What I Learned When I Applied For 100+ jobs in a month…

In between contract work, I always work on my skills and keep my ear to the floor. I go to meet ups, shake hands, go to business conventions and always try to guess where the market is going. Recently with a decrease in contract work flowing in, I decided to kick it into overdrive with finding temp contracts / part time development work and even full-time work if the pay matched what I was expecting. I recently looked back on the amount of resumes I put out, and I realized it was around 100+ resumes. Now how did I get to this rate? I use of course Indeed and LinkedIn jobs and had quite a number of calls. Well, let me tell you about what I learned along the way. Also if you think 100+ job applications is a lot ,it actually averages around 3.3 per day give or a take a few.

One Resume Is Never Enough

I have around 20 resumes that are branched from my main resume. They each cater to a different job title. UI Developer, UI designer, WordPress Developer, WordPress Marketing Developer, SEO analyst, Email Marketing Coordinator, Front-End Developer and so on and so forth. Now each of these vary in some ways to target specific keywords within the applications I am applying for because there are certain keywords that need to be caught in a lot of these application screeners. You can’t use the same resume for every position because a front-end developer is different from an SEO analyst. By creating these small resumes and keeping them saved in the cloud allows me to always be ready at a moment’s notice to apply to them on my phone when someone has told me “hey I just saw (INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE) put a position up for (INSERT POSITION HERE) and I think you would be good for it”.

Ask For Resume Feedback

Now this is something I see over and over again, what you think might be a good resume might not actually be a good resume. I have talked to people within the tech industry that have told me they think their resume is good. When I ask to see it, they become defensive. Someone is going to see your resume and better to have someone who isn’t hiring you judge you for it. When I was redoing my resume, I had business leaders, other developers, copywriters and just about anyone and everyone read over it. I also had them critique the living snot out of my resume because I wanted it to be the best it possibly could. And it is much improved for it because of how many eyes I had viewing it. My original revision vs revision…14,000,605 is vastly different and if you turned on the mark up history it would probably blow your mind with how much it changed and with how many people helped.

Always Carry Paper Copies

Now this might sound weird but carry extra paper copies. Now the reason why I have started doing this is due to the fact that I have had a few times where I go to a company and they forget to print out some. It may also be that their network went down and they can’t view my resume on the net. Or even in 1 rare case the power went out for the office and we had to hold the interview outside and being surrounded by cement buildings can impact cell service.

Take The Leap and even if you fail, try again.

Capt. Picard once said “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” I have heard from a number of people who tell me “I don’t match with this position 100%, I think I will fail if I apply.” I hate to reference my old blog about hiring. If you meet 70% of the criteria you should go ahead and apply. Yes, you might fail, and you might fail hard but failing is part of life. Even if you meet 100% of a job position you can still lose and that is ok. Part of it all is to keep on trying and you will become better and better at job interviews. How I handle job interviews now isn’t how I handled them at the beginning. That being said companies still turn me down; however, that doesn’t deter me I still try and get back up.

Companies are only human as well

Now this might blow your mind, but I have had companies mess up on the hiring process with me. Such as getting mixed up with the job I was interviewing for, or reading the wrong person’s resume, or even having to pull the job since it wasn’t cleared correctly, etc. I don’t take it as hard feelings, I do know that sometimes things happen. If a company messes up with a job application or even post the wrong one, sometimes things happen. Its best to shrug it off. Also if you have a company that doesn’t reach out to you to tell you no, I know that sometimes HR is having to keep track of dozens and dozens of applicants for a variety of positions and sometimes things are missed.

The Early Bird Does Get The Worm

This isn’t just a saying but an ideology. When I see a job that catches my eye, I apply. I have known some people who got to spend time researching a company, seeing how long they have been around and might apply for that job…a week later. And many times, and even if I decided to wait an hour sometimes that job will literally disappear, and I missed out on a possibility. Do not wait if you see a job go for it.

If you know someone at a company ask for a referral link

Now when I am applying for a company, I try to remember all the companies my connections work at because if one of them is hiring for something new, I reach out to them to ask for a referral link. This is a way to get a little ahead of the competition and in some to most cases it’s a way to get a foot in the door quicker because you are being referred to the company by someone that already works there. And in most cases, you will at least get a job call to see who you are.

Most jobs are not on LinkedIn or Indeed or regular job boards they are on the company website.

Now I know this might come as a surprise to some, but places like Dell, Microsoft and Apple don’t have positions on Indeed. They are posted on their own job boards and have you apply through their career boards through their own systems. Now even some smaller companies around Austin don’t use indeed they just use their own job board system. Then they just have their employees post to their Facebook or LinkedIn to share to help get the word out. They would rather have someone you know then someone they don’t know. And when I apply on a new company job board website, I always add in the email notifications to be notified of the new jobs that have a few certain keywords in the title or in the position itself so I can stay ahead of the game.

Government jobs NEED THE DEGREE

Government positions NEED that degree, I know Microsoft, Salesforce and IBM are dropping the degree requirement for developers, designers and marketers because a lot of companies are banking on certifications nowadays. However, we know how slow the government can be at times. From the times I have interviewed for government positions, it didn’t matter how much experience I had if I didn’t have the bachelors they were looking for, such as visual communication or computer science, they would automatically pass on my resume.

Ghosting Happens

I have had quite a number of companies tell me they will send me an email with an invite for a in person interview or a phone interview. I reply back and nothing, they just go silent. Ghosting has become quite an issue on both ends of the spectrum, companies will never respond to emails and people fail to show up for interviews or just disappear after getting the job. I think the reason is because of the gig economy where people can set their own hours is becoming an issue or people working multiple jobs and not being able to manage a lot on their plate. I am not sure why ghosting has become such an epidemic but hopefully it calms down eventually.

Some Recruiters Are Good Others Are Not

Recruiters are often a double-edged sword. I have worked with some great recruiters who don’t see you as someone who is there to “try” and fill a role. They see you as someone who can help the company succeed. They send me job positions that they know I would do great in. And I have had some other recruiters totally lie to me and change my resume to be for a position that I know nothing about. When that happens, I delete my account and ignore the team from there on out.

If the “take home test” makes you uncomfortable…

Now a lot of job positions do have a “test” in some form or another from white boarding or doing a small programming exercise. Now if you ever feel like these “exercises” are not just testing your ability but are actual client work, you are allowed to ask about it. And if it makes you uncomfortable you can turn it down. When if I run into an unsettling feeling about the work they give me, I will ask and if I am still getting that unsettling feeling I will not do it, I will give a related project that I did in the past but I wouldn’t do the exercise if I felt like it crossed a line.

Job Interviewing Takes Time

Now what I mean by this is I have noticed that job interviewing has gone from 1-2 interviews to 2-4 interviews over a period of weeks. I have noticed that a few years ago I would have maybe an half an hour phone call. Then an in person interview for an hour and maybe a 3rd interview if a key person was out. Now I have noticed that interviewing will be an phone interview, then another phone interview, followed by maybe another and possibly finally an in person interview, then maybe the last interview. And after each interview they will get back to me about everything either later in the week or early the following week. I believe it is because on the tech side of things they are trying to conduct a more in depth interview to make sure the candidate is real and not someone trying to pull a fast one and I have said it before and I will say it again do not lie in interviews cause well its just not professional.

In Closing…

Job hunting, contract finding, and all that can be a vast undertaking and of course applying for 100+ jobs. I see from many people post in various places that job hunting is exhausting, it itself is a full time gig. The thing to remember is you are not alone and be sure to reach out and ask for help. If you are drowning, you reach out and ask for help, don’t think that staying silent will magically make a job appear in front of you. Go for the job, ask for help and carpe those diems and go out there and keep on swimming cause eventually a job will land into your place one way or another.

see you space cowboy…

William Iven