaknesses

Firstly start off with your skills. A skill is  anything that you are good at, something that comes naturally to you. Skills could be things like typing quickly, being patient with children or people in general!

Next make a list of your weaknesses. Weaknesses are the areas where you need improvement and there is always room for this when it comes to finding jobs. If one area needs improvement then why not improve it so that in the future when you go for a job interview they will be impressed with your skills?

Step 3: Make A List Of Your Attributes

Attributes are things about yourself that you have to offer. If people were looking to buy a car what attributes would make them choose one car over another? This is basically just saying , what do you have to offer the world?

Step 4: Make A List Of Your Achievements And Accomplishments

This is where you can show off. What are your achievements and accomplishments over the years, professionally or personally! Keep this list close because it could come in handy if someone asks about your experience. You will impress them by  showing off your achievements first!

Step 5: Look at online job forums for ideas of current jobs

Some of the popular online job forums are; 

  • LinkedIn Job Search
  • Indeed
  • Reed
  • Total Jobs
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster

Step 6: Talk to your friends and family about possible jobs

What better way is there than asking someone you know when you can’t find a job? This could be a friend or even a relative. Someone who knows you well enough to give some good advice on what type of job would suit you best. They may even know someone who has entry-level jobs for recent grads in their business, you never know!

Step 7: Decide On A Goal

Set yourself a time frame to find a job and think about what you want to achieve in that time. Maybe it’s getting one interview or two interviews, celebrate your graduation, perhaps update your skills or get a suit. Whatever your goal is make sure it is achievable!

Step 8: Write or improve your CV/ Resume

The job search process starts with your CV/Resume. It is the first thing a recruiter sees and is a great way to show off your skills and achievements. If you’re not sure how to go about writing your CV/Resume then there is a lot of help out there;

  • Great Resumes Fast
  • CV Pilots
  • Career One Stop
  • CV Owl

Step 8: Write or improve your cover letter

A cover letter is a great way to introduce your skills and achievements in more detail than just on the CV/Resume. A career coach or career center could help you improve your job application or the vast majority of college grads use online career tools such as;

  • Resume-now
  • The CV Squad
  • Purple CV

Step 9: Consider becoming a freelancer

Do you have a skill that you could do from home or your own time? Freelancing is a great way to get experience and fit around other commitments when you are unemployed and can’t find a job. You can earn as you work and get further experience to put in your job applications.

If this sounds like something that would suit you then check out the following sites;

  • Upwork
  • People per Hour
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer

Step 10: Look at what you like to do in your spare time, what are your hobbies?

What better way is there of finding out about yourself than looking at the things that make you happy! If it makes you happy then perhaps consider turning it into a job or even if not making money from this hobby maybe  it’s just something you can do for fun.

Step 11: Consider Upskilling

Look at what skills are required in your preferred jobs. If there is a skill required and you do not have the certificate, consider learning how to get that skill! There are a lot of training programs online which you can get qualified in almost any area. Check out;

  • Webflow
  • Oxbridge Home Learning
  • Creator Up
  • Skill Up 
  • International Open Academy
  • Cloud Credential Council
  • Digital Skills Academy
  • Pluralsight
  • Skillshare
  • Udemy
  • Coursera

Step 12: Consider Volunteering or Interning 

To get relevant work experience and a new skill to put on your CV/Resume, often it is worth your time doing volunteer work. There are many ways you can get the experience without actually getting paid for it, sometimes companies will even pay you! Volunteering is becoming more popular as there has been some research that says volunteering makes us happier!

There are also several websites where companies place their internships; 

  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • TotalJobs
  • UX Jobs Board

Step 13: Consider a career change 

Do some training in the new industry or sector. If you’ve been working in one job for years, perhaps trying a tool like Career Key could unlock your true calling. Why not take a career break and work either part-time or full-time as an intern in a sector you would like to build a career. This would give you a deeper understanding of whether or not this is the right fit for your new career.

Step 14: Start looking for jobs and applying!

When you can’t find a job start searching online, look at what is available in your area and don’t forget you can also search by industry sector too. This will give you a better idea of current vacancies which might be suited to you or not. You could even find there are  some jobs that are related to your hobby!

Step 15: See a Careers Advisor

If you can’t find a job you should never be afraid or embarrassed of asking if there is anything anyone can do to help you get back into the job market again. There are a lot of support networks out there and even local employers may have time where they are open to talking with people who are unemployed. A Careers Advisor or Careers Coach could give you the best advice on how to get back into work after being unemployed and can’t find a job.

Step 16: Think about going back to College or University 

Starting a degree or taking an apprenticeship course will  give you the skills and qualifications to get back into your career of choice. If you are thinking of fulfilling you professional ambitions and earning a really good salary but you’ve got qualifications or degrees which are not relevant to your dream job, maybe consider doing a course in the area! There are plenty of online degree options which mean you can fit this around your family and work commitments and get a degree from a prestigious university.

  • Future Learn
  • Virtual College
  • Open University
  • College Degrees

Step 17: Try a Temporary Job 

Once you have a job, it’s easier to get another! A great way to do this is by trying out a temporary role with an agency or temp companies who will not only give you some work experience but also advice on how to perform better in the workplace. If you are looking for temp jobs or flexjobs check out;

  • AppJobs
  • MonsterJobs
  • Aerotek 
  • Working Mums UK Temp Jobs 
  • Temp Staff Agency UK

Step 18: Get your CV/Resume out there!

Get your CV/Resume out to as many employers and recruitment agencies as possible. Apply for jobs even if you are not 100% happy with the role, it’s better to have some money coming in than nothing at all!

For great ways to get your CV/Resume out there try;

  • Resume Robin
  • JuJu
  • Job Wire

Step 19: Connect on LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is a great way of networking within an industry sector and finding out about jobs. There’s even a Jobs section on LinkedIn where you can find the latest vacancies!

Step 20: Change Your Mindset 

If you’re out of work for some time, it can be hard to motivate yourself. Make sure that every day you do something which will help get back into the job market or improve your skills from volunteering/interning etc. Even a few minutes on a social media site could make a difference!

Step 21: Research Companies

If you can’t find a job and are looking for a specific job, it’s always good to have an idea of the companies or organisations which are hiring. You could even get in touch with them via social media and ask how they hire their staff! It also looks good in interview if you know something about the company, plus it means your CV/Resume will stand out more.

Step 22: Practice interview technique

You may not want to consider this step but practising interview technique could help you come across well in an actual job interview. You can practise with friends or family, ask them for feedback and take it on board!

Alternatively, you could go to a recruitment agency or careers advisor who can help prepare for interviews.

  • Interview Destiny
  • Interview Strategies

Step 23: If all else fails, don’t worry!

There are lots of support networks out there and even employers who will be able to help guide you in your job search or offer some guidance along the way. You may not find a job straight away but keep  going and you will find the right opportunity for your skills.

Great Ideas for Jobs to Get Back into the Workforce

Delivery driver


Customer Service Agent 

Waiter/Waitress (Casual Work) 

Retail Assistant 


IT Support Analyst (Tech Job) 


Personal Assistant 

Industrial Cleaner (Night Job) 

Security Guard (Casual Work) 

Personal Trainer


Dog walker


Social Media Manager

Office Manager


Estate Agent


How can I make money if I can’t find a job?

If you can’t find a job  right away, you can look at ways to make money from home and become self-employed. There are lots of websites out there which will help you start your own business and make some money!

If you are unemployed and can’t find a job, but still need an income try online surveys/focus groups on sites like; 

Opinion Outpost

Focus Pointe Global

Swag Bucks

Survey Junkie

You can also sell items on  sites like eBay and Amazon.

Or deliver food with Deliveroo, JustEat or GrubHub.

What if I don’t want to work anymore?

It’s a tough situation to be in but there are lots of ways you can make money even if you don’t want to work anymore. There is always the option of getting your finances back on track and trying other income producing methods like starting up an online business. 

Can I get benefits while looking for another job?

Yes, you can get benefits while looking for another job. You will need to be actively seeking work and show proof of this when filling out a claim through the Jobcentre Plus or at your local Social Security Department office in person.

What are some good jobs that come with flexible hours?

If are unemployed and can’t find a job you may you want to go back into work but also want to work flexible hours. Your best bet is to look at jobs which are part-time or casual. You can still apply for full time roles but it may not be possible with the hours you’re looking for.

Can’t find a job? Try a part-time or casual job: 

Waitress/Waiter (Casual) 

Retail Assistant 

Administrator (Casual) 

Customer Service Agent (Part-time/Evenings Only) 

Sales Associate (Casual or Part Time) 

Receptionist (Part time/Afternoons only, Casual etc.) 

Nanny / Babysitter (Temporary Work)

Is it harder to find a job when unemployed?

Yes, it is harder to find a job when unemployed. Employers are less likely to hire someone who has been out of work for an extended period of time because they may worry you won’t stay in the role long-term or that your skills have atrophied. 

Why is finding a job so difficult?

It can be difficult when you are unemployed and can’t find a job because there are lots of people out there who want the same roles you do. Employers also have specific requirements for certain jobs and they may not hire someone just because they don’t meet all their criteria, even if  they would be good at the role in other ways.

What is considered a long time out of work?

If you’ve been unemployed and can’t find a job for more than six months, it can be considered a long time. Employers will think that something is wrong with your skills or experience if they see gaps in your resume this big. It may also indicate to them that there are other problems like poor references and motivation, which could affect your performance at work.

What is meant by the hidden job market?

The hidden job market refers to the jobs that aren’t advertised and instead filled by people who know someone in HR or another well-connected member of staff. This is why it can be beneficial to network with current employees at companies you would like to work for because they could help put your name forward and give you a leg up on the competition.

What is a temp agency?

A temporary employment agency is an organization that recruits and hires people on behalf of companies who need  extra staff for a short period of time. This is often used as a stepping stone to permanent jobs because companies can see how well you perform and if they like what they see, offer you the role permanently themselves.

What types of temp agencies are there?

There are all sorts of temporary employment agencies out there depending on your industry and skillset . Some examples include:

Admin temps 

Call center temps 

Construction industry temp workers 

Engineering and technical agency staff (IT, CAD etc.)

Retail agency temps (for example covering for people who are on holiday) 

Often, temporary work can develop  into permanent employment and you can make a lot of money working through agencies. It’s also easier to get temp jobs than it is finding permanent ones, so this route could be an ideal way for some people who are currently unemployed to build up their work history again.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are also called ‘portable skills’ and they refer to the things you can bring with you from job to job. These include your experience, training, education level etc., so it could be something like time management at work or leadership ability in a previous role.

What is an example of transferable skills?

Organisational skills

IT skills

Commiunication skills

Teamwork skills

Leadership skills

Numeracy (maths) and literacy (reading, writing etc.)

In conclusion

When you can’t find a job, my advice is to not give up! If you have the passion and desire to move in a new direction then you will find the right job for you eventually. Keep going and don’t let anything get in your way. Good luck!

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