People will tell you that looking for a job is a full-time job, but does it have to be? And does applying to a high number of companies really get you hired faster?
In this article, I’ll share how many jobs you should apply for each day and week in your job search for best results.
I’ll also share some important steps to take that will boost your odds of hearing back from the company.
Job seekers should apply for 5 to 10 jobs per day when beginning their job search. However, the quality of the job application is most important, and some days you’ll send fewer applications if you’re networking, messaging hiring managers directly, etc.
On average, 5 to 10 job applications per day is a good range to aim for when applying for positions.
This number may decrease over time as you move further through your job search and begin taking phone interviews, attending on-site interviews, and nearing the job offer stage with one or more employers.
It’s important to focus on having quality interactions with each employer as you move through the interview process, and so it’s best to slow down and spend more hours on these interactions. Therefore, you’ll be applying for fewer jobs as each week fills with more interviews, which is fine.
In an hour, you may be able to send 10 applications for online job postings, compared to only being able to send two or three well-crafted networking messages to former colleagues/friends.
But those messages to a colleague could get you referred to a hiring manager at their new company, and help you get a job much faster.
So in general, while you should apply to as many jobs as possible per day, focus on quality over quantity and don’t rush through your applications.
The only purpose of applying to jobs is to get interviews. And if you’re rushing so much or taking the easy route (online applications) and not getting interviews, then there’s no point… and it doesn’t matter how many jobs you’re applying for.
Also, take the time to tailor/customize your resume for each position. It only takes a few minutes and I explain how here. The same goes for cover letters. If an employer requests/requires a cover letter, customize it for them by explaining why you think you’d do well in their job.
If you’re currently working a full-time job or have a busy schedule for other reasons, then you may not be able to hit an average of 5 to 10 job applications per day. That’s fine; simply do the best you can and focus on high-impact activities like networking.
While you may not be able to apply to as many job postings as someone who is unemployed, you have job income, which should make the job search less stressful financially.
You can also apply for jobs while at work, but this is risky and I am not recommending it. I’m simply pointing this out as an option. Applying for jobs while at work is only something I’d recommend if you work from home. Otherwise, the risk of being caught and terminated is too high.
If you’ve just graduated from college, you should apply to every relevant job posting you can find. It’s often difficult to find true entry-level positions where an employer isn’t requiring experience, so when you do find one, you should absolutely apply. Aim for an average of 5 to 10 applications per day.
However, if you’re below this number but submitting high-quality applications, don’t worry; that’s fine. The number of entry-level job postings that you’re able to find will depend heavily on your major and the city you’re job searching in.
Also, ask your professors if they know employers who are hiring recent graduates. Take advantage of resources offered by your university career center such as help with building your resume, writing a cover letter, and preparing for interview topics/questions.
Applying for jobs online isn’t a waste of time, but you shouldn’t rely on it as your sole method of job applications, either. The average online job posting receives over 100 applicants and just 2-3% will get an interview on average.
Whereas, if you can get referred to hiring managers via someone in your network, you’ll stand out and be much more likely to get your resume seen and get invited to interview for the job.
You can also apply to employers who haven’t posted a job. Email them, explain why their company caught your interest, briefly share your background and how you could help them, and then ask them if they may have a need for someone with your background now or in the near future.
Share a link to your LinkedIn profile, too, so they can learn more about you if they’re interested.
You won’t be guaranteed that an employer is open to hiring someone if you didn’t see a job posting, but you’ll be certain that there’s little to no competition if they are open to it! That’s the benefit of writing to employers even if they don’t have a relevant job post.
This is an even better idea if you see that they’ve posted a few jobs in general. If they’re looking to fill a number of roles, but simply not your exact position, then it’s a great idea to write because it’s clear they’re growing in general.
Sometimes they’ll be planning on posting a job, or just growing so fast that they’re open to the idea of hiring great, motivated people in general. This is why I recommend specifically looking at INC’s list of 5,000 fastest growing companies and applying there.
In my experience as a recruiter, the average person applies for more than 200 positions throughout the course of their job hunt, and sometimes as many as 400. However, the typical job seeker tends to submit too many online job applications while doing too little to connect directly with their network and hiring managers at employers that interest them.
If you follow my guidelines above and apply to 5 to 10 companies a day, there will be job seekers who are applying more than you, but they’re not sending out quality applications, and I’m willing to bet you’ll get more job interviews.
You’ll get better results in your job hunt if you network and take time to customize each job application, cover letter, and resume. Focus on high-value activities rather than high-volume.
The only metric that matters is whether you’re getting callbacks or not.
You should balance speed and quality when it comes to sending each job application, and don’t worry about whether other job seekers are submitting more resumes than you.
Spending a week to send one application isn’t efficient or effective, but only applying via large job boards and LinkedIn without any customization to your resume and cover letter won’t get you interviews, either. You may feel busy, but if you’re not getting job interviews week after week, then what you’re doing is not effective.
Yes, you should be applying to many jobs while waiting to hear back from employers after applying. It’s a mistake to decide a particular job is your “dream job” and then wait for that one employer after applying.
The job seekers who send out a single job application and then wait are often the slowest to complete their job search.
This goes for waiting for a response after your interview, too. Don’t stop applying for jobs just because you had one interview that you’re excited about.
It’s a good idea to apply for multiple jobs and to continue applying until you’ve signed a job offer and set a start date!
Of course, as you begin getting interviews, you’ll have slightly less time to apply for new jobs which is fine. But don’t completely stop applying for jobs until you’re certain you’ve landed a new position.
At times, you’ll see numerous relevant jobs at one company. If you’re wondering whether you can apply for multiple jobs at one employer, the answer is “yes”. However, I recommend applying for no more than two to three jobs at one company.
Decide which two to three jobs are most relevant and attractive and apply to those. Sending more than two to three job applications to a single company will make you appear desperate/scattered and could cost you the job interview.
It’s normal to be rejected or to not hear a response from employers after applying for a job. You may be rejected up to 90% of the time. However, you can reduce the number of rejections you receive by networking, contacting hiring managers directly, and “tailoring” your resume and cover letter to speak to the company’s needs.
Many candidates think their resume and cover letter are all about them. The truth is they should be about how you’ll help an employer. When applying to jobs, your resume is your sales pitch for why they should hire you.
So your resume needs to address how you can help the company you’re applying to.
For every application, ask yourself, “Does my resume clearly show how I’ll be able to help the company in this particular job, based on their job description?”
If the answer is “no” then you should adjust your resume before applying for the job. The most critical areas to adjust (and the resume sections that employers look at first/most) are:
Also, optimize and modify your LinkedIn profile for the general type of job you want. Adjust your LinkedIn summary, work history, and skills. Also, consider getting endorsements for your top skills and ask colleagues to write recommendations on your profile.
Many hiring managers will view your LinkedIn and other social media accounts when you apply for jobs online, so this will help you get more job interviews.
As you apply to jobs, you may wonder how many total job applications are needed before getting hired. This number varies greatly and can be anywhere from 10 to 300+. It depends entirely on how you’re applying, how attractive your skill set is to employers, and what the overall job market is doing.
If you want to send fewer applications but still find a job faster, then you need to use your network and also find creative ways to contact employers. Try connecting with a hiring manager via social media, or sending a written letter, or following the company on LinkedIn and commenting on their posts for a few weeks before emailing them, etc.
Also, follow up on job applications. Most candidates don’t follow up enough in their job search. You can follow up via email, social media, or any other online channel that companies use.
The more you can do differently while job seeking, the better. There are so many candidates applying to each online job that it’s difficult to get a hiring manager to notice you if you’re doing the same things as every other candidate.
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