How Many Applications Does it Take to Get a Job?
Updated: May 18
While there is no golden number that will guarantee success, we do have some suggestions on the number of applications you should submit and an additional step in your job or internship you may not have considered.
Recent stats (from Talent Works or livecareer) shows it takes 100-200+ applications to receive one job offer. In a further breakdown, you have an 8.3% chance of getting a job interview from a single job application. That means it takes 10-20 applications to get one interview and 10-15 interviews to get one job offer.
For an average online job posting, 1,000 individuals will see the job post, 200 will begin the application process, 100 will complete the application, 75 of those 100 resumes will be screened out by either the ATS or a recruiter, 25 resumes will be seen by the hiring manager, 4 to 6 will be invited for an interview, 1 to 3 of them will be invited back for final interview, 1 will be offered that job and 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it (Talent Function Group LLC).
For most students, those are surprising numbers. Which is why students who come into the career center because they haven’t had any interview offers despite sending out their resume to multiple handshake job postings are asked two things:
How many applications have you done so far?
What networking steps are you taking during your internship or job search?
We suggest pacing your applications out over several weeks, and building in 5+ hours every week for your job or internship search. Consider a weekly goal of 5-10 applications, especially focused during recruitment season for your industry.
Its not just about the number of completed applications but adding networking to your job search steps allows you to tap into advice, information and insider information about hiring and job openings. In fact, it may take hundreds job applications to receive an offer, it only takes 12 informational interviews to land an offer.
Informational interviews are conversations/meetings with industry professionals, where you (the job seeker) get to ask the questions. This is an ideal way for you to better understand job functions, company culture and the details behind someone’s career path. We recommend all students take time to sit down or message with Lehigh alumni or other contacts who are working in a position or company of interest in an effort to better understand their work and how to prepare for a career in that industry. Learn more about how to set up and conduct an informational interview using the Networking Guide.
Example Informational Interview Questions:
Tell me about the projects you work on?
What does an average day at work look like for you?
What technical skills do you need for your position?
What are some of the challenges you face on the job?
Is your work more team focused or individually completed?
How did your academic major prepare you for your career?
What advice would you give me to be prepared for a position like yours?
What type of summer experience should I pursue to gain related experience?
Easy Ways to Network
Lehigh Connects: A network of alumni volunteers who signed up to support students with career exploration and career prep. Browse thousands of profiles and filter by academic major, company name, job titles, locations and more. Immediate access to send messages, request meetings or post to the community questions page.
Lehigh Alumni on LinkedIn: Professional networking site with over 60,000+ Lehigh alumni. Search profiles to find someone in a company, position or industry of interest.
According to the Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report referrals are 5x more effective than all other sources of hiring and referrals are hired 55% faster than those hired through a career site. Building relationships with industry professionals (not just hiring managers but anyone working in a position/industry of interest) does have benefits. Not only will you get a better sense of the work and how to prepare for a career, but a referral from someone can greatly impact your job or internship search. Don't be afraid to ask "Can you share my resume or refer me to anyone you know might be hiring?"
Tips for Your Job or Internship Search Plan
Spend 50% of your time on applications, 50% of your time networking
Build time for your job or internship search steps into your weekly schedule
Learn to phrase questions that ask for advice like "What suggestions do you have for the best way to spend my summer?" and avoid asking "Are you hiring?"
Focus your applications before and during peak recruitment season based on your industry
Start networking early, often and right away!
Follow up by thanking those that give you time or information
Get help from the Career Center walk in hours during Career Lab or with a 1:1 appointment