What I Learned From Applying For 200 Jobs In 7 Months

Joe Coad II
Jun 25, 2019 · 5 min read

How can you get rejected from so many jobs during this period of time?

Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

I wasn’t happy with my job last summer. I started working for a small digital marketing agency in February 2018. I had followed the company on social media and subscribed to their newsletter for months. They appeared to have fun while working and I was looking to leave the job that brought me to Orlando, FL.

I was hired at the end of February; by August I hated going to work every day. I didn’t have an attachment to any of my work as the social media manager for 35 accounts. The workload was too much for one person and I began to crumble and make mistakes.

By the end of August, I started applying for other jobs. I was a 31 year old with a background in radio broadcasting. I was able to use those skills to make a move to social media marketing and leave radio behind. I had nearly three years of marketing experience when I began to apply for positions. I redesigned my resume and hit the job boards. Here’s what I learned from applying for over 200 jobs in seven months.

Do you know how long it takes to apply for a job? Depending on the field you work in, and the sites you use, this could take anywhere from a couple of minutes to 45 minutes. I use LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor for my job search locally while finding various job boards for remote work here and there. Some employers who use these sites allow you to upload your profile and apply in a matter of a couple of clicks. I’ve found myself applying for a few of these jobs just to see if I would get a response.

Let’s not forget about the companies that ask for your resume but also make you fill in your work history as well. I would guess this ate up about three hours of my time after applying for as many jobs as I applied for during this time.

When I worked in radio it was normal to wear multiple hats. I entered the radio landscape when technology had decimated the number of jobs in this field. On top of hosting and producing my nightly five (sometimes six) hour show, I was responsible for adding keywords for our rewards program, managing the prizes that went with this program, scheduling music, helping with social media management, and writing blogs. I was paid $22,000 per year for all of this.

No matter where I looked, whether it was LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed, I always saw a long list of job qualifications. This list included basic tasks, advanced tasks, and some even required you to have a Master’s Degree or Doctorate. These were pretty close to entry-level jobs and they had a list of qualifications longer than Santa’s Naughty or Nice list. As it stands now, I’m a marketing coordinator. This means I’m responsible for our digital strategies, such as creating and managing social media posts, blogging, paid social ads, and email blasts.

I’m also tasked with working on traditional marketing, such as billboards, radio, and television. I work for a small business so it’s easy for the owners to bundle all these jobs into one. However, for a successful marketing campaign, this is the job of three or four people.

You found a job that is suitable for your qualifications, finally. It’s going to be for a company that you know about and not far from your home. You scroll down and see the salary offer (if there is a salary offer). And then you begin to laugh hysterically. At least for my field, this always happened.

The value that people have for creators, photographers, designers, and marketers is little to none. I’ve worked in marketing for three years as of this writing and have never made more than $40,000 per year, living in a major American city. I would argue that these positions are more important than most because they represent a business’s presence in the world.

However, employers would beg to differ. For someone who has my level of experience, I should be making at least $10,000 more than what I’m being paid at the moment. Many jobs don’t understand the value of the work you can do, which leaves it up to you to negotiate what you feel is fair for your role.

This includes rejection emails and phone interviews. When I was on the job hunt, I applied for over 200 jobs. It might be closer to 300 jobs. Out of those jobs I applied for, I received a response from 20. 7 of these inquiries were to set up an interview.

I didn’t go to school for math but just looking at these numbers lets me know that the chances of applying for a job and hearing back are very small. With the ease of how we can apply for jobs now, you can fire off several applications at a time. Just because you can shoot multiple times doesn’t mean it’s a great idea.

There’s a great article written by Bryan Karr that examines the broken job marketing. I highly recommend reading his chicken and egg theory after you finish this essay.

When you get rejected as many times as I did (I was only offered one job out of the 20 that contacted me about next steps) you begin to lose the fear of rejection. I have always hated being told no but this was an excellent way to overcome that fear.

Rejection is difficult for anyone. If you’ve applied for a job that you believe is suited for you, and you don’t get hired, that can lead to sadness and depression about your skills. Maybe that job or company just isn’t right for you at the moment. There’s always something to learn when it comes to applying for a job or getting rejected.

The hardest part about leaving a job is finding your next step in your career journey. This is why so many people never leave. There are other jobs out there. If you’re feeling unsatisfied with your career level then it’s time to break out your resume, hit the job boards (or utilize your network), and get rejected a few times.

It will all be worth it in the end.

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