That's the situation 28-year-old Elba Berganza, a video post-production graduate from the Basque country of Spain, found herself in just a year ago. She was simply overqualified for the jobs available.
Youth unemployment in Spain was 54.9 per cent at the end of last year, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office.
"It's very sad. The last three years have been tough. At one point, you look at yourself and at your life and you say 'I have nothing,'" Berganza said.
Every day this week, CBC's Daybreak will introduce you to a new Montrealer who packed up and moved across borders.
They came for a variety of reasons: to set up a business, to live in a safer place, and for Berganza, to find steady employment.
Listen to CBC Daybreak at 7:15 a.m. each day this week for stories from new Montrealers. Tune in on 88.5 FM/104.7 FM in the west end or online here.
After just four days in Montreal, Berganza found a job at a video game company, testing games that have been translated into Spanish.
"I couldn't believe it," she said.
"It's a good job, and I can feel useful. But it's not my goal here. My goal is to get work related to my studies, and I'm working very hard to get that going."
It wasn't just the lure of a job that attracted Berganza to Montreal.
"I like the peace that you feel in the city. There is place to walk, there are parks, and lots of activities. I like that ambience. You feel good here," she said.
While she likes Montreal, she also sees the city as a stepping stone to bigger and better opportunities.
"I want to learn good French and perfect my English, and try to work in my field," she said.
"I really think I will go back home eventually because I don't think I can live so far from my family. But who knows, anything can happen."
Follow our series on CBC Daybreak and on CBC.ca/Montreal and share your advice for newcomers to the city on social media with the hashtag #New2MTL.
We'll gather the best responses and feature them in our coverage.