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Don’t Brand Yourself as a Desperate Job Seeker

You’re doing absolutely everything you can to impress employers, and hold onto their attention once you’ve made a grab for it…But are you coming off as desperate? There are obvious and also subtle ways to avoid this. Make sure you’re staying on top of both, and recognize that it’s easy to become blind to the implications of our own behavior when we really want something. Steer clear of common moves like these.

Misrepresenting yourself to “get your foot in the door”

For perpetrators of this move, the logic is simple, and it sounds something like this: “If I can just get a few minutes of the hiring manager’s time, my charm and credentials will take care of the rest”, or “if I can just manage to get her on the phone, I’ll be able to find out where my application stands.” Or the most dangerous of all: “If I can just manage to snag an interview, that’s all that matters, so I’ll go ahead and say anything I want to in my resume.” This is a questionable assumption, and if you lie about who are you are or what you can do, the end result can be rejection, humiliation, or worse.

Being a “Yes” person

If your boss asks if you’re available on Tuesdays and you aren’t, just say so. If you can’t speak French, if you’re a follower instead of a leader (or vice versa), if you don’t want to travel more than 50 percent of the time, or if you don’t want to work for less than 50,000 per year, just say so. When the answer to a question is no, say no. If you lie and eagerly answer yes to everything, you’ll only be telling your interviewer what you think they want to hear, and this won’t benefit either of you. Besides, they can probably tell. And the effect isn’t becoming.

Excessive follow up

It’s good to follow up and be persistent, but one voicemail or email per week will more than suffice. Calling every hour and spamming your employer’s inbox won’t help you reach your goals any faster. And it might derail your chances altogether.

Claiming vague, generic goals

Younger job seekers and recent grads often don’t know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Goals can be somewhat abstract at this early stage, since candidates haven’t had much exposure to the world or much time to develop specific passions. But if all you want is a job, any job, and all you care about is grabbing the bottom rung of any ladder at all and collecting a paycheck while you work your way up, reconsider. Most employers have more respect for candidates with a sense of self-direction.

For more on how to land your dream job while keeping your dignity intact, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

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