Apparently, there is an emerging mismatch of skills and competences between what job seekers have and what employers are looking for in the labour market.

It is true, as I have come to experience it first hand as an active job seeker within the EU. My experiences come from having targeted jobs in the Nordics and Western Europe after graduating from a reputable QS World Top 100 University, attaining A-B grades, participating actively in student athletics and also in business competitions. It took me six months to get a full-time job.

Below are five challenges that I faced when looking for a job in the EU.

  1. Job Search Process is Complicated
  2. Recruiters
  3. Professional Qualifications
  4. Language Barriers
  5. Discrimination

Mazhr girlDuring my job search process I utilized over a dozen different online and offline channels. I created professional profiles on major platforms such as Monster, LinkedIn and Graduateland. Large companies that I found interesting such as Unilever and P&G had their own internal talent systems (CV Bank) that required I create a duplicate internal profile and complete tests. I searched on open portals such as EURES,, and multiple country specific portals (such as hoiTalent for the Netherlands).

I also utilized an executive search firm, various recruitment agencies and their recruiters, dealt with some cowboy recruiters, and with plenty of in-house recruiters during my time as an active EU job seeker. This made me think to myself,

“The job search process is complicated, time consuming, not transparent or even seamless”.

All in all, after having read the hundreds of job descriptions and job requirements out there, I saved around 119 positions and applied for 74 selected positions. I kept track of the jobs applied for, dates, links and subsequent updates in an excel document. The results: I had multiple phone and email interviews, 22 in-person interviews, eleven second interviews, plenty of cognitive, ability, personality, logic tests, case studies and assessment centers.

The black hole of waiting

However, like many other young EU youth job seekers, I also experienced infamous “black hole” of waiting for weeks or months for a reply, follow up, or a callback that never came, despite assurances from recruiters that, “we will get back to you in the next few days”.

I conducted my job search in phases, where I selectively applied for jobs I wanted and where I observed that I met the posted job description and requirements. I applied for a handful of jobs at a time to ensure that I had the time and energy to do detailed research on each company and personalize my cover letter and CV for each position to fit the job description and requirements of that company.

I did this because I wanted to be prepared for the prospective interview and show the company or recruiter that I had a genuine interest and knowledge about the company and their industry. I can disclose to you that as more time went by, the less picky I became with the type of position, location, company and industry I applied for.

In honesty, it was quite the challenge and it may sound excessive, but I have friends, acquaintances from various EU states starting from the south of Spain, to the coasts of Greece, stretching all the way to the north of Finland, who have doubled, if not tripled their efforts in comparison with mine to landing a job, but are still without one, despite actively seeking a job within the EU.

”Recruiting is filling in forms and blankets for nothing”

It is my experience and belief that young EU job seekers spend the majority of their job search trying to find these various resources and channels, filling in forms and blankets for nothing and adapting themselves to fit the square boxes that are presented to them by each different employer, agency or recruiter in that country. The entire job search process is time consuming, stressful and largely inefficient. This is a problem hundreds of thousands face today and will probably face years to come if the current status quo remains regarding recruitment and selection.

I can only begin to imagine how much tougher the job search process is for those EU youth who are less fortune than me, for those hard working students from less reputable universities, less reputable EU countries, for those who studied hard and did not achieve “great or excellent” grades, those who do not have the full support of their families and loved ones and how hard the economic and recruitment landscape negatively affects them.

The process of looking for jobs in the EU for youth needs to be made simpler; it needs to become fun, transparent, it needs to be digital, streamlined and most importantly more effective.

“5 Challenges EU Youth Job Seekers Face [Part Two]” will be published next week on our blog.


M2Talent is developing a new job search service that will help young job seekers to identify and verify one´s potential and find job openings matching best personal competences and preferences. The new application called Mazhr® will improve employment of young people and other disadvantaged groups in Europe and narrow the accelerating gap between the growing amount of job seekers and job vacancies. The long awaited era of a non-discriminating recruitment process will be here soon.

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