Job Search: Why You Should Not Give Up

You are tired of seeking a job. You have been sending applications for weeks, without any answer. You are not getting interviews and start to feel discouraged. Job search is a tough work. Where is the race going to end?

What the study says about job search

Don't give up. A recent study from the American Economic Journal 1 shows that the intensity of your job search will decline over time. The researchers analyzed the behaviour of job seekers using data from What they saw is that there is a steep decline on job applications after the first week. The number goes from an average of 3 applications to less than one per week.

There are many explanations for this phenomena, one has to do with 'stock of vacancies'. In simple words, after the first week you have probably sent an application to every open positions ('vacancies') that fit your search. You cannot send more.

However, the researchers created a scientific model to understand the intensity of search beyond the stock of vacancies. And even in that scenario, the number of application tend to fall over time. «If anything, the relationship between effort and duration becomes slightly steeper», they say. In that model, the average number of applications in the first week is 2.5, then drops to 2 in the second week, and then starts a slow decline. Even if by the 25th week, there is still an average of 1.5 applications per week.

The graphic is part of the study 1

What you can do: keep working on your resume

So, what could you do with this information? First of all, don't give up. Data shows that you could be searching for a long time. Second, if you are in this situation, think about your resume, keep building your resume.

Maybe now you discover that you are missing something important that is asked in every listing. Maybe you find that you forgot to mention a key skill or that your resume is too long. Maybe you are not keeping it simple, go straight to the point. Reading those job offers is also an opportunity to learn about the employers and the interviewers, to understand what they are looking for. So step back, and ask yourself if your resume is giving them the information they are looking for. Do not lie, do not come up with things. But think about our real experience, your skills: there are real things about you that make you perfect for this or that job. And then go to your resume builder to add those things and remove what does not work or does not fit. You could —and definitely should— tweak your resume for every application in order to get better results.

Start now. Build you resume for free.

1 Faberman, R. Jason, and Marianna Kudlyak. 2019. "The Intensity of Job Search and Search Duration." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 11 (3): 327-57.