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I have had a lot of trouble getting a permanent job that uses my degree (Computer Science). I find applying for jobs unpleasant and stressful. Sometimes I spend a couple days writing a custom cover letter and resume, getting someone to proof read it, only to never hear back. It feels like my efforts go unrewarded.

I had sort of given up and just been working in retail. I'm really going to focus now to find a permanent job that uses my degree and has opportunities for advancement.

I find setting goals helps motivate me. Is there a good goal or "metric" to use for looking for and applying to work? I found setting a certain number of jobs to apply for in a day didn't really work. The time taken to apply for jobs is very much variable:

  1. Some jobs openings just require a resume. I may already have a resume tailored for the job.
  2. Some job openings require you to fill out their custom forms (even though all the information is already on resume, like employment history), do an online test, upload transcript, etc.

I've considered goals that are just time based, such as "spend 2 hours each day applying for jobs". I don't really like time based goals because (hypothetically) I could be working slowly or just sitting there.

Also how much time should I spend looking for a job that's a good match vs. actually applying for the job? If I'm not hearing back maybe I'm applying to the wrong type.

I asked two friends who recently landed two permanent jobs with their degree. One said he had been applying to 20-30 jobs per day. The other said he applied to 2-5 per day. When I mentioned I knew someone who applied to 30 he said the quality couldn't have been that good. What is a good target? I am open to relocating and have started leaving the location field blank in the job searches.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 3 at 12:06
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    How many openings are there in your field, near and far? Maybe for some expertise areas, 20 applications per day is realistic if you are willing and able to move anywhere on earth. For others, one might have to wait for weeks before something matching your degree opens up anywhere in your country. I think a bit more information on thus would be helpful to clarify the question. It seems this information has been moved to chat; could you please edit your question and include it there?
    – gerrit
    Jan 3 at 12:50
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    Will this be your first computer science job?
    – JonH
    Jan 4 at 22:46
  • @JonH the longest computer computer science job I had was 8 months through my school's co-op program. After that it's been shorter contracts. Jan 7 at 20:04

12 Answers 12

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I feel your pain, I have been there, too.

When I moved abroad I had to find a new job, starting from scratch, and I had to learn the ropes in the new reality. It took me 6 months of rejections before landing on a job.

What you can do:

  • don't send applications like you are firing a machine gun, try to be more of a sniper: recruiters have a keen eye on spotting applications sent just because, and being rejected/ghosted on 20 applications per day hurts anyway.
  • keep track of your applications: I used to have a table where for each application I logged date, position, contact person, outcome.
  • seek help of agencies: they might help you in finding suitable matches, and sometimes employers prefer to start via an agency. Be however aware that agencies have their own bummers when job hunting
  • whenever you apply for a job, make it visible that you are interested in them. Think of it like trying to get a date from someone you like: they want to feel that they are special for you, who would give a date to somebody with a meh/whatever attitude?
  • if possible, try to attend job fairs/recruiting events: it helps you understanding what you like to do and how to better present yourself
  • try to learn from the rejections: gather feedback on the reason for being rejected, and use that feedback to sharpen your following application. Are you over/underqualified? Lack experience? Lack motivation?
  • last but not least: don't give up. It's about your job that will pay your bills and let you live your life. Nobody else will do it for you.
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    I want to add to the list; If you have a LinkedIn profile (or other job-related "social media") you can set your current job status to "looking for job" - My last 2 jobs were landed this way without me sending any resumes without being asked for one.
    – Fizk
    Jan 3 at 18:03
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    And if you're in the US, AskAManager.org has good tips on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and more. Jan 3 at 18:33
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I have had a lot of trouble getting a permanent job that uses my degree. I find applying for jobs unpleasant and stressful. Sometimes I spend a couple days writing a custom cover letter and resume, getting someone to proof read it, only to never hear back.

If you are really spending a couple of days on a single cover letter and resume, you are doing it wrong and spending far too much time. Perhaps because you find it unpleasant.

You should have a standard resume and cover letter than can be easily adapted to any job opportunity. It should take no more than 15 minutes each time.

I find setting goals helps motivate me. Is there a good goal or "metric" to use for looking for and applying to work?

Of course, the goal is to be gainfully employed in your profession. That should be a strong motivator. The only metric is "jobs attained".

If you aren't working, then finding and applying for jobs should be your full time "job". Spend 8 full hours each day doing so.

If you are working to pay the bills, spend at least 4 hours each day at finding a job in your profession. Make a habit of searching for opportunities, customizing your resume and cover letter, and applying for jobs each and every day.

Also, reach out to friends and family on a regular basis. Don't be afraid to ask for help. "I'm looking for a job in X. Do you know of any, or do you know someone who might know?" is a good approach. Talk to your two friends who recently found jobs. Perhaps they have suggestions.

Trying to find a job should be your primary activity (other than putting food on the table). That might mean you need to cut back on social activities, sports, watching television, etc., until you find the right job.

One class mate told me he had applied to 20 jobs a day but that seems a bit unrealistic.

Good for him! That's not at all unrealistic. That fact that you use this term indicates you aren't working hard enough. Jobs are there waiting to be filled.

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    "Spend 8 full hours each day doing so. ... spend at least 4 hours" - I would be hesitant to give such concrete numbers. Everyone is different. 8/4 hours (or more) may be fine for one person, but for someone else, that may burn them out in a week. "The only metric is 'jobs attained'" - in theory, sure, but it's a terrible metric for motivation, since it's typically just 1 or 0. It could make it hard to convince your brain that it's actually doing something useful. "X applications per day" is a reasonable metric, assuming those are high-quality applications and you're doing interview prep too. Jan 3 at 5:05
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 4 at 21:10
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    I think that interviews attained is also a metric for job applications, since the resume gets you the interview and then your interview gets you the job (roughly anyway). Once you start getting lots of interviews, if you still aren't getting a job then your interview needs work and you can focus on that part.
    – rooby
    Jan 4 at 23:53
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    It seems clear to me that the asker is too extremely focusing on quality, but it also seems that this answer is really extremely focusing on quantity. The key is finding a balance between the two, and the right place for that balance depends on many factors (most of which we do not know...)
    – Jasper
    Jan 5 at 9:42
  • I am open to relocating. When typing into the job search engine, I leave the location blank. Is this a good strategy, or should I research which areas have more entry level openings and target them? For example I heard less desirable places to live are easier to find work. Jan 7 at 20:20
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Try not to take rejection personally. Most people are rejected for jobs far more than they get offers - that's normal. In many cases, you'll be rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with you; for example, in one case where I did find out why I was rejected, it was simply the fact that I had 8 years of experience at the time and the other person had 11 years.

In terms of mechanics of applications, others have already mentioned this, but there's almost never a good reason to be spending several days on a single application.

I would also encourage you to consider networking and/or working with a staffing agency. Most companies are deluged in candidates by job boards; at my company, far less than 1% of job board applications result in a hire, and for some boards it's closer to 0.1%. Newspaper ads actually give you a slightly better chance. Staffing agencies give you a much better chance.

Referrals give you the best chance. It doesn't even need to be from someone who you're strongly connected to; in fact, research has shown that most successful referral aren't. From the book Connected:

[Sociologist Mark] Granovetter used a simple economic study to prove his point. He surveyed several technical, managerial, and professional workers in a Boston suburb who had recently relied on a personal contact to get a new job, and he asked them a simple question: “Prior to switching employers, how often did you see the person who helped you get the new job?” He found that only 17 percent responded “often,” while 55 percent said “occasionally”; the remaining 28 percent said “rarely.” Most workers found jobs via old college friends, past workmates, or previous employers. Contact with the person was sporadic, and very few had ever spent time with the contact outside the workplace. According to Granovetter: “Usually, such ties had not even been very strong when first forged… . Chance meetings or mutual friends operated to reactivate such ties. It is remarkable that people receive crucial information from individuals whose very existence they have forgotten.”

Something else you may try: internships and freelance projects (e.g. from Upwork.com) can provide valuable experience.

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One thing that motivated me was to remember that, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many tens or hundreds of rejections (or non-replies) you had. The only thing that matters is the job offer — and you only need one of those.

Yes, it can be a very depressing, disheartening, dismal process — but if you persist, sooner or later you will get some interest. (Even in bad times, there are always some positions that need to be filled.) And when you look back, all you'll remember is the one that did work out. And it will all have been worth it!

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    Don't look at them as failures but as practice. You may find that questions might have common themes between each company asking them.
    – Dan
    Jan 4 at 22:38
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+50

I've had a similar situation of trying like hell to get a job with few responses.

Here's what helps me

Build a portfolio website to highlight projects and skills in more depth than a resume can. Most of my stuff is either for an employer or an attempt on my part to make a for-profit project, so I haven't included as much as I probably should. This site should include links to GitHub or other code repositories you have, sites where you have earned badges/certificates/awards/etc. for your knowledge, maybe a link to your SE/SO profile if you have a good rep on related stacks, descriptions and links to finished projects you've worked on, and anything else relevant you can think of to include. Include a link to this site in your resume, on your social media profiles, and anywhere else someone might be looking for employees.

Post a profile on LinkedIn. This should be a professional profile, not a social media profile. Post only things you want an employer to see, such as job and school history. Don't post personal pics, vacation highlights, lunch pics, or anything like that, unless your job is vacation/food critic. You don't have to be "active" on the site, just have a presence for employers to see. This link should be on your profile site and maybe on your resume. Many employers will specifically ask for a link to your LinkedIn profile. Feel free to accept friend requests from people you know, network with new people in your area of interest, and even post relevant information for other people to read, but also feel free to not accept requests from every recruiter that asks you to. Most of them aren't worth cluttering up your network.

Work on your own projects to keep your skills sharp and to prove your skills to yourself, even if you can't convince others of your worth. You can post these projects to support your online profile and will help you prove your worth. These projects work to improve your mental health, as you hit goals and make progress in the project.

Use online job searches that cater to your intended profession. I use Dice.com (as an example). I've found that other sites don't give as good search results, especially when they include jobs from other than tech industry jobs on their site. Dice isn't perfect, but you aren't going to have to wade through retail, warehousing, restaurant, and other jobs that aren't tech related. Since finding Dice, I haven't really looked for other sites. LinkedIn has their own job search, but I don't know how good it is.

Use only 1 job search site. This sounds limiting, but this helps to prevent yourself from applying to the same jobs multiple times, which can automatically disqualify you from being considered. Using one site helps keep your search simple when a recruiter directly contacts you and you think it's a duplicate of something you've already applied to.

Treat job searching as your a regular job, but don't let yourself get burnt out. This doesn't mean you do searches for 8 hours a day, but it does mean that you generally spend 8 hours trying to improve your job situation. This includes working on those personal projects that can be posted on your profile. If you can only job search 2-3 hours a day before your brain feels like it's going to explode or you get depressed, then work on those other projects for the rest of your daily allotted time. However, try to set and reach regular/normal goals before you move onto your projects. That goal could be reading through 8-10+ pages of jobs, applying to 10/20/40/more jobs, or whatever, just make sure it's realistic and that you can maintain a decent mental attitude while doing it repetitively.

Take breaks. You are only human and humans need a change of pace. We can't do the same thing forever without needing rest. Make sure you are still taking weekends, lunches, morning and afternoon (or whatever) breaks, and not killing yourself to find a job. And if you "simply can't" anymore or that whole day, then don't force yourself. Not having the energy or dreading to do something is usually your brain telling you that you are overdoing it. Believe your brain. If it keep saying the same thing for more than a couple of days, you either need to get help by talking to someone about it or you need to override your brain to see if you still "can't".

Work with temporary agencies. As L.Dutch mentioned, they have their own "bummers", but they have positives, too. They often don't include 401k, health insurance, or other normal benefits, nor do they always have holiday, PTO, or sick pay. However, they get paid based on your pay, so they will often negotiate a higher pay for you. There's also a difference between a contract and a contract-to-hire. If you want even an option to get hired after the contract ends, you'll need to stay away from a regular contract. However many end clients like to dangle a contract-to-hire to gain more interest in their jobs, but have no real interest in actually hiring anyone. Unfortunately, there's not a real good way to determine the difference between the real contract-to-hire and a fake one.

Set boundaries. If you don't want to talk to a recruiter or do an interview outside of certain hours, then don't. When you get those calls, keep it short and ask them to send you an email with more info or to call you back. If you get an email or text with a job description, ignore it until you are ready to deal with it. And if you ignore or miss one of these for over a week, feel free to contact them, but realize it might be too late. Also realize it's absolutely fine to not contact them. Recruiters "ghost" people all the time, so turnabout is fair play.

Boundaries also work for cryptic or extremely short or vague messages. If a recruiter doesn't give me enough information to actually interest me on a specific job, I don't bother contacting them back. I also look for a full job description before I agree to interview. Just like an incomplete resume will prevent you from getting an interview, incomplete information about a job will prevent an employer or recruiter from getting an interview from me.

Iffy things I do

I do some things that might not be the best idea, so I'm leaving them to last.

I use a generic cover letter that I don't change. It's specific to software development, but generic to job title and description. I include information specific to me and how I can benefit a company/employer, but generic to how it can be applied. If you are spending hours or days on a cover letter, like you say you are, you're spending far too much time that could be better used to find other jobs to apply for.

I don't apply to jobs that require me to fill out a 3rd party application. I have all my most relevant info on the 1 job search I use, so I don't feel the need to duplicate it 15 times a day or even a week.

I only sometimes do a pre-employment test/project/whatever. It depends on what they want me to do as well as how much energy/brainpower I have available. Sometimes I just can't do it, which means I need to take some time off to do "something else", anything else, to recharge my energy levels. Sometimes the project seems more like a work task they don't have time or manpower to do themselves, so since I don't work for free, I don't do it. Most times, I have no problems doing a short 1-3 hour project. If it's going to take longer than that, I have to consider how much I need or want the job, and if it's not an interesting job, I don't agree to do the project to begin with. Know your limits here, or you'll get taken advantage of.

I leave my voicemail full. If a recruiter or employer is actually interested in talking with me, they will try back or they will email me. I get dozens of emails a day for jobs and sometimes dozens of calls a day. During one 30 minute phone interview I had this past year, I had 3 people try to call me. I don't like talking on a phone, so this might be specific to me. I just don't want to spend 90% of my day on the phone, especially if it's playing phone-tag. I don't have the energy or personality to handle that. YMMV.

Personal experience

My last period of unemployment was this past year and lasted for 5 months. I read through nearly 2000 job descriptions and applied to over 1000 jobs across the US. This doesn't include to the likely hundreds of recruiters I talked to through email or on the phone. I had 20 interviews and ended up on my current 6 month contract. Because of the pandemic, I only applied to 100% remote positions. Because I just bought a house, I didn't apply to anything or interview at any place that required relocation.

One of the most critical things about motivation is to prevent de-motivation. Most of what I've posted here is to prevent that de-motivation. You'll need fewer motivation boosters if you de-motivate yourself less. Burnout is a huge demotivator, so my suggestions are heavily biased against burning yourself out.

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  • "Use only 1 job search site. This sounds limiting, but this helps to prevent yourself from applying to the same jobs multiple times" - if you're applying to the same job multiple times, this isn't a problem with using multiple search sites, it's a problem with not paying enough attention to, nor adequately keeping track of, which jobs you apply to. Jan 7 at 18:07
  • @BernhardBarker, with the massive amounts of job people have to apply to just to get interviews, it's a massive undertaking to make sure you aren't applying to the same job multiple times when using multiple job sites. Even when I was using only 2 sites, I spent almost the same amount of time searching my own records to prevent duplicate as job hunting. I gave up. Even making sure I'm not duplicating a app when I apply with a recruiter calling or emailing isn't exactly easy. A job might be given a different title for online vs recruiter, so you have to go off JD, too. Jan 7 at 18:32
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There's a couple of very helpful answers here already but here's some truncated points:

  • Only target a few postings a day. Spend an hour, two at most, and add it to your daily routine. (e.g., do it right after you get home from work) You can burnout on applying!

  • Catalog where you're applying. It's helpful to acknowledge the effort you've done but also so you're not applying for the same positions. From experience, of 50 sends, you might only land 3 interviews and 0 offers — it can be that tough.

  • Create a PDF version of your resume for uploading. Create a wholly-text based version formatted for the "Workday-like" resume-to-text fields for easier copy and pasting.

  • Continue developing your skills. Spend time everyday taking classes in different languages, familiarize yourself with language specific frameworks. (e.g., looking to move into product development and already know React? Learn the Kendo framework [or whatever is the most popular]) Evaluate if you should start learning a different language based on the number of postings.

  • Get on LinkedIn and start adding the above languages/skills and take the relevant "skill quiz". It's cheesy, but it highlights in your profile — most importantly recruiters pay attention this.

Now a few less relevant points:

  • Connect with recruiters and professionals on LinkedIn. Set up a discussion and genuinely talk to them about work and ask them for opinions on the resume. You might think you're being succinct but you need a fresh eye. If the job doesn't relate on a technical level to your CS career, focus on soft skills instead (e.g., "trained new employees on cash systems", "responsible for $XXX merchandise", "resolved conflicts with high-stress clients"), consider leaving employment gaps instead of listing retail jobs.

  • Build some smaller example projects to showcase those skills. Codepen.io is a great resource for building small front-end (HTML/CSS/JS) projects — there are language specific versions out there as well.

  • Spending hours on a custom cover letter for each role is far too much of an ask — it is and will be demoralizing to expend hours and see zero return. Create one that is general and truthful to what you want to be doing. Alternatively, lose the cover letter and only include a paragraph as part of the resume intro (e.g. "I'm looking to move into data-driven React applications...")

  • Finally, consider the reality that the recruiter will be seeing tens to hundreds of resume and cover letters a day and are most skimming them for pertinent information (e.g., languages worked in, past positions, recognizable products) and most likely not reading your dissertation/cover letter in its entirety. From my past hiring juniors, I'm ignoring cover letters and skimming, literally: you applied so I know you already want to work here.

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  • I have been cataloguing and it does help. "...but also so you're not applying for the same positions." I have notice some companies have re-openings for the exact same positions. Are you saying it's not worth reapplying to the same position with the same company after a few months? Sometimes I think they forget to take down the posting. Jan 4 at 13:14
  • Recruiters leave positions open occasionally, it's the same job in a different location / division / product, a candidate didn't work out, or the posting is evergreen. You should be able to tell based on updated reference numbers or locations. If same position, only reapply if you've made a significant updates.
    – coll
    Jan 5 at 2:32
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The truth is that a lot of companies are using software to scan through your resume. Those that don't also train their HR employees to look for certain keywords. Therefore, I suggest you pay a reviewer to go over your resume and recommend what keywords in your field are applicable to you and can be added to your resume.

Meeting with a career counselor or resume editor can prove to be a worthwhile investment. Many companies will have a discounted rate for students or new graduates (I will not advertise here but you can find many good ones on career networking sites or job search sites). I personally spent $20 for a quick review and went from no responses to my resume to about 25% of all applications resulting in a response from an employer for next steps.

Once you have a solid resume and cover letter, applying for a job should take no more than a minute or two. If the task seems too daunting (some companies require filling in too many forms), just don't bother with the application and move on to a simpler one.

Make a goal to search for relevant positions and apply for all the new positions posted that day.

In the mean time, spend your time studying for interviews so that once an interview comes along, you will ace it. Again, I don't want to advertise but look for free mock interview services as well as MOOCs for interview prep.

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I'm sorry to hear about this situation, that really sucks, and I've been there. Here are some of my personal rules based on experiences I've had:

  1. Cover letters are overrated. Imagine you're an HR person at a desk reading through applications. One person hits you with a resume. Boom, resume, here's my job experience, here's why you should hire me. I worked at XYZ corp for 2 years, implemented ABC application. Second person sends you a letter and waxes poetical for a page about how great your company is and how interesting you are and "wouldn't it be nice if...". You have 30 seconds to read that resume and put it in a "yes" or "no" pile, because you have 300 of those resumes and they have to be filed before lunch. Which pile do you put in which resume? The truth is, you want to put the most important information at the top of the paper stack; it's why your resume is (or should be) formatted as contact info -> skill set -> work experience in reverse-chronological order -> esoteric stuff nobody reads. Putting a cover letter on top of that means that whatever you write in that cover letter has to be more important than all of that other stuff. Is it? Probably not. So if you're spending hours writing cover letters, don't; you're probably hurting yourself more than helping.

  2. Prioritize applying to companies that have minimal upfront work. Submit your resume? OK, great. Draft an email, upload the resume file you have sitting on your desktop, boom, applied, go. Or better yet, if they host their own application form and you don't even have to draft the email. Or better still, if you have a LinkedIn profile and you can just one-click submit your profile instead of uploading a resume. Some companies are required by law to ask demographic questions for DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) reasons, so that happens, but those are usually quick to answer. If the application doesn't let me upload a prefilled document (either my own resume or a LinkedIn profile), I'll just discard that application, it takes too long and is not worth my time; in the time it takes to apply to that one job, I could have applied to 15 others, and no single job application is worth that kind of time. I expect a DEI form to be roughly 4 questions, if it's more than 6 I'll quit in the middle, not worth my time. Especially if they ask me to do a skills assessment before even reading my resume, that's a big nope for me. Essentially, you should be able to apply to a job in roughly 3 minutes; if it takes more than 5, you shouldn't bother applying.

  3. Don't use an "apply to jobs per day" metric. Just go and apply to as many jobs as you can until you're bored of clicking the "submit" button over and over. Once you're bored, you're done for the day and you can come back tomorrow. Remember the point above: If you're doing too much more work than just clicking "submit", you're doing it wrong. In the time it takes you to fill out a single application form manually, you could have auto-submitted your resume to 10 one-click postings. Would you rather submit one application, or 10, in the same amount of time? The math is obvious. Once you're bored, come back the next day and start again. You'll run out of jobs to apply to much faster than you'll run out of time to apply to them, especially if you filter out applications which are high-effort, so don't worry about setting some kind of metric that you "must spend X hours applying to jobs".

Aside from applying to jobs yourself which tends to feel like you're throwing time into a black hole and is infinitely discouraging, you should also get a LinkedIn profile if you don't already have one. Basically, you upload your resume (or fill it in manually) once, and then you update it every so often as you get more and new experiences. There are lots of recruiters on there whose only job it is to sift through LI profiles and find matching ones for their open positions, and eventually they will find you and they'll reach out to you. To increase your own visibility on LI, you should connect with as many people as possible so your profile shows up highly in search results when recruiters search for you; start with friends, family, coworkers, classmates, etc, and go from there. Always connect with a recruiter when they ask for it; even if you don't need them this time, you may need them later, or you may need someone who they're connected with who you wouldn't connect with otherwise. Once you're on LI, the recruiters come to you, which takes away a lot of the pain of throwing your time into the black hole.

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I find setting goals helps motivate me. Is there a good goal or "metric" to use for looking for and applying to work? I found setting a certain number of jobs to apply for in a day didn't really work. The time taken to apply for jobs is very much variable:

I think it is important on where you're looking as well. Try all the sites like linkedin, dice, zip recruiter, etc. And just apply constantly on those sites. I get unlucky on some sites like dice. I never had a successful interview. My first job I used monster and got the job within a couple of months (that was 15 years ago). And my current job I got from linkedin just randomly applying.

Some jobs openings just require a resume. I may already have a resume tailored for the job.

It's good that you have a resume on file.

Some job openings require you to fill out their custom forms (even though all the information is already on resume, like employment history), do an online test, upload transcript, etc.

I hate those sites and tend to avoid them. I feel like that site is based on two things:

  1. The company is too lazy to sort out their resume.

  2. There's a high enough of a turn over or job changes that they have to search a database for qualified positions. A good example of this might be a government contractor firm. They are constantly getting new contracts or looking to fill contracts. So they are just searching a database for keywords, that you put into a system, and then they pull those keywords and if your resume hits they look it over. It may take weeks, or months before you get a hit.

My thought is that if it takes you more than 10 minutes to register, enter your info, and submit, I advise you to move on to different applications.

So in all, I think you're not doing a bad job. Also keep in mind some areas are just rough for IT jobs. Since it's your first job out of college, it's not a bad idea to spend some time on opensource projects or whatnot to build up your resume or github profile. You don't have to make a huge contribution that changes the entire product, but just enough to where you're active and contributing to a codebase to show that you know how to navigate code and apply needed changes.

Also as a final advice, try not to look at failures but don't try looking into it too hard. You may find a common theme in the questions that are being asked especially if the company requires a certain programming language or tool. So try to relax and just listen to the questions and think about the answer. Also, companies could reject someone for many reasons beside competency of the subject. They would know you're a new person in the industry so they're not expecting you to enter a senior level role.

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Lot's of great answers on here but I'll give my 2 cents:

  • How many jobs have you applied for and how many outright rejections / ghosting's have happened? If that ratio is > 75% rejected then I would look at your resume/CV as something is wrong, it may be being flagged up by some automated system or you have the wrong skills or your resume/CV is poor quality. If this is the case there are cheap resume/CV proofreading you can get online that can weed out what' wrong
  • Don't spend more that 15-30 mins on any job application and that includes the cover letter and filling out forms and such. You should start by making a generic resume and a generic cover letter and spend 10 mins modifying them to be more specific to the job. Time taken should be 10 mins for the resume, 10 minutes for the cover letter and 10 minutes for the application. So if the company is webdev then make sure your webdev skills are at the top and delete anything like C++ experience. If companies are making you do hours long applications then ignore those for the moment and move on
  • In terms of number applied per day then there are different approaches. The shotgun approach which is send the same application out to hundreds (very demotivating imho). The machine gun, which is send a similar application to many and the sniper which is send super targeted applications to very few. All work but in different ways. My advice above is really hybrid sniper / machine gun i.e. not super targeted but enough that you'll get that first interview. With the shotgun maybe 20-30 per day, machine gun maybe 2-5 the sniper might be 1 every few days as you'll need to really research the company
  • If you are getting interviews but then getting rejected after then I would work on your interview technique. Setup a mock interview with someone you know and get them to be critical. Also always ask for feedback when rejected and note it down somewhere so you can look back and say "hmm everyone say X,Y,Z about me maybe I should try to improve on that". Maybe you are too nervous in the interview, maybe you aren't explaining yourself well enough, maybe you are failing the technical part of the tests. I see a lot of junior candidates doing a shotgun approach and ignoring tech stack when they apply. So they come to a python job knowing little about python and the recruiter will ask basic python questions and they are stumped that's an instant rejection. If you are applying to jobs for tech you are not familiar with you'll really struggle unless you can pick up tech very quickly. At the very least spend 30 minutes prepping online with [insert tech here] phone interview questions. Do these directly before the interview (saved my butt a few times) so it's fresh in your mind
  • In terms of motivation I would do it in batches like 1 week lots of applications then take a week off the lots then a week off. That way if something sticks you get a chance to go through the interview stages in batches as well. You tend to find it takes a few days between stages anyway so you could do say 10 applications 1 week maybe 2-3 interviews then next then 10 applications the next week ... rinse and repeat. That way you don't burn out. Also note that burn out when it comes to interviewing happens very very quickly much quicker than on the job work and you sound like a classic case. I've burned out a few times on interviews if you do take a break don't do anything Computer Science related for a week or so, relax then come back to it. The reason you burn out so quickly is that each rejection makes you feel less and less qualified for the position and more and more like an imposter. This happens to everyone regardless if they have 0 years experience or 20 years at Google so don't worry when it happens.

With a CS degree then you shouldn't be more than a few months on this process before you get something. If it's been > 2 months something is very wrong and I would re-evaluate your technique.

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I am trying to be flexible too. Basically, if one thing is not working, you might want to try another. In hard times, many people turn to education: gaining more technical skills. In your position, if you are depressed, maybe a psychiatrist could help you.

I find that if I change my approach to a problem like insufficient income, I find more success. The definition of success might change: you might want to evaluate what you want in a job and try to find it elsewhere, like freelance work, or working in a different field entirely.

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  • Thanks for your suggestion. I am studying for a master of science in software development, called "CIS." The front-end software that you describe does sound like a better way to find a job faster. I have been requesting classes on this topic but haven't heard back yet. Jan 2 at 19:06
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There are already great answers to your question, however one aspect is missing: why are you rejected continuously?

Although job market is not easy, and you might have done everything perfectly already, still it worth checking yourself whether you really do your best.
At least in my country (Hungary) I would be surprised to learn it's very difficult to find computer science jobs.

  • Are you applying to jobs fitting to your education and experience?
  • any red flags in your applications? (work environment / salary expectations, history ...)
  • maybe some other circumstances having a bad effect on your application (e.g. moved recently to new area which were mentioned in another answer) which requires you to adapt?
  • what's the status of the job market in your area? Are there many posted jobs available, or you need to have connections? Start as an intern? ...
  • ...

I know these are very general questions, however without knowing more on your situation it's impossible to ask more specific ones.

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