I've accepted an offer after more than two months of dedicated job hunting.
I submitted a large number of applications. Quite a few were still in progress when I accepted, but of the 27 that either went through the process or were ignored for long enough to consider dead, the results were
- No response: 10 (37%)
- Timed out after initial response: 5 (19%)
- Rejected after phone screen: 7 (26%)
- Rejected after on-site interview: 3 (11%)
- Offers: 2 (7%)
Maybe there's an app for that, but I found a spreadsheet, email, and calendar sufficient for keeping up with things. I used colored rows in a spreadsheet to keep track of the status of each application, put any scheduled calls on a calendar, and got most of the information I needed by searching web or email.
Breadth and focus
I believe in the principle of few and focused applications. Ramit Sethi's writing about standing out to hiring managers is essential reading. And in practice, I did, fortunately, have the time to put care into many of my cover letters, but I also applied to a lot. Particularly in times of being distraught from rejections or not hearing from anyone.
If I redid the process, I would skip many of the less relevant jobs. But I say that with the benefit of hindsight. I didn't know whether "senior" developer positions would be doable (typically not). I didn't know whether I could be hired as a data scientist (nope). Often I had no idea what the company or position was really about. In fact my accepted offer was certainly outside what I'd consider a very relevant field.
Next time, if I'm reaching outside of my typical position, I'd want to make an even greater effort--even submit a small project (something they can scan in a couple minutes!) particular to that company. Or at least link directory to code and a live version of my most relevant past project.
Several of my applications were through recruiters. Working with a recruiter has pros and cons. For whatever reason the first several recruiters I talked to in New York simply stopped contacting me. Of those I worked with, most were very friendly, and I enjoyed that they were in fast communication with the companies. The major problem was that the companies and positions the recruiters matched me with weren't great fits--those applications violated the principle of focusing and the results reflected that. I also got an earful from a recruiter who sent me to a lot of finance companies because I apparently hadn't made him aware of being close to the offer I accepted.
Please read this. I still found it awkward to deny requests for a salary range, but that's just something that takes practice.
Just keep getting better... 2 out of 27 isn't a heartwarming number, but it really gets better with practice. That's what this blog is for!