ADVICEBURG: “Bouncing Between Job Boards in Bridgewater”



People often dream of living in a cooperative community. Well, Anne Macleod Weeks did for 40 years. As a teacher, dorm parent, guidance counselor, coach, principal, and advisor to faculty and parents in boarding schools, she pretty much experienced all that life can throw at you.  She welcomes your questions and concerns.

Submit your questions for Anne at thebarnacle.ca/advice and receive guidance in next month’s Barnacle!

Dear Anne,

I moved to the South Shore during the pandemic while I was working remotely, and now I am looking for a new job (either in-person or remote) and I am having some setbacks.

1. It seems like the job market is sparse right now in my field. Potential jobs tend fall on two extremes: either they are not very exciting, and I feel overqualified for the job, or they are asking for (what seems like) the impossible and I experience imposter syndrome. I feel like I could learn a few new skills to become more qualified for the impossible jobs, but it almost feels like I am starting from scratch every time I look at a job posting. Should I learn the new skills or just apply for the jobs anyway? Can I write that I am willing to learn or need mentorship in a cover letter without sounding underqualified?

2. I have applied to about 30 jobs in the last month. The only replies I have gotten are ghosting or a computer automated rejection. Is this just the reality of applying for jobs these days or am I just not standing out against the competition?

I graduated in 2019, and only worked for 8 months in an office before working from home, so trying to find a new job in this post-pandemic market has been a bit of a blow to my confidence. Can you give me some advice to help me overcome my setbacks and feel more confident putting myself out there in the job market, while staying in our community? Thanks Anne!

– Bouncing Between Job Boards in Bridgewater

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Dear Bouncing Between Job Boards,

Did you know that people who suffer from imposter syndrome are most often those who are skilled and accomplished?

When you feel this way, have you thought through all of your skills and what you did best in your last job? Sometimes reviewing your strengths can help you focus on possibilities in a new job. Afterall, in your first job, you didn’t know everything you needed to know on day one. We all grow and learn on the job.

First, you could contact Nova Scotia Works In Bridgewater. They will work with you one-on-one to seek a job, prep a resume, prep for interviews, etc. If you are currently using online job seeking sites, such as Indeed, it may be something as simple as not having the right keywords in your resume or cover letter. NSW can help you with that aspect.

Second, follow-up is key. One week after sending in a resume, follow up with a phone call or email. Be persistent, and each time, add something interesting to your query. This is also an opportunity to share that you are willing to have more training. Sharing ways in which you learned and sought out new skills in a previous job can demonstrate your commitment. And, as for those jobs for which you may be overqualified, never underestimate the value of getting your foot in the door and then having inside knowledge of opportunities within the system to which you can apply internally.

One thing I have definitely discovered on the South Shore is the importance of connections and the power of word of mouth. If you don’t already know a lot of people or have family here, find opportunities to volunteer in organizations where you can meet other professionals. This is a great way to develop new relationships that may then lead to a recommendation or hearing about a job opportunity that is not being widely publicized.

Have you joined LinkedIn? It is a great way to connect with people in your chosen field.

Finally, it never hurts to learn new skills and can actually make you look like a strong candidate who is interested in self improvement. One of the benefits companies see in employees with a liberal arts background is they have flexibility in terms of exposure to a variety of subject areas. Is there a skill set that would enhance your current resume that you could learn with an evening class at NSCC, for instance. You might also meet someone in class who has connections, including the instructor.

For the past seven years, I have worked part-time as a consultant for a company in China. My last client was in December 2022, and I have been questioning myself, much like you, as to whether I didn’t perform well enough to earn a new client. Definitely impostor syndrome. I have to remind myself over and over that I have been successful and to realize it may just be the nature of the economy in China right now. I empathize with you! Don’t give up! Don’t fall prey to self doubt. Take the bull by the horns and try some of my suggestions above.

Good luck!

– Anne


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