A tough job search is one of the hardest experiences anyone can go through. When it goes on for months and months without yielding results, it becomes demoralizing. You start doubting yourself and your capabilities. Newcomers may even start questioning their decision to move to another country.
When this happens, your confidence takes a nosedive and you feel desperate. What is ironic is that this mindset worsens your chances of getting a job.
The smell of desperation
Desperation turns-off employers because it sends the message that nobody else wants to hire you (and there must be a reason). It also shows that you doubt your own capabilities because you don’t expect to be hired on your own merit. No one wants to work with a person who lacks confidence, ambition and focus.
What desperate candidates do:
- They apply to multiple jobs with the same company or organization – Desperate jobseekers apply to various job openings in the same company, even when they are not qualified for the position. What’s worse is that they send the same resume for all their applications. Candidates like this are flagged as problem applicants. Employers may ban them from future job openings.
- They excessively praise an interviewer – In their desire to be liked, desperate candidates lay it on a little too thick. Giving too much praise can make the interviewer uncomfortable. It can also make you sound insincere.
- They mention how badly they need the job in the interview – Instead of saying that they are right for the job because of their skills, they mention this to pressure the interviewer to hire them as a favour.
- They follow-up too soon and too often after an interview – They call right after the interview and ask if they’ve made a decision. This can be annoying and can even come off as creepy. While being proactive is a good trait, know the right time (and frequency) to follow-up.
- They say that they are willing to accept any position, any salary – All their actions and words basically boil down to this statement. This only makes them vulnerable to abusive employers.
Even if you really, badly need a job, you have to come across as decisive and in control. To do this, rethink and fine-tune your job search strategy. Take a moment to analyze your situation, your capabilities and your plan of action before sending out any more job applications.
Dealing with job search desperation:
- Be realistic – Some newcomers come to Canada thinking that they will get their ideal job quickly after they land. When this doesn’t happen, everything falls apart. Recognize that everything doesn’t end just because what you imagined did not become a reality. You can still get that dream job – you just have to work harder to reach it. Also, acknowledge that there are many variables to getting a job. It’s not only about your skills and capabilities. It can be about the industry, the employer’s priorities and other considerations. It’s not only about you. So don’t beat yourself up.
Weigh your options realistically. Will your resources (money, patience) last until you get your ideal job? Or is it time to consider getting a survival job? Even if you decide to get a survival job, know that you don’t have to lose sight of your ideal career. Whether you choose to wait it out or start working in a survival job, continue working on getting additional skills and improving your English.
- Mix up your job search – Change your job search strategy. Don’t do the same things again and again and expect different results. Mix it up by looking for jobs using different search engines. Widen your job search by evaluating your skills to see if they can be applicable in related or alternative occupations. Attend job fairs, connect in LinkedIn (and improve your profile), or join your professional association to network. If you’ve been at it for some time and you feel that you’ve tried everything, this may mean that you need additional help. Go to employment and settlement agencies like Success Skills Centre, EDGE Skills Centre, Osborne Village Resource Centre to get the help of a career coach or join the Connector Program to network.
- Stay with positive people – Surround yourself with optimistic people who will support and encourage you. This will keep you from entertaining self-defeating thoughts. Sustain your mental health by being staying social. Attend newcomer talks and trainings and join conversation circles. You can even join online communities to connect with other newcomers or professionals in the same field. This will prevent you from obsessing about your situation. You might also get job leads and start building your network.
- Change your perspective – Think about getting a job as just one piece of the integration puzzle. Give equal attention to the other aspects of your journey, such as language improvement, learning about (and getting used to) Canadian culture, making new friends, volunteering, and taking care of your health (physical and mental). Count every improvement as an achievement and appreciate small successes.
- Learn new things – Use your time by learning new skills, indulging in hobbies, volunteering, exercising, meditating – doing other things besides looking for work. Experts say that a healthy full-time job search schedule is 25 hours per week (or five hours per week day). Use the rest of the time to pursue other things that nurture your mind and make you happy.
Being jobless does not mean that you are worthless. Don’t lose your confidence and don’t be too hard on yourself. You are more than your career. It’s okay to say, “I’m looking for my next opportunity” when someone asks you what you do for a living. Be patient, this is temporary. Your time will come.
Sources: 4 Ways to defeat job search desperation, the Muse; Whatever you do, don’t act like a desperate job seeker, Liz Ryan, Forbes; Don’t look desperate for a job, Daniel Bortz, Monster; and How to deal with job search desperation, Micaela Marini Higgs, New York Times. Accessed June 4, 2019.
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