Monday, June 10, 2013

25 Applications

I was on my 18th or 19th application when I decided that in order to get a job, I would have to apply for at least 25 positions.  I told myself this to take the pressure off.  Instead of treating each position like it was my last opportunity ever, my attitude was that finding a job is a volume business, and to get one you have to kiss a lot of frogs. So to speak. 

The magic number that I'd decided on was 25.  I wouldn't expect to get any offers until I'd applied for that many positions.

I hit that magic number a few weeks ago.  It wasn't half an hour after I'd submitted my 25th application when I received an email from application #23.  They wanted me to come in for an interview.

Eight days (and two interviews) later they offered me a job.


The library that hired me said they were very impressed.  After rejection after rejection after rejection, I don't suck anymore!  

Me, for one. 
The funny thing is, they almost lost my application.  The only reason I got an interview is that I know someone (Betrothed) who knows someone (her colleague) who knows someone (his wife) who works there.

A few weeks after I'd applied, I emailed Betrothed's colleague's wife and asked her if she knew anything about the position.  She said that not only did she know about the job, she was the head of the department and was in charge of hiring the position.   She was about ready to make a decision on it, but asked me to send her my resume first.

When I told her I'd already applied for the position a few weeks earlier, she went to their HR department to see if she could find my materials.  They weren't there.  Although I'd received a (presumably automated) confirmation that they'd received my application, she couldn't find it.  It had been lost in HRland.

She asked me to re-apply, and she was impressed enough with my resume and cover letter to give me an interview. And then a second interview. And the people at the interview were impressed enough hire me. And to think they almost never even saw my application.  I wonder how many of my other 25 applications have been lost?


When I started my job search I created a new gmail account that I would only use for professional correspondence.  I didn't want to use the address associated with this blog because I didn't want a potential employer to stumble on it and judge me for my politics, personal tastes, cynicism, or potty-mouth.  So I put the new gmail address on all my resumes, cover letters, and applications.  (The new professional address has "25" in it because that's my birthday.)  

Ironically, all the correspondence I had with my new employer has taken place with my personal email address, because when I initially contacted Betrothed's colleague's wife, it was an informal message.  And from there we just kept emailing back and forth using my personal address.  So in the end I didn't even use the special "25" email address I'd created for the sole purpose of finding a job.


Whenever I tell people about my current commute, where I live 50 miles from where I work and drive an hour each way, I'm always quick to point out that the commute itself is quite stress-free.  It's a straight shot on the highway with very little traffic. "It's not like living in Chicago," I say, "Where you could go 15 miles and it would take the same amount of time in bad traffic."  I swear I've made that statement dozens of times. 

Guess how far my new job is from my new house?  15 miles.  And guess how long the commute is?  About 45 minutes.  It's slightly shorter than my current commute, but not by much.  And it's in hellish suburban traffic, something I always said would drive me nuts.

But after getting rejected 24 times in the past year, I've been humbled.  When I first started my job search, I was brimming with confidence and verve: "Yeah!  I could be the Head of Reference at a major research university!"  Now my expectations are a bit lower:  "I hope I'm good enough to work 9 hours a week as a substitute librarian at a public library 30 miles away."


I really am excited about my new position.  The library itself is really impressive, huge with lots of great services and resources.  Even before I got the interview (and then the job) there, I used to look at the happy employees on this library's website and say to Betrothed, "I want to work at that place."

And soon I will.


asplenia said...

Congratulations, that's wonderful!! Actually your number of efforts is impressive - success came early to you. One friend, gloomy that her 41 tries have yielded nothing despite being a star performer with multiple awards and recognition consulted with another friend who landed a job only after 361 attempts. (A good job, but it took a while!) I think you're doing AOK (and congrats!!)

Tim said...


Yes, I realize my number was pretty low, but that was over 16 months. I was pretty selective about applying for things that were a relatively good fit. I can't imagine how anyone could FIND 361 jobs, much less write a resume/cover letter for each one. That would have taken me 10 years!