Resume Doctor Mailbag: How Many Jobs Should I be Applying for?

  • Welcome to our Resume Doctor Mailbag series! This is where we answer common questions or inquiries we get either in person, through our website (you can ask us questions here), or common unanswered questions we come across online. Enjoy!

    Dear Resume Doctor: "It's been 3 months since I've been searching for a job and I still haven't gotten one yet. I've applied to about 50-60 jobs so far, but feel like I should be doing more. How many job applications should I be sending out each day?"

    First thing's first, the # of applications you should be sending out every day/week/month is highly dependent on your experience level. But, I will say that 50-60 is on the lower end of the spectrum when you consider that it was over a 3 month period. Here's a decent breakdown and guide you can follow to see what your job application volume should look like:

    • Entry Level: 3-5 applications per day
    • Mid-level: 2-3 applications per day
    • Senior level: 1-2 TAILORED applications per day
    • Executive level: 1 TAILORED application per day

    To be quite honest with you, this is the bare minimum you should be aiming for. Personally, when I first starting really dedicating myself to job applications I was hitting 6-8 applications per day (Monday-Friday) and about ~5-6 interviews per week. Of course, that volume became way too much to keep up but I was generally able to find employment within 2-3 weeks when I was dedicated to the job search. I also know quite a few people who were hitting 10+ applications each and every day with slightly lower interview returns (~3 interviews a week), but that shows you the type of volume you should be aiming for.

    The most important thing to keep in mind when searching for a job, is that the job search is a number's game and volume is king. Of course, the higher and higher you go in seniority/experience level, the more quality and tailoring matters and the fewer job openings there are, but for entry and mid level positions it's all about that volume. So get off Fortnite, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Reddit, or whatever other distractions you have and pump out those job applications!

    Another thing to keep in mind is location. For some of you, there simply aren't that many job openings available to you. When quantity of job openings are a concern, then it is crucial for you to dedicate a good amount of time on each and every application. This is true for location, seniority, and niche career fields where there simply might only be a new openings each week.

    If location is an issue and you simply can't find job openings, consider applying to remote positions through remote.co or weworkremotely.com.

    A second option, is to be more active on LinkedIn. Applying through job postings isn't the only way to get jobs, in fact, it's not even the most effective or efficient way to get jobs. Most job positions are filled through networking, so dedicating a few hours to LinkedIn every week is going to yield far greater returns than just applying to every job opening you can find. Here's a breakdown for you on how you can more effectively utilize LinkedIn, and we'll be coming out with a comprehensive LinkedIn guide down the line.

    Treat job applications like they're your full time job. That means 6-8 hours a day Monday-Friday and treat it seriously. I notice way too many people spending half an hour on 1 or 2 applications then getting frustrated and stopping for the day. Remove your emotions from the equation and think of it like a numbers game. 1 application = 1% increase in chance for an interview, so 100 applications should guarantee you an interview! Of course, in reality your resume should be higher quality so it's more like 1 application = 2-3% increase for an interview.

    Spend a couple days making a great resume then focus on volume, LinkedIn, and networking from there on out. You'll get there for sure!

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