Job Hunting Week, day two: It’s a self esteem killer

Welcome to Job Hunting Week. Looking for a job is my whole life at the moment, and looking for a job is so not fun. None of the content of this week will be revolutionary or even anything you haven’t thought of yourself, but I want to get it all out there in the open. Let’s commiserate together about the worst parts of job searching and what makes it so truly awful.

Day two: It’s a self esteem killer

I submit about five to 10 applications a week, sometimes more. This might sound like a low number, but we’ll talk about that later in the week. Let’s be really, really real for a minute. I’ve been “unemployed” — I still work at least 40 to 50 hours a week, but I don’t have a full-time-with-benefits job that uses my degree like I want — since mid-September. I started at my last job in June and I had been at the job before that since October 2013. I have been actively job hunting since January of this year, minus, perhaps, a couple of weeks when I was transitioning into my June to September job.

That means I’ve sent out something like 200 to 400 applications so far this year. The jobs I apply for are, by and large, jobs for which I’m completely qualified and for which I would require little to no training. This is normal. This is what people do. They don’t apply for jobs they aren’t qualified for.

Of those 300 or so applications I’ve sent out, complete with my beautiful resume and a cover letter either written from scratch or at least tailored to the position, I’ve been contacted about an interview by four of them. I decided not to pursue one company for reasons I’ll mention later in the week, and with the other three, I interviewed but wasn’t offered the job.

So I’ve only gotten an interview (or an offer of an interview) from 1 to 2 percent of the jobs I’ve applied to. And of those, I haven’t gotten any offers. That’s zero percent.

Every application you submit up until the one for the job you end up getting is a rejection. I’ve been rejected about 300 times this year. It is not fun.

There are a couple of things that make this even worse.

First of all, hiring managers can’t even be bothered to send out a mass email letting people know they aren’t in consideration for the position. When I first started looking for jobs after college, I was baffled by this. How rude, right?

But I’ve gotten used to it. It’s just the way the world works.

This makes it even worse when you do hear, because you get really excited when you see who the email is from and the subject line “Re: Your application” or whatever. Then you see, “Thanks for your application but we’ve decided to move forward with other candidates.” Oh cool, thanks for the absolutely useless email which, as we learned yesterday, makes me run to my phone with anticipation. You’re the best.

After all this rejection, you start to get really down on yourself. Do I have any marketable skills? (Yes. I do.) Is any company ever going to decide to hire me? (Yes. Eventually, someone will.) Did I choose the wrong major? Is there another path that would have been a better choice? (Probably, yes.)

This is not how I feel every day. Overall, I am upbeat, positive and optimistic. But after weeks and then months of applying to jobs, it can definitely take a toll on you.

Anyway, let's see how many more times I can get rejected by the end of the year.

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