Dear foreigners looking for a job in Czech Republic! Many of you are following possibly the worst strategy for job-hunting in this country. After seeing many futile posts like “I’m open for any job opportunity” spread across Czech social media, and after engaging in several debates over why saying anything like that is a terrible idea, I wanted to put an end to this. So, in this article I’ll take you through 6 main reasons why approaching the Czech job market with such claims of “flexibility” is a recipe for failure. Hopefully, it will help some of you to have a better, and more productive, job-hunting experience.
How not to look for a job in Czechia?
Browsing through job-board kind of groups on the Czech Facebook I often come across posts with claims like “I’m looking for any kind of job!” or “Ready to work in any field”. A slightly better one, in terms of the amount of effort put into it, but an equally terrible one as a job-hunting strategy, is “I’m flexible – I can do anything”. And these often come from foreigners who are looking for jobs in Prague or other Czech cities. And it’s particularly troubling when it’s foreigners who do that. Stick around, because I’m going to explain why, further down in this article.
At times of economic turmoil these claims become particularly common. Although, I’ve seen this kind of notes during periods of Czech economic prosperity as well. And, every time I see this, I’m tempted to comment, to call these people out on their poor professional choices. This is the worst job-hunting strategy, ever! Such poor choices really make me tick, and not in a good way! In fact, similar bad practices also inspired creation of my CV Tips brochure for foreigners some time ago.
So, what about those claims of “flexibility”? Well, in fact, I did end up commenting on such posts a couple of times. And, despite the discussion evolving under a Facebook post, it happened to spark a constructive debate. At the end, job-seekers who made those unfortunate claims were very appreciative of my recommendations. So, I though I should write about this issue and share it with all foreign job-seekers here. Sharing is caring, after all!
When do job-seekers do that?
I understand that sometimes you may end up in a difficult life situation. You might have lost your job, and the bills have been pilling up in your kitchen table for a while now. People feel desperate sometimes, and unfortunately that makes them act desperately as well. And that’s wrong! Don’t let temporary struggles diminish your professional brand. That can impact your work and life for long after your struggles are gone.
Applying for “any job” is equally bad
Just for the sake of clarity, let’s say that applying for several unrelated job vacancies with the same company is another way of making those above-mentioned claims. Whether you apply for a job on the company’s Czech website, on LinkedIn or on a generic job-board like jobs.cz – doesn’t matter. All your applications end up at the HR department, where the same HR person might come across all of them.
You’d be lucky if a recruiter somehow misses the fact that you applied for several vacancies in different departments. In such case, they might consider you for the job they had in mind when they opened your CV. Otherwise, your chances are slim. Why? For the same reasons as why above-mentioned “flexibility” claims are useless in your job-hunting. See the reasons below.
6 reasons why you should never look for “any job” in Czech Republic, especially as a foreigner
1. Predatory employers will come after you
First and foremost, when you go out to the Czech job market with such claims of “flexibility”, you are showing that you are desperate. What happens then is that companies that I casually label as “predatory employers” start “hunting” for you. This opens a Pandora box of offers with the following common traits:
- poor working conditions, such as limited and noisy space, poor sanitary standards etc.,
- high attrition rate, i.e. most employees quit their jobs within a year or two,
- salaries way below what is considered adequate for the job,
- unofficial contacts and semi-legal agreements,
- micromanaging bosses and supervisors,
- and other employment horrors.
And yes, you might in fact be desperate, in a terrible situation, struggling to make your ends meet etc. But the job market doesn’t need to know that. Otherwise, it can, and will be used against you.
2. You become a risky choice for an employer
Another thing that you communicate with such claims is that you are basically a risky choice for an employer. The logic is the following – if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want to do in life, you are very likely to get bored quickly and quit your job.
An employer is worried that this would happen after the company had already invested in your training and development. Not a single employer wants to lose money when an employee decides to leave. Coincidentally, the employers who want that the least are the “good ones”, i.e. those who actually invest into their people’s skills and growth from the get-go.
3. You are “selling cheap”
When you enter the employee-employer negotiation situation from a place of obvious desperation, you are “selling cheap”. Employers know they have negotiating advantage if you are “ready for any job”. And believe me, it may come to bight you in the a*s, big time!
Consider this: according to one of the biggest Czech salary comparison portals – Platy.cz, the average monthly gross salary in, for example, Marketing, PR and Advertising varies between 26 000 CZK and 47 000 CZK. These numbers represent what employers consider an adequate remuneration for Czech employees in the field.
Now, take a moment to realize the following. If you’re starting your negotiations from the position of “I need this job more than it needs me” then you may end up losing almost half of your potential monthly wage. Multiply that by 12 months and that’s a massive amount of money lost in one year.
4. It’s not professional
A very good argument against “looking for any job” is that it simply doesn’t make you seem serious, let alone professional. A true professional knows the value of their skills and the benefit they can bring for the team. It’s a sign of professionalism to be well-aware of your strengths and weaknesses and to seek for a good use for your strong qualities. Professionals are looking for opportunities where their unique set of skills and experiences can create additional value. In this context, “I’m flexible” sounds like “I’m not particularly good at anything”.
5. You are too awkward
When somebody is desperate, it’s awkward for everyone who gets exposed to such desperation. It doesn’t paint a positive image for you. And particularly in case of foreigners looking for a job in Czech Republic, it plays into various unhealthy stereotypes.
I don’t want to go too much into the details of how a certain portion of the Czech population thinks that foreigners come here to take Czech jobs away. This belief exists to a (significant) degree, no matter how we feel about it. And regardless of where a hiring manager or your future boss stand on this issue politically, reminding them of this concept won’t evoke positive emotions. Even if they may not consciously realize that, it makes them feel bad. And your chances of landing a job are much higher, if you make the hiring person feel good about their first encounter with you.
6. Your job-hunting strategy clashes with Czech culture
Have you seen Czechs? Most of them have a great deal of control over their emotions. And before anyone accuses me of stereotyping Czechs – I’m only reflecting on my personal experience of living in this amazing country for over 13 years. In my books, Czechs are rock-stars of controlling their own emotions.
Keeping their cool (and acting cool) is almost like a sort of trait of their national culture. This sets the tone of communication that people here are used to – whether written or verbal. Calmness, rational approach – these are largely expected from someone who is looking to see themselves succeed in this country. Some, may even feel disrespected if they come across a stranger who is acting overly emotional and dramatic.
What you should do instead is simply about focusing on what’s relevant for every job opportunity you’re pursuing. Present yourself, sell your professional skills, communicate confidence and high value you can offer to a potential employer. Mention qualities and experiences that your potential boss could be looking for. There are many tools out there, paid and free, that can help you communicate your professional profile better. Among others, you can also consider our services, that are tailored for expats living in Czech Republic.
By portraying a clear vision of what your professional value is, your social media post / application / CV is more likely to resonate with a relevant employer. In turn, such company would view you as a relevant asset for their team, and it would be more likely to present you with a decent offer.
Final thoughts on “looking for any job” claims by foreigners
I am aware that many of my readers happened to say or post something along the lines of “I’m looking for any job” at least once in their life. I also understand that this post might make some of you feel uncomfortable. I’m sorry for that. It’s meant for your good!
I hope this guidance on your job-hunting strategy will help you find a job in Czech Republic more quickly. If it helps at least one person, that’s time well spent for me. By the way, if you found this article useful, consider supporting the project by buying me a coffee here. It took me 3 cups of coffee to write it – so, refilling the stock would be awesome. 🙂 And, if you are looking for a job in Prague, consider joining our group on Facebook where other professional expats like yourself post jobs regularly and network with each other.
Check out other articles about work in Prague
- Stop losing a part of your salary when using paid vacation days in Czech Republic
- JnJ Prague jobs: Juicy insider info from a former employee
- How to get a Czech Republic work visa?
- Foreigner looking for any job in Czechia? That’s why you are still jobless!
- Czech Employee Card. How to change your employer without losing your card?