4 Things that Desperate Jobseekers Do

In my career as a recruiter and career coach I've seen all sorts of candidates,and I can smell a desperate jobseeker from miles away. Trust me, you do not want to be perceived as desperate because it only works to your disadvantage in every single possible way. Not only will you get passed over for good opportunities, you will settle for something you don't want. You might even get taken advantage of by recruiters who will speak to you solely for the sake of gathering information, without any intention of helping you get a job. 

Here's what desperate job seekers do, and what you should do instead. 

1. Send resumes everywhere. Literally.

Desperate job seekers spam their resumes to every recruiter's inbox, and post it every job portals or job boards in the country. It's like trying to sell yourself to anyone and everyone out there. Things that are widely and easily available are not exclusive, and easily replaceable. Just like that guy who has his profile on every dating website and mobile app who's sending messages to every girl hoping one of them would respond. 

Do this instead: Work smart, not hard. When responding to a job advertisement, make sure you fit about 80% of the criteria before applying, and find out who's in charge of hiring so you can personalise your resume. If contacting an agency recruiter, make sure they work roles in your field and that you personalise your emails to them, instead of boring templates like "Hi, I am a sales professional with xxx experience looking for a job, please let me know if you have any opportunities for me." Really? You probably copy and pasted that and spammed either all of my competitors or clients already, so chances of recruiters wanting to work with you are slim at best. 

2. Making their jobless status known to the whole wide world

Desperate job seekers announce to the whole world that they are available on the market. They do this telling their friends and relatives this, "I'm looking for a job now, let me know if you come across anything." Could you be any more specific?

Some job seekers also change their Linkedin headlines to 'Unemployed' or 'Seeking New Roles'. It's like announcing you are up for sale in the market. Some people might disagree with me on this because they've managed to find roles using this method, but most of the time this will not work in your favour unless your skills and expertise are rare and in demand. Why would a recruiter want to work with a non-exclusive candidate who is probably getting contacted by other recruiters and companies? Agency recruiters will usually work harder for exclusive candidates.

Do this instead: Be selective about who you ask help from, and do it in a non-pushy manner. You don't need to change your Linkedin headline to reflect your unemployment status.  Good recruiters can pick up whether someone is open or not from looking at your Linkedin profile. Make it easy for recruiters to contact you. Set your account to 'open' and put your contact details. Updating your profile and getting new recommendations would put you on a recruiter's radar. Be open when approached by recruiters because the best time to start looking is when you're not looking. That's when you're least likely to be desperate. 

3. Take the 1st job offer they get.

Desperate job seekers take the first job offer they get because they are afraid they won't get any other offers, and they don't want to miss out on the first offer they get. Most of the times they are in a desperate situation, having either quit a job on impulse or managed out of the company. They could also be weary of the lack of response or 'rejections' they have faced, and feeling lousy about their worth. What usually happens is they take the first offer, stay in the job for a few months, then quit because it wasn't what they wanted in the first place. Back to square one.  

Do this instead: Evaluate if this is the right offer for you before accepting it. Is this just a job to tide you over or will you stay in it for the long term? Buy yourself some time. You can always negotiate with potential employers, and if you are unsure how to do so work with a good agency recruiter or hire a good career coach. 

4. Sell themselves short

Desperate job seekers are willing to take any job offer that comes their way. If you're desperate then you'll put yourself on sale, so your next employer can get you at a bargain. Instead of earning what you're worth, you settle for less. This also means you'll find it harder to negotiate for a higher pay in your next role, and you might get stuck in that range for an extended period of time. 

Do this instead: Do your research on how much you should be paid, so you will know what to say when asked for your expected salary. Work out what is your bare minimum, i.e. the pay you need in order to survive, believe you are worth that to an employer, and don't settle for any less.

No matter how desperate you really are, you do not want to show it. Use the above tips to hide your desperation and start working on your next role (no matter how happy you are in your current job) right now so you won't be caught in this situation. After all, every job is temporary.                                                                                                                          _____

As a career coach, I help job seekers present their best self so that they can increase their chances of securing the best job offers. I don't coach people who are just looking for a job, I coach people who are looking for a career. Have a burning career-related question or want a complimentary resume health check? Email [email protected]

I'm also a rec2rec specialist, which means I connect agency recruiters to top tier recruitment companies worldwide, including relocations. Every recruitment job is temporary, and the best time for you to connect with me is now, before you turn into a desperate job seeker. I'm happy to accept Linkedin invites from agency recruiters in any part of the world, and you can reach me on Linkedin or [email protected].

*Originally posted in