How many job applications are too many?

I have a question for some of those that have more experience than I:

Is there a good number of firms to be applying to? I’m not sure if I should go bananas (hoo hoo) and send applications to a great number of firms at once (which I might consider 20) or should I hold back and maybe not have more than 5 applications out at a time?

Maybe someone more charismatic than I might be able to pull-off negotiating rates and benefits, but I’m just want to find an internship for the winter. I can even start now. I want this in order to do fulfill another passion that I have which only comes around in the spring and fall (it’s instructing middle school students at an environmental education camp). I’m a recent graduate from CMU in Industrial Design, (sup tarngerine!) and I’m not sure what magnitude of submitting applications would be responsible job hunting.

So far I have submitted inquires to 3 firms in the Boston area and a ski resort in VT. The ski bumming is looking to be a safety job for the winter, but my real passion is in design and learning the skills required be a better designer in the future, so that I may positively impact the world.

Do I need to send out applications to many more firms with the hope that someone might respond? Is the fishing that bad? I have said that I will contact them in 2 weeks if I don’t not hear from them, it’s already been 1.5. If they don’t get back to me, what’s a strong route to take with the phone call? I’m not sure what to say in this case because I’ve only had to tell people that they need to get back to me. Is that good enough and can I ask for advice or tips if they reject me?


In addition to any job listing that I was sort of qualified for, I cold-called at least 100 firms after graduation. I don’t think you can ever send out too much.

The first job has more to do with luck than anything else. I think even with experience it is who you know and not what you do. A listing asking for 10-15 years experience will get a dozen viable applicants. It will boil down to fitting in with the team. Personality matters, skills are pretty much equal.

Don’t stress about you folllow-ups. They are likely not to take your call and they will ignore your email. That is one of my biggest pet-peeves. I’d rather hear a no instead of not hearing a thing. When I interview candidates, I make it a point to respond to all correspondance in a timely manner.

As for rejection, there is absolutely no reason to take it personally. You can’t be all things to all people. As I wrote at the start, it is mostly being in the right place at the right time.

Too many… when you have one that you like, and they like you then you can cool it I guess…

Getting the first job/internship is a matter of persistence. You keep applying and talking to people in till you get it. My first internship was a friend of my aunts put me in contact with the hiring manger. For my first full time job it was a friend working in the industry and he put me in contact with the hiring manger at the company. Applying is good put meeting people will get you farther. Also use contacts/friends to help you find a fit.

Send as many as possible, but keep track of what you’re sending and where they’re going so that you can follow up. Send a bunch, follow up a week later, etc. Send out 10 a day and follow up with 10 a day.

Do you think you could offer me some advice on what to say when I follow up? I should be calling some firms soon. :confused:

Just say you recently send out your portfolio and resume to them, and you are curious whether they are interested. Dont make it complicated :wink:

Check out this link:

But, keep it simple and be sure to state your name and what you’re interested in doing.

Thanks everybody. That was all practical and helpful advice, just what I expected from the likes of you all.

I don’t think you can apply to too many positions, but you should only be applying for positions you are qualified for and genuinely interested in. Otherwise you will be wasting your time and theirs.

You can not apply to too many jobs or firms but make sure you stay on top of what each one is. There is nothing worse than getting a call back from application number 21 and not remembering exactly what they specialize in. Good Luck