It takes 1,017 Applications to Get a Job Offer

Develop a Plan

  • Using information you gather from your job search (Job Boards and your networking, divide your search into 2-4 job areas or job title(s).
  • Compile what they are looking for in the requirements and experience sections for each job area(s)/title(s).
  • Convert these requirements into questions and ask yourself if you have the requirement and where you got the experience.
  • For your requirements, use the FAB/STAR method to write bullet points in your resume that describe your experience.
  • If you do not have the experience, put it into one of three buckets. The first is something that you can acquire while searching, the second is something you don’t have direct experience but something applicable, and the third is something you don’t have and would not be able to acquire while searching.
    • I like to color code these into Green (I have), Yellow (I can readily get), and Red (I don’t have, can’t get reasonably). I find this useful because you can highlight the job posting when preparing for an interview.
    • Note that you should have 70%+ of the requirements for any job you are applying to. Even entry-level roles rarely want to hire someone who doesn’t have most of the requirements they are looking for.
  • When applying, use the resume that most aligns with the requirements of the role you are applying to. These are living resumes, so use your job search activity to inform their effectiveness and require tweaks or changes.

Expand on your most recent or older relevant experience.

The FAB sheet is a nice way to organize your thoughts. You do not necessarily need to go through it, but it helps. The sad truth is even the best Manager may not be the best Interviewer. The FAB sheet helps you organize your thoughts and answers in a way that answers all their questions without them needing to ask specifically. It breaks down this into the Feature, the Action, and the benefit. An example might be I noticed we were spending $100,000 a year on printing (feature), so I instituted a policy and incentive program (action), and we saved over 350,000 in a three-year period (benefit)

Intelligent Job Search

You need to utilize intel signals from your job search to inform your actions. Searching for a job is a full-time sales job. You are the product; employers are the purchasers.

  • Your sales funnel is Application, Recruiter Screen, Interview(s), Offer
  • Your effectiveness is measured by the conversion (progress) through each stage.
  • The worst conversion rate is generally going to be the application to a recruiter screening.
  • The only feedback you can count on is if you move to the next stage (or don’t)

For example, if you keep getting to the recruiter screen and not into the interview, your resume and your response are most likely not aligning. This tends to happen when people embellish their resumes too much. Another example is if you rarely get any response at all. You are most likely applying to jobs that don’t match your experience/background/resume, have a ton of competition, or are not urgently hiring. 

Applicants to Initial Screening (10-15 out of 250+):

  • Conversion Rate: (10 to 15)/250=4% to 6%
  • Average Conversion Rate:  5%

Initial Screening to Presentation (~5-7 out of 10-15):

  • Conversion Rate: 5 to 7 (10 to 15) = 33-70%
  • Average Conversion Rate:  51.5%

Presentation to Interviews (3-4 out of 5-7):

  • Conversion Rate: (3 to 4)/(5 to 7) = 43% to 80%
  • Average Conversion Rate: 61.5%

Interviews to Final Interviews (2-3 out of 3-4):

  • (2 to 3) / (3 to 4) = 50% to 75%
  • Average Conversion Rate: 62.5

Final Interviews to Offer (1 out of 2-3):

  • Conversion Rate: 1/(2 to 3) = 33% to 50%
  • Average Conversion Rate: 41.5%

Summary Avg. Conversion

  • Initial Screening Rate:  5%
  • Presentation Rate: 51.5%
  • Interview Rate: 61.5%
  • Final Interview Rate: 62.5%
  • Offer Rate: 41.5%

Reverse Engineering would mean that if you were 100% effective in targeting and applying to a job, you would need to apply to a minimum of 305.3.

Assumptions and Realities

100% Match Assumption:

  • The calculation assumes that each application perfectly matches the candidate’s skills, experience, and job requirements.
  • The recruiter follows the described process with exact conversion rates.

Real-World Variability:

  • Job Relevance: Not every job application will be a perfect fit. The candidate may apply to some jobs where they are less qualified and others where they exceed the qualifications.
  • Employer Preferences: Different employers have varying criteria and preferences, which can affect the selection process at each stage.
  • Market Conditions: Economic conditions, industry demand, and job availability can influence the hiring process.
  • Competition: The number and quality of other applicants also play a significant role.

Adjusted Calculations

To account for real-world variability, we can introduce an effectiveness factor (e.g., 80% effectiveness), recognizing that not all applications will be perfectly targeted. Here’s how this would adjust the calculation:

  • Effectiveness Factor: Let’s assume a 30% effectiveness rate for targeting relevant jobs. This could be due to a lack of supply or candidate error.
    • This means only 30% of the applications are effectively targeted.
  • Adjusted Number of Applications:
    • From the previous calculation, we need 305 applications assuming 100% effectiveness.
    • If we consider 30% effectiveness, the number of applications would need to be higher.

Adjusted Applications1,016.66 application