Overcoming Common Barriers to Employment

Overcoming Common Barriers to Employment

Do you know what's keeping you from obtaining the job you want? In reality, most people have no idea what obstacles face them. They apply for jobs, get no results, and then just go through the motions for months. If you want to make the most of the job search, you should know more about the most common barriers to employment. Learn about the top obstacles and find out what you can do to overcome them.

The Most Common Barriers

Before you know how to overcome the employment barriers, you need to know more about the obstacles facing you. Here are the most common employment barriers:


Whether you're too young or too old, you might find it hard to obtain employment. Some employers hold inexperience against you, while others use old age as a reason to discriminate. In either case, you may be missing out on work because employers don't see your value.

You can overcome inexperience by buffing up your resume. Add college classes and volunteer opportunities to your resume. Meanwhile, you can combat "old" age by showing a hiring manager that you have relevant skills and experience. For instance, you might have certification in a new technology or program.


These days, most employers run background checks. If you have a criminal record, your history could come back to haunt you. And you're not the only one facing this obstacle. About one in every three Americans has some type of criminal record. Millions of people in the US struggle to find employment because of their records.

If you have a misdemeanor or felony, you can talk to a lawyer to learn about your options for expungement. Another option is to be open with your potential employer. Honesty goes a long way and could convince an employer to take a chance on you. If you lie about your criminal history, you could end up in more trouble. Learn about your rights and look for jobs with companies who can see past your history.


About 61 million Americans suffer from a disability. Whether you have a physical, mental, or any other type of disability, you could struggle to find work. Some hiring managers have a hard time seeing past your disability.

First, you should learn about your rights. An employer cannot discriminate against a job candidate based on their disability. Before you start applying for work, research your rights. If you suspect that an employer is discriminating against you, contact a lawyer and take action. You should also make it clear that your disability won't keep you from performing your job and give examples of challenging projects you've completed in the past.


If you never finished high school or you don't have an advanced degree, you could encounter some problems. While a degree may not be a requirement for your job of choice, it could be preferred. You may not have any interview requests after weeks of applying for jobs.

To remedy this, consider getting your GED. If you lack a bachelor's or advanced degree, use your experience to make up for not having an advanced education. Many employers are willing to bypass a degree requirement in exchange for direct experience. Think about all the ways in which you can make your resume more appealing.

Gaps in Employment

Everyone has their own reasons for leaving a job. You might quit to take care of a family member, go back to school, or care for your children. Unfortunately, a hiring manager usually sees an employment gap and puts the resume to the bottom of the pile. Getting back to work after a period of unemployment is no easy task.

Fortunately, you don't need to let your employment gap keep you from working. You can explain your situation in a cover letter or add a few things to your resume. If you're upfront about your reason for unemployment, you can show an employer your value. Just make sure to explain that you have no intention of doing the same thing again.

Financial Struggles

Believe it or not, your financial position could be a barrier to employment. Today, some employers run credit checks on their employees. If a hiring manager finds out that you have a significant amount of debt, they might hesitate to hire you. Likewise, they might hear a story about your own financial struggles and decide not to offer you an interview or job.

First, you should avoid mentioning your financial struggles to an employer. Secondly, you should explain any issue with your credit if an employer questions you. Before your interview, prepare an explanation for your debt issues and be confident in discussing the topic.

Social Media

This is one of the easiest barriers to employment to address. If you have a social media account loaded with pictures of you drinking or smoking, you shouldn't expect any job offers. Hiring managers often check the social media accounts of job applicants. Long before you start the job search, go through all of your social media accounts. Remove anything political or incriminating. You can also opt to set your profile to a private setting.

No Childcare

Some people struggle to work because they can't find childcare. In this scenario, you can look for jobs that offer childcare or contact your state department for resources. You may qualify for very affordable childcare.

Lack of Skills

When you're just starting out in a career, it can be difficult to find an employer who's willing to hire you. Although you can't change the requirements for a job, you can try to convince an employer that you have a passion for performing well. Don't be shy about your excitement, and include soft skills on your resume. While you look for work, seek out volunteer opportunities or part-time jobs that build up your skills.

Get Ready for Work

Are there quite a few barriers to employment? Sure. But there are more ways to overcome those obstacles than there are barriers. If you follow some of the tips above, you may not have to wait long to find a job.

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