The Job Search: 2:1 Application Strategy

The Job Search

The job search can be a trying time for anyone. It can cause a person to feel excited, optimistic, nervous, and a little overwhelmed – sometimes all of the above. Sometimes these feelings happen over the course of a few weeks. Maybe a few days. And sometimes even all in one day.

What I’ve found that helped me to maintain my energy during the job search was putting systems in place. Particularly when it came to creating and submitting job applications.

In one of my previous posts, Job Search Application Tips, I talked a lot about how to set up a system for making a list of jobs before even sending out applications. Creating a list of specific job titles, links to specific job applications and application dates helped me to ensure I was being efficient with my time. Without a list, it would have been hard for me to track every application I sent in.

My Job Search

When I first started my job search, I made a physical list of 15 companies I wanted to work for and chose a job at each that I wanted to apply for. So after about two weeks of constantly sending in applications, I had submitted roughly 20 apps. And it was TIRING.


I caught myself pouring my heart and soul into certain cover letters – and had to remind myself that I needed to find the balance between quality and quantity. Otherwise, I’d burn out!

But the worst part about sending in applications for me was the inevitable wait time. The time after I hit ‘SUBMIT’ and waited to hear a response(sometimes I didn’t even get a response!) as to whether I’d been selected to move forward or if they’d passed on my resume.

While it is easy for me to say that it gets better and that the job search is just a numbers game, getting discouraged is inevitable.

I get it. I’ve been there. And that’s why I am sharing a strategy I used to keep pushing while maintaining my sanity and avoiding burnout.

2:1 Application Strategy

After my initial hustle of sending out roughly 20 apps, I decided to pump the breaks on applying. I knew that it would take a bit of time for recruiters to read my resume, compare it to others and then reach out when they had time.

About a week after my applying spree, the responses started coming in, albeit very slowly.

To maintain momentum with my job apps, I employed(no pun intended, fml) something I like to call the 2:1 strategy.

The concept is pretty simple and helped me to prevent burnout from writing so many cover letters and submitting applications.

2:1 Application Strategy Overview

For each rejection, I would send out 2 more applications.
For each follow-up or phone screen invitation, I would send out 1 more application.

And viola! The 2:1 Application Strategy.

That way, no matter what, I always had at least 20 job applications circulating in the universe.

2 applications per rejection

I chose to send in 2 applications each time I received a rejection because tbh any more than that would have stressed me out. No matter how disconnected I was from a job I applied for, getting rejected sucked! And I knew that if I pushed myself to apply to 10 more jobs after a rejection, the quality of my applications wouldn’t have done me justice.

Limiting myself to 2 applications also allowed me mental space to maintain momentum and reevaluate my resume for new/future applications.

Tips for Rejection

While it can be a natural reaction to feel angry and attacked when a recruiter (or worse, automated rejections!) say no to your application, PLEASE do not take it personally.

Rather than sending a snappy email back to the recruiter to let them know how much they missed out on, there are two options:

  • Thank them for getting back to you and wish them luck on the candidate search
  • Thank them for getting back to you and ask if they have any feedback for you to grow from

Respond to a rejection in a productive way! It will not only leave a good impression on the recruiter but will also make you feel like a badass professional.

Also, as you start to send out your two new applications, take this time to reevaluate your resume. Enhance it if you can! Or ask a trusted friend or mentor to take a look at it.

1 application per followup invite

I chose to send in 1 application each time I received a follow-up or phone screen invitation because again I wanted to maintain momentum. I didn’t want to get comfortable. Sending in only 1 also gave me time to celebrate my small victory, because I didn’t have to submit a second application that day!

As you start to send out your new application, again – take the time to look over your resume. See what is working and if you can make it even better!

Tips for followups

If you’ve received request for a phone screen or other form of follow-up, CONGRATS! You’re one step closer to a new job!

Make sure to respond to any request for a followup within 24 hours – recruiters are looking at tons of resumes, and you need to keep yours fresh in their minds.

A few tips for phone screens:

  • Review the company mission, products, services
  • Remind yourself of what excited you most about the role/why you wanted to apply
  • Write out answers to the most common phone screen questions: Tell me about yourself. What brought you to apply to _____ company? Tell me about a time you faced an obstacle and how you overcame it. What is your greatest strength? Weakness? etc.

Final thoughts

I know the job search can seem like the most tedious, time consuming and anxiety inducing time, but putting processes into place can definitely help! It gives you mental space to maintain momentum, and keep from getting burnt out!

I hope my experiences can help you feel a little less overwhelmed during the job search!

And remember – you’ve got this! It’s going to work out. Just keep pushing.

You Can Do It

Do you have any tips for the job search?! Comment them below!

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