Between August 2014 and July 2019 I have applied for just over 100 jobs.
Like most people, I find job hunting to be stressful. I am also extremely passionate about having a roof over my head, being able to purchase food and other necessities in a capitalist system.
I (initially) was not very good at it, so I decided to approach it more methodically and for myself, to document my track record.
Using a simple spreadsheet (google sheet) I tracked the following categories:
Location, Company, URL, Role, Date Applied, 1st Interview...
Depending on whether an interview was active, rejected or awaiting a response, I color coded them blue, red and black respectively.
Here is a chart with the breakdown of the number of jobs I applied over the years with some more info about the process below.
(Source code for image can be found here)
After completing a 5 month web development bootcamp (Flatiron School) with no college degree to boot, I landed my first freelance contract in 2014 as a data analyst for DemocracyWorks in Brooklyn, New York.
In 2015, I relocated to the Netherlands and shortly after, Berlin, Germany. Which was great for my mental health but terrible for my career momentum. I had EU citizenship, otherwise my lack of a college degree would have been a VISA hurdle. I had very few connections in the job market. I was terrified of getting rejected, so I applied for a paltry four jobs in 2015, so it's not surprising that I was rejected from all four. I barely had any feedback loop to learn from. That time, however, was not wasted. I went travelling that year with my savings and also explored other programming languages and technologies. I also got more involved with different meet-ups and slack user groups, in particular Ruby User Group Berlin and WeAllJS
In 2016, again, I barely applied to any jobs (six in total), but I got lucky and was accepted to two of them. One was a short term contract and the other was a longer-term job at a wonderful company called DaWanda that spanned 18 months until it filed for bankruptcy.
In 2018 I got more bold and applied for 43 jobs, landing screening interviews with 14 of them, and 10 more secondary/third interviews, before accepting a job at Curated Shopping Group. I also was flown in for interviews on two separate occasions, which I used as an opportunity to visit family. One was at GitHub's Headquarters in San Francisco, and the other interview at a company I am forbidden from naming, due to my Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) 🤷🏻♂️
In 2019, I was laid off two weeks before my probation period expired (6 months usually in Germany) with two weeks notice so I had to find a job quickly. In the following 2 months, I applied for another 41 jobs, which resulted in 16 interviews with 12 different companies, before I accepted an offer at a mobility sharing company called ShareNow, which was formed in a merger between Daimler's car2go and BMW's DriveNow.
Some of my key findings.
Over a third of all companies got back to me at least for a screening interview. Some took days, others (especially larger companies) took months. On two occasions, I interviewed the same interviewer twice, in two different companies about a year apart!
With the exception of a few larger companies e.g. Babbel, Github and Thoughtbot, all the companies I interviewed made a decision in two interviews or less (not including a screening interview).
Most companies are quite disorganised. Some companies try to filter candidates out with difficult application processes, automated IQ tests and online challenges, while others have buzzword driven interviews. The best ones took the time to read my resume and get to know me as a person.
My shortest interview cycle was 5 days and my longest was 7 months!
I have applied for the same job multiple times and got further in the interview process the second time. In short, don't be afraid to apply for jobs you really want again and again! And remember, to have fun. It's mostly a crapshoot!
What advice do you have and how many jobs have you applied for?
Throughout the last year, I have worked part-time as a working student and also studied at the university. I was not the first and not the last one who has combined that during their studies, but the problem for me was, that at the end of the day I have felt absolutely exhausted mentally and physically. That caused problems with my health and motivation to continue working on my goals or anything. (yeah, “goals,” I wish I had something more specific at that time).