If you've been a job seeker for a long time, it can be tempting to take even a low-paid job to bring your job hunt to an end. However, as well as the obvious disadvantage of having less money available, being prepared to accept a low salary can make you seem less appealing to employers. Take a look at the pitfalls of being a discount job seeker, and consider alternative routes back to full-time employment.
When you indicate to an employer that you're willing to take a salary below what's commonly offered for the kind of role you want, you signal that you're desperate to get back to work. That may be true, but it's probably not an impression that you want to convey during a job interview.
When you quote a very low expected salary, employers start to wonder why you think you're worth so little. Even if the truth is simply that you have urgent bills to pay or that you're experiencing a crisis of confidence, employers might wonder whether something in your past makes you a less desirable candidate. This suspicion can ultimately lead to the organization passing on you and choosing to hire a job seeker who demands a higher salary.
The other problem with marketing yourself as a discount job seeker is that you're unlikely to stay happy for long, even if you do find a job. When the immediate financial pressure of unemployment lifts and you realize that you're being underpaid for the skills and experience you have to offer, you're likely to feel resentful and start itching to move on to a more rewarding situation. Employers know this is a likely outcome of taking you on at a low salary, and it's one reason why pricing yourself at a discount isn't the best strategy for getting a job. No employer wants to go through the process of training an employee only for them to become dissatisfied and find another job.
If money is a real problem, you can take a "survival job" that pays a lower salary than you usually earn. However, you should think of the search for this kind of job as separate from your career-focused job hunt. Survival work includes positions at bars, restaurants, and retail stores, and these establishments are used to their employees making low wages and moving on quickly.
As a job seeker, it's easy to become discouraged and forget your true worth. When applying for jobs in your chosen field, stay strong, and ask for a salary that reflects your skills and experiences. Sooner or later, your search will pay off; you'll stop being a desperate job seeker and return once again to being a highly paid, confident professional.
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