The 20 Stages Of Applying For Jobs


So you need a job, or maybe you’re just itching to leave your old one and move on to better opportunities and more money. That means you’ll have to find and apply to jobs — a prospect that is both exciting and terrifying, and which will hurl you onto the emotional roller coaster that is job hunting.

1. Optimism.

NBC/The Office

NBC/The Office via giphy

You’re at the start of a long but fruitful journey. There’s no reason you can’t succeed: Your resume looks great, you’ve gained so many new skills over the last few years and the economy has actually improved. You can have it all!

2. Motivation/organization.

You have a great list of websites that you’re sure won’t let you down. After a thorough and well-organized search, you’ll be bound to have a comprehensive list of great jobs that pay enough to live on and even have benefits. Your files are organized; you three different versions of your resume and a list of references; you’ve got this. You even have manila folders and sticky labels.

3. Searching.

Mostly at work, when you’re supposed to be doing other things.

4. Cover letters.

After you finish a fresh batch of five sparkling new cover letters, you’re pretty sure the Pulitzer Prize for Literature is now within your grasp.

5. Saving drafts that you’re too nervous to actually send.

You’ve attached the resume, pasted the cover letter into your email and filled in the subject line. Now you just have to send it… now. No, now. No, wait — maybe you should let it sit for a while and marinate or ripen or whatever job applications are supposed to do. You’ll read it over again and send it tomorrow. Except tomorrow’s Friday, so maybe you should wait and send it on Monday.

6. Sending!

ABC/Modern Family

ABC/Modern Family via giphy

You did it! You had to hold your breath and cover your eyes while stabbing at the keyboard, but you did it.

7. Confidence.

Like the second trimester of a pregnancy, you have that post-application glow. Everything is right with the world, and you’re sure that you’ll get a positive response soon; you’re already imagining what it will be like at your new job and planning all the fun you’ll have with your new co-workers while tossing your hair and laughing in slow motion.

8. Doubt and/or nagging fear.

You thought you’d hear back in a week, but now it’s been longer. Was a week unrealistic? Should you wait two weeks? You convince yourself that this is all totally normal and that they probably just have so many applications they can’t possibly have read them all by now.

9. Increasing panic.

Now it’s been a week and a half. You’ve progressed to the point where you’re checking your email every 4 minutes and nervously eating like a hamster because you need something — anything — to distract you.

10. Desperation.

You still haven’t heard back. Still. This is a disaster. You’ll never hear back, or if you do, it’ll be a rejection. It has to be. No — maybe they haven’t even gotten to your application yet. Should you email them? You ultimately decide not to email them because you don’t want to come off as desperate; you present a façade of uncaring coolness to the rest of the world so they don’t realize that you’ve passed the stage of nervous eating and are now talking to inanimate objects.

11. Rejection.

It’s the response you’d been dreading for the last 10 days. You knew this would happen but were still kind of hoping that this would be the one time you’d finally met your HR soulmate — the person who recognized your potential for awesomeness and would sweep you off your feet instead of sending you a form letter rejection.

12. Tacit acceptance of the situation.

Well … this sucks. But you’re a mature, adult human being. You can handle this with grace and dignity.

13. Refusal to accept the situation.

You refuse to be graceful or dignified about this. It’s not fair — you were a great candidate; you would have kicked ass at that job. This company doesn’t even know what it’s missing out on, but you hope they soon realize what a devastating mistake they made not hiring you. This is the point at which you’ll start making vague plans to become a supervillain.

14. Angry motivation.

You won’t let them drag you down into childish dreams of becoming a supervillain. You’ll show them! You’ll get an even better job! They’ll rue the day they ever rejected you. You’ll apply to 50 more jobs and get ALL of them.

15. Actual acceptance of the situation.

alright alright
You don’t want to apply to 50 more jobs.

16. Confused flailing.

Should you even be applying to jobs anymore? Maybe you should start your own business. There are 10-year-olds who own their own businesses; surely you can do the same. Your fevered plans for entrepreneurship are then crushed when someone suggests you earn extra cash by walking the neighbor’s dog.

17. Crazy ideas.

You should volunteer in Nepal. No — Tibet! You should backpack around Iceland while waiting for a response from the Peace Corps. You’ll earn your living by working on farms and learning how to make cheese, and then you’ll live a happy life as a cheesemaker and never come back.

18. Listless soul-searching.

Maybe you just weren’t meant to have a job that you like; perhaps your fate is to work at a temp agency. Forever. Perhaps you have no true calling and were put on this earth to do nothing but exist until you die, kind of like a slime mold searching for its fungus food source.

19. Snapping out of it.

Everyone takes their own time to snap out of it, but it happens eventually when you realize that you’re not alone; there are millions of other people in this situation, and the only way you can change yours is to keep on trying, no matter how long it takes.

20. Repeat The Cycle …

… and maybe someday, step 11 will become “Acceptance.”