We’ve all seen it: a professional acquaintance searching for a job, publicly and dramatically venting on social media for someone to hire them. We may have been that person ourselves. In my case, I have an acquaintance who, every week, would update LinkedIn with a reminder that, yes, they were still unemployed—with an aside that it had been six months, or seven months (and so on) since they were last earning a bi-weekly check.
While unemployment sucks—I know, I’ve been there—public desperation is the wrong way to lock eyes with someone who might want to hire you; and with every attempt, you may actually be telling prospective employers that they’re better off without you.
And it isn’t just social media posts that make you look desperate—there are plenty of other ways you might come off as desperate in your job search.
Don’t apply to multiple jobs at the same company
If you’ve been unemployed for a long time, you have every reason to feel desperate. It’s vexing beyond belief to wake up every morning to apply to jobs, but there’s an irony at play, and it’s a pretty unbreakable one: You can’t seem desperate, otherwise you’ll turn employers off.
One way to avoid that is to stick to one job at each company where you apply. If you’re throwing your resume at everyone with an opening, it’ll show that you’re not particularly interested to any one position at the company. Moreover, it’ll be unclear what your actual area of expertise is, and at worst, it’ll appear you’re trying to game the system.
Don’t inundate the hiring manager
There’s an unequal balance when it comes to searching for a job. The hiring manager, unfortunately, holds a disproportionate amount of the power in this dynamic; they can ignore your emails and ghost you, and nothing, really, will come of it. That sucks, and represents a problem with looking for work these days.
Still, you can do yourself a favor and probably lessen your odds of being ghosted by not checking in with a hiring manager too much. If you’re bombarding them with messages every two days about potential updates, they’re going to catch whiffs of your anxiety, and maybe think that you’ll be a headache to manage.
As a best practice, try chiming in once a week at maximum (which I recommend especially if you feel friendly enough with the hiring manager).
Don’t say “yes” to every aspect of the job
You want to be ambitious and amenable to the job’s requirements, but don’t present skills that you don’t actually have. Saying that you can do something when you know you can’t and don’t have the experience to back it up can be detrimental to your chances. If you’re eager to get hired regardless of your actual ability to do a job well, it will show. Instead, be honest about your skills and explain your plans for beating your shortcomings.
Ask questions about the bigger issues
Make sure you ask questions about the company’s culture, vacation policies, and perks (once you get to the latter stages of the interview process). If you’re not asking these questions, you’ll likely present yourself as nothing but eager to impress.
Ultimately, you’re looking to give yourself the best kind of package when it comes to accepting an offer. That includes a multitude of things outside the job, not limited to your colleagues, the salary, perks, and vacation package. If you’re not asking about these kinds of things and blindly jumping on any offer that comes your way, not only will you be doing yourself a disservice, but coming across as too desperate in the process.