T Nation

Where Do Job Applications End Up?!


Hey everyone,

I graduated college almost a year ago now with two majors (Finance, Economics) with a GPA of 3.8. I was President of the university's investment fund ($500,000) my senior year and also occupied positions of Portfolio Manager and Financial analyst the two years prior. I also recently passed the first level of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program and am pursuing the second soon.

I am still unemployed after having applied to literally hundreds of jobs and am wondering where all of my applications have gone. I very rarely hear back from any place that I apply and have even cold called, networked, and walked into the offices unannounced looking to speak with HR.

If anyone can shed some light on there experiences finding a job at this time, or if anyone from HR is on this forum can you let me know where all of my applications have gone it would help me out. I am really out of ideas and have no idea what to do!


To be honest most of them will be binned after being scanned and possibly put on record depending on how good/bad the app is.

At least I know our firm keeps every application, digitally, and then shreds the originals. Unless it's a really bad application - they get the Cookie Monster treatment.


I am not familiar with the cookie monster treatment... Also, do you have any suggestions? I'm out of ideas


Sorry, I can't really offer you any advice from a personal perspective based on what you've given us. I can only answer your specific question regarding the applications.

Aside from common sense type stuff like having a strong application and aiming for the type of jobs relevant to your studies, I got nothing. You just have to keep trying and if your field is saturated you may have to consider a lesser post to work your way up from.

I'm not the best person to advise however, been a looooong time since I hunted employment.


Man its rough out there, I am employed but have been trying to find new work...I, you have applied to hundreds of openings over the past year, and not a fucking sniff, these are jobs mind you that in 80% of em I felt I qualified for, yet the only places that contact me are Prince Akeem from Nigeria, some weird NHE personal cert place and even worse AFLAC, PRUDENTIAL to sell life insurance...I didnt even apply to these fuckers, I never did sales and have no experience in insurance.

From what I have heard there is scanning software that picks up on words in a resume to catch the employers attention, so I guess tailor each application to that job,,,very laborious and ridiculous. But then again the same job you applied for so had 10,000 other applicants maybe more....

This idea that the job market has improved has been lost on me, I dont see any improvement...im thankful to be employed but its not my area of expertise.


I do my best to tailor each application to specific words used in the listings or using those "power" resume words that people say to use. Like you said...very laborious and ridiculous considering it doesn't pay off. Does anyone know if companies just post listing just to post listings? Or does anyone know that since the job is actually posted...they are in-fact looking for someone to fill the position (and not just someone from an internal source).

I'm not buying that the job market has improved either... and definitely not in the investment/banking industry. Despite that .1% drop from 8.9% to 8.8% in unemployment all the politicians have been touting....


I don't really know your situation, and more information is definitely needed, but how is your employment history. You listed a lot of academic accomplishments and, frankly, employers usually could give two shits less about these things. Experience will get you a lot farther and you may just want to get a job for having a job's sake - something you can advance in - rather than sitting on your ass without a job for a year. That will only make your resume look worse and worse. Take what I say for what it is - I really don't know your situation.


I don't really know your situation, and more information is definitely needed, but how is your employment history. You listed a lot of academic accomplishments and, frankly, employers usually could give two shits less about these things. Experience will get you a lot farther and you may just want to get a job for having a job's sake - something you can advance in - rather than sitting on your ass without a job for a year. That will only make your resume look worse and worse. Take what I say for what it is - I really don't know your situation.


Most of my experience (approx a decade) is in the fed law enforcement sector, and I know legally they have to post a job to the public even though they know they are going to fill it internally. What the other guy said sounds a bit harsh but its kinda true...you may have to start much lower just to be part of the workforce, like maybe a bank teller?


Its a damn shame that someone with an academic record like yourself cant find a job in their field. Im abosultely sure your more qualified than 99% of the other college graduates that are being hired. Its like the validictorian of a high school not being accepted to any colleges


Thanks a lot Chris, thats why I am a big frustrated at the moment... I feel like I busted my ass in college to learn/do the best i can and it obviously does not correlate to the real world (as said by MickeyGee).

My real world experience is/was about the best as it could have been compared to any other recent college grad... basically professionally managed money for the school for 3 out of 4 years (without pay), along with personal financial planning internships, and the like. Summer work consisted of construction/self employed because it paid damn well for a college kid.

Also, on top of all that the first level of the CFA has a 35% pass rate.... this consists of both working professionals and recent graduates. I know a 40 year old who took the test who has been managing money professionally for a while now and he didn't pass!


Only advice i have is to try to get in touch with a recruiter from a staffing agency. one of them randomly contacted me by getting my resume off careerbuilder; within a month he got me an interview somewhere, which i owned, and then got the job (im only about a month into it the job now)

and i know it sucks big time; I was in the same boat as you. more than a year out of school and applying for hundreds of jobs (got a few phone interviews but only two actual interview in all that time) and making no progress at all.

btw im in engineering.


I was laid off March '10. Didn't really start looking till September '10 or so, and it took till January '11 before I found the job that I ended up getting, and till March to actually get hired into it. Been there about two weeks now. Its less than I was getting paid before I got laid off, but I'm enjoying it immensely more.

Here's the thing though- out of all the jobs that I applied to, that was the ONLY one that I REALLY wanted.

I'm a mechanical engineer by schooling, and have lifted weights for the past 10 years or so.

The job? An engineering position at Precor Fitness, working on their new line of cardio equipment.

I think what really put me over with all the people that I interviewed with, besides that fact that I'd had some good experience from working 5 years in construction management, was that I was actually PASSIONATE about the job and the company and the implied lifestyle.

In the second round of interviews, when I got asked why I wanted the position, after I got done answering, the Project Manager that was in the room said "That was THE best answer I've ever heard for that question," and I was able to provide the answer based on the fact that engineering and exercise are two things I'm passionate about, and that Precor combines both of those things.

TL;DR- while you're applying for jobs, make sure you apply for jobs that you would actually be passionate about. That will show through in your interactions during the application process.

And start volunteering. It looks good on a resume, since it shows you've got drive and it shows you've been doing something. And its a fun way to pass the time. I recommend Habitat for Humanity. Thats who I started working with when I was unemployed.


What college did you go to? You need to consult with the career services at your college and look at the opportunities they advertise. Firms will usually have booths at career fairs and have presentation on campus, which provide great opportunities to network. There also maybe clubs at your college that have professional contacts that you could look into.

Btw, you should tell us what kind of position you've been looking for or atleast the type of companies or industry you want to get into. I know you mentioned investment banking and if that is indeed the industry you want to get into now I'm going to tell you now that it is HARD. I'd recommend applying for jobs in other fields and other kinds of companies - although I can't really be more specific than that.

Out of curiosity what are you occupied with now, are you just treating your applications as a full time thing or are you working somewhere right now?


I'll chime in again, don't just tailor the resume on the words in the job description, go a step further and start looking at the firm's webpage. Do a bit of research about what they do, the type of people that currently work there and their culture/values. Make that correlation between their values and yours obvious.

Just my two cents.



QFT. Any kind of job will help you get another one. That academic stuff is impressive but it doesn't reflect all the skills necessary to being a good employee. Honestly, I know some people who have a lot of educational stuff on their resume and feel like they deserve a job, but haven't actually worked a shitty job or shown a work ethic beyond academics. When I graduated I had a hard time getting interviews until after I'd worked for a bit doing some shitty data entry. It's not impressive job experience but it shows you're not some schmuck who thinks a degree makes you somehow entitled to something. Try to get in touch with some temp agencies or volunteer somewhere. It's also a decent way to network, and if you show you can work people will want to help you out.


For a while I had been treating applications as a full time thing and studying for the CFA. Recently, I have been looking around locally at places that I can volunteer/work for free just to get some experience in (trying to stay in money management so the experience can actually translate to a full time job). I also do part time work with the same construction company I do over summer, but don't want to end up doing it for the rest of my life.

I have mostly tried to concentrate on investment banking positions, I still check my online accounts at companies and many of the status still say "not reviewed." Some of which I had applied for last September 2010! I've tried to call to figure out what's going on but have had no luck getting in touch with anyone that can answer me.

Other position titles I have been applying to are financial analyst, credit analyst, economic analyst, consulting....etc. I have tried my networks and pretty much the usual response I get, as I have here also, is that "it's hard, it's tough right now."

I guess I am just confused about the lack of responses...even if its a "no, your not qualified," It's basically like I throw all my information into a black hole and nothing ever comes back, neither positive or negative.


I find it very hard to believe that with the accomplished resume you have, you can't find employment.

What school did you go to?
Have you even got interviews?
Are you a douche-bag in these interviews?
What jobs are you applying for? 1st year analyst at I-bank? P/E? VC? Hedge Fund? - All extraordinarily competitive industries.
Are you writing tailored cover letters?

If you are doing the things you are supposed to, then I offer my sympathies. Sometimes, if you are haven't graduated from 1st or 2nd tier undergraduate business schools, it becomes very hard to get noticed.

Keep plugging away. I like your attitude.


I remember talking to a HR person at a bar who was (maybe?) joking. She said:

"We get literally hundreds of qualified applications for each job we post. So the first thing I do is to stack them on my desk. I'll grab the first half of the stack and throw them away. Those people are obviously unlucky and you don't want to hire anyone who is unlucky."

I knew a guy who claimed he was the dead last person who applied where he worked and he got the job (beating the application deadline by minutes, I guess). He said his boss later admitted that he never read past the first application that he saw, saying something like, "you were qualified, so I interviewed and hired you."


haha, yea I'm hoping that I'm not that unlucky! However....I do watch a lot of job postings on websites and apply immediately, I hope that same HR person who throws away the top half of the stack isn't working in the investment industry! Also, I will admit that I didn't graduate from Harvard/Yale/Cornell but then again my college is accredited...etc.

I do tailor my applications to every job I apply to, and I don't think that I'm a douche or an ass-hole. Right now at this stage of my life I cannot afford to be anything but nice, humble, and willing to give 111%.