Do you feel as though you’ve hit a roadblock in your job applications? Are you struggling to stay motivated when you can’t get through all those rounds of interviews? Here’s how to recharge your energy for the next stage of job hunting and secure your next role.

Check the appearance guidelines for your job and industry

If you’re trying to move into a different industry, you might just be using the wrong etiquette – for example, not dressing correctly for video or in-person interviews could give a bad first impression. Being cabin crew, or working in other public-facing places, will likely involve looking immaculate, so greeting your hiring manager with flyaway hair and eye bags won’t do you any favors.

Besides this, have you considered you may be flaunting your body art a little too much? In the US, it’s estimated that 36% of people aged 18-25 have a tattoo, and for people aged 26-40, that figure rises to 40%. In the UK, 29% of people aged 16-44 have a tattoo. When they’re that commonplace, it’s easy to forget that some industries don’t welcome them.

Having a tattoo is your personal decision, but not all of these inkings will be subtle, and many professions generally ask that tattoos are hidden under clothing for professional reasons: for example, real estate, teaching or nursing. It is not currently illegal to fire or refuse to hire someone because of their tattoos, so think carefully before you get any in a prominent place, such as your neck or hands, as it may stop you getting the career you want.

Get constructive criticism from the right people

There’s a popular saying, first coined by novelist Rita Mae Brown: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’ If you’ve been ploughing through job applications with the same tactics but getting nowhere, it’s time to change your routine and get some advice.

Talk to friends and family, but don’t expect your mother to dig down into why you’re not getting hired – she’s bound to try and raise your self-esteem and gloss over any issues just to make you feel better. You need honest feedback, preferably from people in your industry, or friends of friends who are removed enough to give you an accurate assessment. Get them to test you on your best attributes, your skills, and your reasons for wanting that particular job.

Should you not get the answers you’re looking for, you could consider going to a recruitment agency for some expert help. They’ll help you improve your CV and cover letter, and they also know exactly what each company’s recruiter is looking for, having built up a relationship with them.

Consider learning a language or skill

Upskilling is hugely important in the job market, and you should be looking to improve your skills if you feel your current CV is holding you back. It’s never been easier to find short courses online, or try taster sessions of adult education classes in your area, so there’s no excuse not to give it a go.

Try to find a skill that relates to the job you want, even if it isn’t something essential to the role. For example, taking a photography course could be useful for a social media job, because you may need to take photos for social content, or you could be judging other people’s photos in a competition with a creative task.

Learning a language seems particularly impressive. If you want to work in an industry where Chinese investment is growing, it would look amazing on your CV to say you’ve started learning Mandarin – even learning the basics could put you at an advantage over other candidates. When all it takes is to download a free app or buy a book, you don’t need to be rich to afford to upskill in this way.

Now you’ve reviewed your appearance, how you sell yourself, and the extra skills you could learn to improve your CV, you can submit stronger applications and get closer to finding your perfect job.