Stop Sending 100+ Applications

Steven Kneiser
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%)

Better every day

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?

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
…Compound Interest™

Your shareholders just called:
they want a better return-on-time

A three-pronged approach

NOTE: ignore this incomplete outline for a future draft

6 months will come to pass
whether you like it or not

What the heck are you gonna do
if you’re still unemployed?

Either wind up back at Square 1
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…

Is this very relevant to you?

Did I offer a clear next action?

Do you want more on this?

I love hearing your
thoughts & questions!

The chatbox (down to the right)
goes straight to my phone
where I always respond

What next?

⇒ Read our best stuff

⇒ or the new stuff

We help new developers 💃🕺 STAND OUT
in an increasingly noisy marketplace

⇒ Learn /about us

Find a job with your name on it

Become more than a Cover Letter

Get eye-catching job-hunt tips
& community launch updates
every Monday (12pm EST)

Absolutely no spam, ever. We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe anytime.

We help new developers 💃🕺 STAND OUT
in an increasingly noisy marketplace

⇒ Learn /about us

What next?

⇒ Read our best stuff

⇒ or the new stuff

⇒ what's behind door #3?