Here is what I would suggest:
Be as objective as you can and do a thorough self-assessment.
The things to look out for are:
1) Are you a good candidate for employment?
Managers want to see a stable background on your resumé. They fully believe that history repeats itself, so if you have a meager or spotty employment history, they are going to screen you out. To address this, note any long periods of unemployment on your resume and give a good explanation for them. If you haven't had any jobs, highlight any extracurricular activities and emphasize your education.
If you have been fired in the past, and don't have a good explanation or can't show a plan for improvement, you will be screened out. Managers are already iffy about people who have been let go, for whatever reason. If you just say it was a bad fit or your previous boss was a jerk, they will not be interested in you. If, however, you can say something like, "I used this as a learning experience, took a class at my community college, and developed better interpersonal skills as a result," then they are more likely to add your resumé to the "keep" pile.
If you don't have certifications or activities that will make you stand out, they will screen you out. Many new grads don't realize just how many go-getter students there are that were active in student government, volunteered at the hospital they wanted to be employed by, and went ahead and got their ACLS and PALS cards. These new grads tend to get hired first. If you want to stand out, start doing these things now so you can add them to your resume. You won't be able to participate in student government, but you can certainly get your certifications and get some volunteer experience.
2) Does your resume showcase what your future employers want to see?
Even if your resumé is fantastic, with no holes in your employment, with excellent activities and certifications, most employers want to see evidence that you have researched their company. Include key words from mission and values statements in your cover letter and objective statement. Use current buzzwords, like team-oriented, compassionate, financially responsible, and accountable to describe yourself.
3) Do you interview well?
Even if you have the most stellar resumé in the world, with credentials dripping from the page, chock full of value statements and buzzwords, if you have a poor interview style, no one will hire you.
Many studies have shown that managers hire people who they think will be great to work with. That's almost a no-brainer. But what it means for you is that you have to wow that manager during the interview process and show her just how awesome you are.
If you are shy, get overly nervous, talk to your chest, and come across as a hermit, this sends up red flags for a manager. If you are loud and obnoxious, checking your cell phone
and generally showing poor etiquette, you will definitely not get a call back.
Get a friend to help you and practice mock interviews. There are many websites that offer sample interview questions
. Practice answering them in front of your friend and ask for honest feedback. This alone will greatly improve your chances of getting hired.
After you go through all this, you will more than likely land a job within a month or two. How do I know, you ask? I have been on four interviews as a nurse and have been offered four jobs. I have sent out maybe a dozen targeted resumés and have received ten calls for interviews. I have used the strategies above to do this. I hope they work just as well for you.
I am sorry you are having a hard time right now, but I wish you the best of luck.