Job Search 2016

Word cloud composed of job titles I have applied to.  View with interactive graphs here.

Job Hunt 2016 In Review

This year has been a wild ride. As it closes, I want to reflect on one of my heaviest burdens of the year: my job search. I graduated university last December and have been looking for full time employment in a design area. I have saved nearly every resume that I submitted throughout the course of 2016 and analyzed some key points of data to find any trends or any correlations in my job search. Hopefully I can learn from my past applications and go into 2017 strong!


The vast majority of my prospective jobs are found through job search engines and and free job boards. Throughout the course of 2016 I have saved over two hundred unique cover letters. I went back and pulled the different characteristics of each job to which I applied, including: the date I applied, the title, the job function, the industry of the company, and the prospective employer’s response.


Throughout 2016 I have applied to 231 positions. I applied consistently throughout the year, but there are periods which I see spikes of job applications per day. I primarily attribute these spikes to my motivation to keep applying.


I began the year pretty strong and was particularly motivated in February and April put out as many as 9 applications per day. During the summer I lost a lot of steam. After about six months of applying I could barely get myself to research any positions, let alone fill out an application! Around this time I moved home as well, and gave myself a mental break from applying to jobs. In the Fall I would quietly pick up my job search again and saw an increase my applications as I widened my job search.

Where I applied

With the end of college, as well as relocating from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, I had to really reflect on where I ultimately wanted to end up. While I gravitated towards the familiar, I branched out to cities across the country in my job hunt. The bulk of my applications have been in-state, with 71 applications in the Bay Area and 69 in Los Angeles area. As the timeline of my job search grew, I applied more and more to out of state positions. I submitted a total of 46 out of state applications to jobs in cities in Indiana, Illinois, New York, and Washington.

Keywords are important

As an entry level generalist designer, I am open to seeking a job in various positions and industries. Thirty-four percent of my applications have been to graphic design firms, design agencies, and creative areas with titles often containing the words: “graphic”, “motion”, and “visual”. Technology companies make up the rest of the majority at twenty-four percent where “user experience”, “interaction”, and “web” are common titles. A decent amount of my applications have gone to intern positions as well.


Of course job application process only begins with the submission of the application and I will not deprive you the response rate to my applications. Of my 231 applications in 2016, I received no response for sixty percent of my applications. Two percent of positions asked for additional materials such as personality surveys or skills assessment. Eleven percent of applications responded that they pursued other candidates. Two percent of my applications resulted in phone interviews and of my 231 job applications this year I was invited to three in-person interviews.


The past year’s job search was filled with many ups and downs. Though I have not yet found job I was looking for, I know that I tried pretty damn hard. Through countless revisions and repetition each application was stronger as I learned more and more about how to find jobs.

As I begin my job hunt for 2017 I know that I have to make some serious changes to my approach. Through the winter and beginning of the year I will do some serious overhaul on my portfolio website to show more work as well as find more opportunities to network and meet potential employers in person. Cheers to a better 2017!