I Applied to 400 Remote Jobs. Here is What Happened
It rarely goes the way you initially expect.
How fast can you move? How hard can you try? How far can you go? How can crazy can you get?
You don’t know the answer to all these questions until you try something where the only acceptable outcome is a success. I tried finding a new job.
I started on the job hunt while still holding a regular job. I had been there for far too long for my liking and things were less than desirable at that point. Hence, I wanted to go out and look for greener pastures with more learning and growth opportunities.
I could either go slow and consistent or go hard and fast. In this particular case, I wanted to combine both. I wanted to move faster, go harder, be consistent and keep going for the long run.
I applied to nearly 400 jobs. I gave interviews with about 60 different companies (excluding multiple interviews at the same company). I tackled dozens of coding challenges. I had 380 rejects, 5 job offers out of which I accepted 1. All in a matter of 2 months.
These were the lessons I learned after this brute-forced yet carefully executed job hunt.
1. You become “Rejection Proof”
If you haven’t done remote job hunting before, you are in for a surprise. You’ll get rejection emails more times than you have fingers to count. Those will still be slightly better cases. You’ll be ghosted far more often.
You’ll get rejected despite being perfectly fit for the role, great past experience, shiny portfolio, and a well-designed CV. You’ll get rejected after excellent interviews. You’ll get rejected after spending days on a technical challenge. You’ll get rejected in the middle of the multi-interview phase for no apparent reason.
But something amazing will happen after the first dozen such cases. You’ll no longer give a shit. You’ll shrug your shoulders and get on with your life, on the hunt for the next company.
2. Your resourcefulness skyrockets
We live life on autopilot most of the time. We are like a floating boat in the middle of a sea storm. Wherever the winds take us we are willing to go. That’s what happens when we are living without any concrete goals. That changes when you start hunting for a job with sheer determination.
You’ll see opportunities laying all around you. You’ll find people on LinkedIn, you’ll be reaching out to people on Twitter, you’ll DM companies on Instagram and you’ll find ways to get their direct contacts.
You’ll find ways to make time. You’ll find ways to fit interviews and technical challenges into your day no matter how busy it looks at the moment.
Hence, don’t let your busy days hold you back. Don’t let your mind tell you there isn’t enough time for you to go through the process. You’ll simply make things happen. You’ll find the time.
3. You take more chances
When I started, I wanted to only apply to jobs that were a perfect skill match for me. I only wanted to send applications to companies where I knew I ticked all their checks. To my surprise, I couldn’t believe the exaggerated requirements some companies posted and I was stunned by the number of them.
“How could anyone even with double my experience be good with all these things” I used to ask myself. I was confused and angry at the same time. Then something changed.
I started taking chances. I started applying even if I was missing a thing or two. Then I went a step further. I applied even if I was missing half the items. Do you know how I added up for that?
The more things I was missing, the more impressive my cover letter had to be for them to consider. Hence, whenever I really liked a company, I would follow this approach, and more often than not, I heard back from them.
4. Your industry knowledge upgrades
I thought I was in the loop. I read the tech news and followed blogs. I kept up with new frameworks, tools, and technologies. I thought I knew what was happening around me. In reality, I had no clue what the companies were actually looking for. There is no better way than interviews to find that out.
After enough interviews, you start seeing a pattern. You start noticing the combination of questions that are common and usually bundled together.
Even if you don’t land a job on your first try, you gain enough knowledge to work on yourself for a couple of months and return sharper.
5. Your sales skill improves. FAST.
I’m an engineer. We work with machines. We listen to them and they give us what we ask for. We don’t need sales skills to get our tasks done. Our sales pitches aren’t great if not completely non-existent. Yet, you can’t get a high-paying job without some degree of self-awareness and selling yourself.
I never thought of myself as a sales guy. I never thought I could talk about myself for 30 minutes straight. And I was right. I felt like I was running out of things to say even during introductions. I was summarizing my story a bit too much. I had all the information but not enough practice to present it properly.
If you are in the same boat, let me tell you that you’ll improve faster than you think. Your communication skills will enhance the more you rely on them. Hence, the more interviews you take the better your selling will become eventually landing you the job you want.
6. Your mental shackles are torn
The most important of all, the limits that you have imposed on yourself and the bullshit stories that you’ve been feeding yourself will all fade away in the background.
You’ll realize your potential. You’ll get to understand your value. You’ll begin to appreciate what you bring to the table. You’ll start to act like the person who knows what he is worth.
That’s the greatest thing about being rejected often, having to compete and selling yourself. You eventually become self-aware and self-confident.
We’re all different and our experiences are unique. You might land a job in a week or things might not work out even after a year. It depends on a plethora of things. They depend on how you approach them.
If there is one thing you take away from this article, take this. Truth and patience win in the end. It might not look like that in some cases but that’s how it mostly is. Deploy these two and you won’t regret it.
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