I'm a mid-senior level UX designer. I moved to an Eastern-European Schengen country from South-East Asia six months ago because I'm married to an EU citizen. My resident permit lets me work here without extra permission, and in most Schengen countries, I can also work if I get a resident permit for those countries because I'm a family member of an EU citizen. I was asked to leave my old job because of the move, as my employer couldn't hire from abroad.
Okay, so what’s the problem?
- For five months, I've been applying to different companies here and in nearby Schengen countries.
- I apply to jobs advertised in English, which ask for English as the main language.
- I'm actually good at my job and meet all requirements, and my job is also in demand. I used to get a lot of interest on LinkedIn before.
- Every application now gets rejected swiftly. The record time was 6 hours. In five months, I've been rejected from all the jobs I applied for. I only had 3 phone interviews, but they also dropped it when I said I didn't need a work permit. They asked me about my work permit, I told them I do not need one (I even sent official links to a few to support my claim), and they got very confused and dropped the application. This does not make any sense.
- Each rejection says the same thing: "Although you're a good fit, it is the little nuances that made us choose another candidate." Or, "We're sorry, but we had to consider a better-suited candidate." These can't be true because the jobs were still open when I got rejected. They must not really read my applications, or they wouldn't decide in six hours. I know this because I track my portfolio views with Google Analytics, and no one visits, literally. Nobody asks about skills or experience either at this point.
- Fridays are the worst – I get most rejections on Fridays, sometimes many in one day, like they're rushing to bin my application before the weekend.
I replied to 2 rejection email asking clarification whether they had any doubt regarding my residency or work authorisation status. One said it was “the little nuances”, the other said “not your residency or work authorisation status but someone else was a better fit”. Strangely, these positions are still vacant. Ironically, a lot of my country-folks are employed all over Europe because mostly they studied in Europe or got transferred internally in their companies. It is sad, because I am sure of my skills and I know I could be a valued employee for the companies who are rejecting.
Things I tried
Remote jobs, Updated portfolio website, updated resume, country specific resume formats, professional email address, personalised cover letter, unsolicited application, settling for minimum wage, connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn, upfront telling that I don’t need work permit on the cover letter — you name it, I have probably done it.
I did have my cv analysed by recruiter here and she said it is very good and suggested some small changes. Which I applied and nothing improved.
The freelancing option
I looked it up. The country where I am currently, has some stringent laws and extremely high taxes for freelancing to the point that it is rendered an unprofitable business.
I tried applying to more modern and progressive Central and Western European countries, but got back the same response. I'm not sure if it's because of my name (it's not strange, just foreign) or my ethnicity. Feels like shadow-banning. How can I make my chances of getting a job better? Also, please suggest if any other approach or anything. I also would love to know if I am doing anything not correctly. Thank you.
PS. I am not blaming anyone and I do understand that is how it is. But what I can do to put forth my values beyond whatever biases they are having?