GUEST COMMENT: How to disguise your desperation

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You may be desperate, but it will do your job search no favours if that desperation becomes apparent. How, therefore, can you disguise the fact that you'd be willing to jump at a job in a fifth tier institution simply to get back into the market?

1. Stop over-compensating for your insecurities

If you've been made redundant, don't chip in during an interview with, "Oh, our whole team were laid off, it wasn't just me" unless you are asked specifically about why you in particular were laid off.

If you graduated with a 2:2 degree, don't say "oh but I got 59.5% - so it was almost a 2:1" (and certainly don't write that on your CV).

Be comfortable with yourself, confident in your abilities and what you offer - rather than bringing up negative points. The minute you try and justify yourself, you come across as being slightly desperate and people become less interested in you.

2. Be 'politely persistent'

80% of your success in job searching will come down to your ability to follow up. But how do you follow up without appearing desperate?

The general rule is to be 'politely persistent.' Be persistent in tracking and following up every lead, every ad, every CV sent, every loose conversation you have about potential opportunities. But then be polite, pleasant and relaxed in the way you follow up. Mix with some good manners and humility and it goes a long way to creating opportunities without putting people off.

3. Mind your language

Stop using language like "I'll do anything - beggars can't be choosers"

Yes, you need to be humble, flexible and open minded about finding roles in the current market - but avoid using desperate language like this (even in your head) as it will often put people off.

Remember, in a market full of choice, hiring managers want to recruit people who are, yes, flexible and keen - but also people who are confident in their abilities, regardless of the market conditions.

4. Be succinct

If you can answer an interview question in three sentences, don't use 10. If you can write a three-sentence email, don't use three paragraphs. In addition to people not having time, saying too much dilutes the impact of what you've said whilst giving the impression that you're trying too hard to impress - be that in an interview, on an email, on a CV or your cover letter.

Just remember - 'less is more.'

5. Slow down

When you're searching for work, it's easy to speak much faster than normal - subconsciously that's often because you're worried that people will stop listening to you unless you get out something that will interest them before they lose interest in the conversation. You want to make sure they have all the information they need to make a decision about you.

But this can have the effect of making you sound desperate. So just relax and slow down.

6. Don't answer questions too quickly or too early

Even if you know the answer before the end - don't dive in with an answer to an interview question before the person has ended (that's rude) or a split second after they've finished (it shows you to be overly keen).

Be composed, in control and self assured.

7. Shut Up

When you're anxious or insecure about your job search, that nervous energy often translates into trying to fill any silence and once again gives an impression of you trying too hard to impress.

If you have nothing else to say at the end of a conversation, don't worry, just close the conversation first. In addition to it being respectful of the other person's time, it demonstrates that you have other conversations to have and interesting things to do which makes you sound less needy.

8. Watch your body language

Your body language can give off signs of desperation without you even realising it. Fidgeting and leaning forward can often give off the impression of anxiety, self doubt and desperation.

Whether you are interviewing, networking or simply speaking on the phone - leaning forward gives off a sense of being slightly needy.

Sit tall, stand tall and behave as if you're someone of value to the other person. If you don't act and behave as though you're of value to them- then how are they going to buy into you?

9. Be slightly elusive

Do you jump when the phone rings? Do you return voicemails within 2 minutes? Do you say "oh I can meet anytime, any day - I'm completely flexible?"

Being too available can makes you seem desperate.

It seems completely counter-intuitive for a job searcher in a tough market, but sometimes being slightly elusive, slightly unavailable, sends a message that you're in demand. That you have options. That you have a life away from your job search.

That makes you interesting and different from the rest of the crowd. It makes me want to speak with you.

**Please note** - I am NOT advocating that you delay returning calls and miss opportunities. Use your judgement based on the level of demand for your skills and where in the search process you are. Being slightly elusive at offer and salary negotiation stage is ok - and may actually help with the negotiations. Being elusive when recruiters are trying to call you about an opportunity is absolutely not ok.

Also I'm suggesting you be slightly elusive, not unreliable. There is a difference. The first one makes you interesting. The second just difficult.

10. Be yourself

Please don't treat the above nine points as gospel. They are nothing more than guidelines to observe. There are no hard and fast 'rules.'

Sital helps individuals from the financial services sector build exceptional careers with less time and less stress

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