yours, tiramisu

recalibrating my job hunt with helpful reader advice

A kind reader wrote to me this week with some great advice on the job hunt. I'm already working on implementing some of the tips, so I figured I'd share them here along with my thoughts. Writing about it will make it easier for me to remember, and I hope it can be of some use to other blog-goers too.

These tips were originally posted on a site which I believe is no longer up and running, but I did find this post with the same content. Hopefully it stays up. I cherry-picked the most interesting and/or useful points I hadn't heard of before.

Apply on Mondays (not on Fridays or Saturdays).

Timing has a surprising effect on how likely you are to get an interview callback — this the first of three related tips.

In short, apply on Mondays — you have a 46% higher chance of getting an interview callback. If you apply on Sunday or during the middle of the week, you have a reasonable chance. But, whatever you do, don’t apply on Fridays or Saturdays.

Why? Imagine how you feel on Friday afternoons — you’re probably just trying to plow through your open tasks so you can get home and relax. Unless someone’s especially promising, that Friday afternoon job application is just another email standing between you and your weekend.

That's good to know! I'd never thought about that before, but it makes perfect sense. I like this one too, because it will give me a legitimate reason to take a break from applying on the weekends, which is when I usually get the most done. (Oops!)

Apply before 10 AM.

Applying between 6am and 10am gives you an +89.1% boost over your competition. (As above, your competition isn’t applying at the worst possible time so you don’t get the full 5x boost every time.)

This one might be hard for me to remember. But I'll try to work it into my schedule, maybe by getting up early to apply and not worrying about applications for the rest of the day.

Apply in the first 4 days.

Applying early gets you a +64.7% boost over your competition on average. (Although it can make up to an 8x difference for a single job application, most people aren’t applying at the worst possible time.)

Hadn't considered this either, but it makes sense that posts for openings that have been up for a long time are likely stale. Fortunately most job boards let you filter by day, so I'll focus my search on newer postings (and checking frequently).

Meeting ~50% of job "requirements" will suffice.

You’re as likely to get a job interview meeting 50% of job requirements as meeting 90% of them.

Comforting! Scientific proof to make recruiters reject you.

Apply for jobs within ±2 years of your experience.

Based on our analysis, you can successfully apply to jobs if you’ve got ±2 years of the required experience.

Find a way to show that you’re currently employed on your resume.

People who showed they were currently employed (even if creatively) saw a +149% hireability boost compared to their previously-fired or laid-off competition.

This one surprised me! I left off my part-time tutoring job on my CV thinking that it'd be irrelevant, but added it on after reading this.

And, to finish up, perhaps the most relevant tip (which is not from the site above):

Tailor your CV for each application.

It's crucial you tailor your CV for each application, highlighting different parts that are relevant to the job role. Just make some edits here and there, sliding bullet points in and out. I kept a second file with extra bullet points when I last did applications.

So go for quality over quantity. If I may make a suggestion - 5 a day is quite a bit and sounds incredibly stressful, when most applications at your level are 1½ hours long minimum.

This isn't news to me, but I've never heeded it because tailoring your CV for each application is so much work. Whatever I'm doing now clearly isn't working, so I'm going to make a point to go slower moving forward and focus on quality over quantity.


To the kind friend who sent me all this advice — thank you so much! I appreciate your help. Implementing these tips has already imbued me with some much-needed hope.


EDIT: Here are sore tips picked up elsewhere on the job hunt.

ALWAYS apply directly through the company's website career page.

When your resume is imported into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) at a company, we can see how you applied, for this reason our recommendation is to ALWAYS apply directly through the company’s website career page. This immediately shows the company you’ve seen their website and know a little bit about what they do.

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