It’s a question as old as time itself, how many job applications do I need to send out before I get a job. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. There haven’t been too many studies conducted which can provide a straightforward answer as to how many job applications you need to submit to in order to land a job.
However, it is generally understood that applying as frequently and as often as possible is your best bet. At the end of the day, it’s a numbers game and submitting to as many positions as possible will increase your chances at landing an interview and eventually a job offer.
The job application process can be a frustrating one, with many candidates complaining about the lack of transparency and communication around the process. The process is, however, complicated. With more-and-more companies utilizing the applicant tracking system (ATS), some applications never even reach the recruiter, much-less the hiring manager.
On top of that, on average, a recruiter will only scan your resume for upwards of 6-seconds. Clearly not enough time to make an informed and accurate decision. Which is why you need to ensure that your resume is perfect and has clear, bolded key points and information.
This is also why having a well-positioned, properly articulated cover letter is so important. Anything that can give you even the slightest edge over other candidates should be utilized. Your cover letter should be used to “sell yourself” and your qualifications for the specific job you are applying to. It should be customized for each-and-every application you send. Your cover letter just may be the document that convinces the recruiter to give you an initial phone screen.
Essentially, the hiring process sucks. We all know it, but it is the system that is currently in place. But you should note, that the process is stacked against all applicants. So, while you’re feeling frustrated about the process, understand that so are thousands of other applicants. We have written up an article on how you can increase your interview chances here, which some readers of this site have sworn by.
What Can You Do?
At the end of the day, you need to take advantage of all your available resources to increase your chances at landing an initial phone screen. This means you need to put in the additional time and work in your applications to ensure they’re perfect.
Clearly, your resume is the most important document you have when sending through an application. Rework your resume for each job application. Ensure that your resume is proofread and grammatically correct. Peruse the job application and insert keywords from the application into your resume.
Your cover letter is the next most important document. It too should be rewritten for each application you send. Your cover letter should not be a regurgitation of your resume. Rather, it should speak to your skills, qualifications, and ability to complete the job role. Your cover letter should be your sales pitch to the recruiter and the hiring manager on why you are the best candidate for the role.
You want to apply to a job posting as-soon-as-possible and ideally within the first 24-hours. This will ensure that you are one of the first applicants and will increase your chances of having the recruiter or hiring manager see your application.
In addition, you should try to apply before 10:00 AM so it is one of the first email notifications seen by the recruiter in their email inbox. Lastly, always try to apply on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. People generally begin to slack off a bit at work on Thursday and Friday’s.
Update your LinkedIn profile with your most recent skills and turn-on the “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” button.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to the whims of the applicant tracking system. Network with your former colleagues, your friends, and your family to see if they have any connections or know of any openings at their company. You’re more likely to be hired at a company if you were referred.
Just as important as networking is outreach. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager separately and inquire on the status of your application. If done professionally and politely, you can increase your chances of landing that phone interview.
Just Keep Going
No matter what, you need to continue to keep sending applications and grinding your way through the process. It is not easy, it can be extremely frustrating, but there is something out there for you and you will find it eventually. Continue to refine and rewrite your resume and cover letter, update your LinkedIn profile, and continue to network and outreach to recruiters and hiring managers.