Career Tips for International Students

Is Job Hunting Really a Numbers Game?

Dear Coach Kwan,

I am an international student who is actively job hunting. I hear from so many of my peers that they have been sending out dozens of applications each day. This is very discouraging since I know that most of them have sent out hundreds of applications to no avail. Is it strategically sound to be using this ‘numbers game’ approach?


A disheartened job seeker, tired of writing hundreds of applications

looking for H1B OPT jobs

Do you believe the more jobs you apply for, the better chances of getting an interview?

Just from reading about this one student, I already feel tired for them! If you have the time and energy, you might not think that sending out hundreds of applications is bad.

After all, the more applications you send out, the more likely you are to get a response, right? Wrong! I understand and empathize that most of you are just trying to do your best to successfully land a job.

With how difficult it is for international students to get employed in the U.S., it is easy to become desperate. When your peers keep telling you how many job applications they filed just last week, you start blindly applying anywhere and everywhere.

However, this is not doing you, nor recruiters, any favors. 

Let's learn from the data:

According to a study by Jobvite65% of recruiters say that their biggest challenge is finding the right candidate. 

  • Another statistic by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in 2016 tells a similar story: 52% of small businesses cited a lack of qualified applicants to fill their job openings.
  • A 2016 LinkedIn report stated that finding suitable candidates was the number one obstacle to hiring (46%). 
  • According to Bullhorn’s survey, an online recruitment software company, applying online for jobs you are unqualified for can hurt your chances at future positions with that company.
  • 43% of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers said irrelevant applications were the biggest turnoff. 

When getting such applications, they ‘blacklist’ those candidates by suppressing their names from coming up in future resume searches. So, behind every application you filed blindly there is a frustrated recruiter who sees that you are not right for the job.

The solution is not to send out more applications, but to send out better ones.

I coach international students to build the right skills for both networking and career branding.

Here are the first few steps to effective career branding: evaluate potential jobs, research job market demands and requirements, and define your career goal. Most importantly, you need to stop waiting for luck and approach job hunting in a smarter and more efficient way.

This is why I keep emphasizing the importance of networking. Not only will networking provide you with a higher chance of making it to the interview step, but it will also give you a chance to truly assess whether you are the right fit for the job.

Tired of playing the numbers game?

Let’s take your job search skills to the next level and find jobs that are the right fit for you.

Free Three-Week Career Strategy Series

In this 3-week strategy, you'll find some great examples like...

  • How to plan your career strategy based on your situation
  • How to create an effective networking game plan to turn your new connections into your mentors and job referrals in the future
  • How to build your brand on a resume, LinkedIn profile, and much more to draw recruiters to you

Please tell us about yourself and I'll send your personalized tips to your inbox!

Let's learn from Shazman - How a candidate can get blacklisted when playing the numbers game with job applications.

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About Coach Kwan

Kwan is an experienced human-capital consultant. Her past corporate experience includes global organizations like Deloitte, Accenture, and BMW. Kwan moved to the U.S. in 2014, earned her Senior Professional HR certification from HRIC and joined one of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms as a Senior Consultant of Human Capital Consulting Practice. There, she managed multiple projects for Fortune 500 clients. Today, Kwan is the CEO and Founder of ICAway, an educational consulting firm based out of Chicago. Our mission is to be an empowering community for international students and light their way to finding jobs in the U.S.