Looking for a job

A male hand writes the sentence "we're hiring" on a blackboard.
Photo: Pixabay

Over the past few months, I have written countless cover letters and redone my resume countless times to match organisations that were hiring. I've been rejected by all of them. The job I currently hold has little value for my degree and I got it because I was referred by someone else. Of course, looking for a job is nothing special. Almost all recent graduates go through this trial before they have some kind of employment and the sweet stability that it offers. Yet, I very often felt like I was all alone in this and that the odds were against me. Perhaps writing about how I have been struggling this summer might help someone else feel like they have company.

I must say I was in for the rudest shock when I realised that all the effort I put in the last few years has little value in the job market. It doesn't matter that I graduated cum laude in Anthropology or that this is my second Master's degree with about three years of work experience to weigh in over it. All the qualitative jobs I wanted preferred Dutch speakers and Dutch was also necessary for teaching posts, even those at international universities where English is the language of instruction.

In the handful of positions for which I was called for an interview, there was always someone better suited for the opportunity. I replied to every rejection asking if they had any suggestions on how I could improve my chances to get a similar role. Yet, I have always, without fail, gotten replies saying that there were simply too many candidates with a PhD to consider hiring someone who only got a Master's (sometimes even when the position in question is research assistant to another PhD student). Or they say there is nothing to change in my profile, they simply found someone who seemed better suited for the research topic.

This gives me very little direction on what to do next. It makes me feel like there's nothing I could have done to get the job. There is also the added tension of visa requirements, not to mention the debt I am accumulating by staying here while attempting to look for a job. Recently, I almost got a job in a retail shop. I was beyond excited! It would give me some much-needed income but also some company. Summer was lonely. However, the day before I was supposed to start, they told me that they didn't want to take the risk of hiring me, considering my visa only allows me to stay in the Netherlands till November. After that, I am eligible to apply for an Orientation Visa that does not require employee sponsorship, yet that wasn't enough.

Maybe if I had been able to follow my course offline, I would have managed to build a network that would help me find a job at least until November. Or maybe I could have picked up enough Dutch in that time as I intended to do when I first started my degree. But what use does any of the maybes have in the present anyway? It's too late for me now. I am leaving the Netherlands at the end of this month. I have a remote job at a start-up back in India. Unfortunately, this does not pay me enough to stay in the Netherlands but it would be sufficient to go back and figure out what I would like to do and what I can afford to do.