Stop Sending 100+ Applications
6-minute read ⚠️ Work In Progress
“I must have sent over 500 applications by now. Whenever I tap submit, it feels like I’m just sending my resume out into the void.“
Some real horror stories out there
How many have you sent?
Maybe you’ve just felt stuck
Maybe you’ve been searching over a year now, searching for something …anything
Start By Stopping™
Stop sending your resume
to everyone & anyone with a pulse
That’s like only sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with that one friend who only likes to talk about themselves. There are other people (dare I say, even companies) out there reading the same books and speaking the same language as you. Stop sending your time & energy into voids, and your resume just might land somewhere (hopefully Earth).
Sorry, but if you’re sending 100+ applications, you’re doing it wrong. Many people are so stuck in their ways that they end up spinning their wheels on the wrong problems. They start thinking “okay, I’ll try doing a serious cover letter” or “jeez, I should consider hiring a resume writer.” They very well might need one, but they don’t notice how they’re doubling-down on the same below-average strategy.
There’s got to be a better way
You’re willing to go the distance
You just need some proper guidance
“If only there was a roadmap I could just follow…“
What do you do when you’re uncertain about what works? How about NOT going all-in on one strategy?
How do we better distribute our time?
A systems approach
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This section
is on the chopping block& will be repurposed into a dedicated essay
It’s easy to get stuck in this mindset that we’re relatively fixed quantities. You didn’t stop growing just because you left school. Far from it. We need to think of you like an expensive product. When applying for companies: you’re essentially selling a high-ticket product (or a service, technically).
There’s a “1% better every day” trope in Business circles. Unless you work in finance, 1% probably sounds insignificant …which is why minds get blown when they first notice this calculation. The math goes: if you improve 1% every day for an entire year, that compounds into a 38x improvement! (Note: not 1% to 38% …to 3778%)
At the same time, outside of timed updates, products benefit from NOT changing. Unlike products, we actually fluctuate quite subtly every day. The secret is to find small ways to invert that balance. We want growth. We want to make meaningful progress day after day, but often the best way to do that is so stay stubbornly consistent.
What most people ignore is how the best way to get 1% better every day is to stay consistent enough to focus that inevitable movement into one specific direction.
This is a pretty tired trope, but we’re looking for 1% better every day. The difference here is that the secret isn’t in the 1%. It’s in the normal 100%. You’re a living-breathing person, who changes every moment. Your very cells mutate very slightly every time they replicate: this is a feature, not a bug with your software. What makes the 1% or even .0001% better every day so powerful is less about the positive direction, but the subtle compounding that defines exponential growth.
You do NOT default to doing the same thing every day. Far from it. I couldn’t do the same first 3 things every day even if I tried. I might tell myself I’ll just check Twitter for notifications, but that’s rarely how it plays out. We’re inherently unpredictable machines, and our focus is on reducing that uncertainty. Employers, in some sense, are uncertainty-reducing machines.
What we’re missing is a feedback mechanism. You’re putting all this energy into shouting into the void, when what we should be focused on is tightening up our inconsistencies so we can start drawing conclusions. When you get rejected by 20 companies, have you considered probing them just a little more to find out where. You aren’t doomed to a reality with only no-reply rejections & “poor culture fit” excuses. What if you simply took the time to just ask: “what can I do in the next three months to justify another conversation?” It’s better than nothing, and the 10% that take the time to give you a thoughtful response are precisely the ones that you should revisit in time.
There’s nothing worse than getting rejected from the position you were really betting on after months of effort. It feels like you’re starting over from Day 1 …except with even less money. Your search should less look like throwing more darts onto a dartboard, and more like learning something significant from each 2-5 companies to point you in a better direction. That’s progress. Next time you get sweaty from a job search workout, make sure you made it a few miles towards your goal instead of stepping off a treadmill right where you started. We’re here to make meaningful progress, not just spin our wheels.
A portfolio approach
Alright, this is where it gets really fun!
Your time is your most precious asset
Stop spending time
Start investing it
Let’s run a quick audit
How are you spending your time?
- scanning job boards to apply
- messaging people in your network
- building relationships with others
- rewriting your resume & cover letters
- re-evaluate your life & purpose
…while cleaning your room (just me?)
- studying algorithms & data structures
- rehearsing negotiations with friends
- building your portfolio
- writing a blog
If >80% of your time is just applying,
then you’re spending, not investing
Let’s find a better use of your time,
something with more
Your shareholders just called:
they want a better return-on-time
A three-pronged approach
NOTE: ignore this incomplete outline for a future draft
- Random cold outreach to professionals who inspire you(permission-less apprenticeships …all you need is one yes & the more high-quality they are, the more willing they are to share)
- Systems improvement (refining the bread & butter of your niche)
- Experimental & minimum acceptable
- Inject more chaos (my personal touch)
- Revenge Spam (ohoo this is my favorite one. This is not to be confused with worthwhile activities …but sometimes you really need those quick wins to get your head out of the sand and remember that there are always more opportunities. Sometimes motion really is the best medicine & you need to get yourself back into an abundance mindset. Maybe you do eventually send 100 applications …but the difference here is we’re not confusing these with SERIOUS applications. You can send 1000 of these for all I care. All those random low-quality spam requests you get on Indeed & LinkedIn? This is your time for revenge: we’re going to counter-spam …maybe even have fun seeing what information you can get out of them. Who said the job search can’t be fun?)
- Make it multiplayer (what if you job searched like a politician runs for office? You’re going on the campaign trail)
6 months will come to pass
whether you like it or not
What the heck are you gonna do
if you’re still unemployed?
applying to another 100+
…or get 90% closer
Stop sending 100+ applications
Start inviting 100+ conversations
Start making 100+ new friends
Start asking 100+ questions
⚠️ Full story: coming soon…