Applying to jobs is a necessary evil. With the rise of the internet, companies are seeing a huge number of applications per open role and job seekers are having to put in more job applications than ever before to get hired.

In this article you'll learn:

If you rather watch the video:

Applying for Jobs

According to some surveys, it can take a job seeker 100+ applications to get a job. 

We like to be more conservative than that and say that it can take 100+ applications to get 1 INTERVIEW…

Having this mindset will make it much easier to stay motivated when applying. If you need help with staying motivated in the job search, we did an entire podcast episode about how to stay motivated when applying.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to volume apply for jobs with quality outreach for referrals. The process we’re going to explain is the exact process that Senior Product Manager at Meta, Drake Porter used to get his job at Meta. 

This process works!

First, let’s start with what you’re not going to do.

What Most People Do on the Job Hunt

When applying for job opportunities most people:

If that works for you, then awesome! But, that’s not what we’re going to be doing.

We’re going to teach you to break up each step and add outreach for referrals. This technique will give you the perfect combination between quality and quantity.

Why We Don’t Like The Current Process

The process outlined above works! But... there’s room for major improvement.

Let’s highlight the 3 things we don’t like about the current process and how we can improve them.

What we don’t like:

Applying on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job boards

Online job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and others are great places to find jobs. These are great job search sites. But, you want to avoid them when you actually apply for a job.

We prefer to go to the company’s website to apply. That way, it gives us the highest chance of being seen by the hiring manager or internal recruiter. When applying on other job boards, the hiring manager usually has to check their inbox on that platform to see if they have any new applicants. Or they get pinged to their email that someone has applied. That email has a chance of getting buried and never seen.

By applying directly to the company’s website your application will go through their internal systems and have the greatest chance of reaching the person it needs to.

Applying to jobs at the same time you’re looking for roles

Looking for jobs and applying to them are 2 separate tasks. To be most effective, we want to separate the tasks so we’re not switching back and forth between them.

This is what the process looks like:

  1. Search for jobs and save them to apply for later
  2. Go through your saved jobs and apply to them

This will save you time and effort from constantly switching from finding jobs and applying to jobs.

No outreach for referrals

One of the best ways to get an interview is to have a referral. The current process doesn’t have a system or framework to reach out to people and get those referrals. While the referral doesn’t guarantee you a job, it gives you a much better chance of getting an interview and getting noticed by the hiring manager. A referral will help you stick out from the hundreds of similar applications.

The Volume Applying Process

The Volume Applying Process is very simple.

It’s a 3 step process that we’ll outline below:

1. Search and Save Jobs

As we highlighted above, searching for jobs and applying to jobs are 2 different tasks. The first thing you’re going to do is search for every job you’re interested in and save or favorite each job that you are going to apply to later.

For example, open Google and type in “customer service jobs remote”. Go through all of the search results on Google Jobs, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and other job boards. When you come across a job that you’re interested in and want to apply to, favorite, bookmark, or save that job posting so you can come back in the next step and apply to it.

You can save your jobs in a job application tracker. A good job application tracker can track the status of each application, track which version of your resume and cover letter you use, and be able to tell where you are with each job in the hiring process. We made a free job application tracker for you to download and use. Just put your email in the box below and it'll get delivered straight to your inbox!

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2. Applying for Jobs on the Company’s Website

After you have all of your jobs saved, now you’re going to apply to them. The easiest thing to do is to go down your list from the very top. This will help you make sure that you don’t miss applying for any jobs.

Note: We have seen people do the method of applying to the jobs they like the most first. That way if they have their application in early and get the job, they may not need to apply for more jobs. We’ve found that’s not the best approach because it adds an extra task to your application process. Now, you have to rank the jobs and employers that you want to work for the most. Which is a whole other process. But, do what works for you!

As we mentioned before, you want to fill out the online application and apply directly on the company’s website as much as possible.

We don’t want to rely on 3rd party job boards to alert the hiring manager. We want to apply on their website so that it goes through their internal system and has the highest likelihood of getting received.

Many job boards will route you directly to the job listing on their site so you can apply there.

If you’re on a 3rd party job board that have you apply through them, then you’re going to have to do some work.

Here are the 2 steps:

  1. Google the exact job title and the company name. A lot of times this will take you directly to the company’s job board and you can apply there.
  2. If that didn’t work, then go to the company’s website and look for their “careers” or “jobs” section and try to find the listing manually.

“Can I apply in both places?”

Sure! There’s no rule that says you can't apply in both places. If you want to apply on the job board and on their website, go for it!

What if the job listing is only on the job board and I can’t find it anywhere else?”

If you’ve looked on their website and can’t find it, then just apply on the job board that you found it on. Some companies only use external job boards to fill their roles. You might be applying to one of those companies. If that’s the case, go ahead and apply on that job board!

Pro Tip: Don't self eliminate! Job descriptions are just a wish list for companies. It's ok if your work experience and work history don't fit the job description 100%. If you can do 50% of the job and you can convince your future employer that you can do the rest, then just hit the apply button! Don't worry about if you're a "good fit" for the role or not, that's their job. If they don't like you, they won't hire you. If they do, you might have a new job!

3. Find a Connection

Now, you’re going to start looking to make a professional connection and get a referral. Getting a referral can greatly improve your chances of getting the job. 

After you’ve applied to the job, you're going to use LinkedIn and research someone in that company that has that exact role. If you can’t find anyone with the exact same role, look for someone in a similar position or the same department.

Go to their LinkedIn profile and send them a connection request. When you send them a request also send a note. The goal is to network, make a new connection, and ultimately get a referral for the position.

Speaking of connecting, connect with us on LinkedIn! Connect with Ryan and connect with Hannah. When you connect, drop us a note and tell us you're reading this article and let us know how we can help!

Chances are the person you’re connecting with has probably been asked for a referral before. The key here is to make a genuine connection so that they actually want to help you and give you a referral to your potential employer.

What Not To Do

When reaching out in this way, you have to put some effort in to get to know the person or at least ask nicely. Asking “Hey, can I get a referral for this job?” or "I'm struggling to get a job. Would love your help to land a job." is not the best approach. While some people may give you a referral, your chances are much higher if you actually take some time to get to know the person.

Make Them Like You

People want to do things for people they like and are connected to. It’s no different when asking for a job referral and doing cold outreach. You want to keep the conversation focused around them and ask genuine questions.

A good book to read is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This classic is a playbook for getting people to like you.

Below is a template you can use for your outreach. 

Pro Tip: Outreach via LinkedIn is usually better than outreach via email. 

Initial Outreach

Hey ______,

Hope you’re having a great day!

I’m Ryan and I’m looking to get into my next role and a company that really stood out to me is _______________.

Just wanted to reach out and ask a few questions about your role and see if you could provide any guidance.

Would love to do a quick 10 minute chat over the phone or messaging here on LinkedIn would be great too!

Thanks so much!

Comments: No one is going to want to get on the phone with you! But, most people will be willing to chat through LinkedIn. Just throw the phone chat in there as an option. It helps to make the messaging not look like such an enormous ask. 

In the first message, make clear the position you're applying for, ask if they have any tips for applicants, and state your interest in the position.

2nd Message - After they confirm that you can message them your questions

Hey ________!

Thanks so much for taking the time! Here are 3 questions that I had:

  1. How would you define success in the role you’re currently in?
  2. How does it differ from companies you’ve worked in before? (small companies vs. larger companies)
  3. How did you get your role at _______? Did you get a referral or did you just apply?

I really appreciate you taking the time to help me on the job search.

Comments: The first 2 questions you ask are going to vary with your industry and the jobs you’re applying for. Here’s a set of generic questions that will be relevant in most industries. That being said, asking relevant questions can be a sign of your thinking and how you approach the roles. Customize the 2 questions to fit your industry and role. You want them to talk about themselves and the work they’re doing. The more they talk about themselves, the more they’ll like you!

The real goal is the last question. You want to ask them how they got their role, whether by a referral or by just applying. Most of the time, they’re going to come up with the idea themselves that they should refer you!

These two templates above are not a silver bullet. You might be able to get a referral, or you might not. It's ok, don't get discouraged. Do this outreach process for as many job openings as you can. With enough persistence, this will lead to job interviews and getting the job you want!

How Many Jobs Should You Be Applying For?

Use this process to submit an application to 10-20 jobs per day. You can definitely do more! Drake Porter did 50+ jobs per day when applying for jobs. Ryan and Hannah do 50+ jobs per day too. So, if you can, that’s great! Do it!

But, we’ve found that making realistic goals and sticking to them can be hugely important when going through the job hunt. You want to make difficult goals, but goals that you can reach.


Applying for jobs is the foundation of the job search process. With the volume applying process, you’ll have the perfect combination of quality and quantity. This process works wonders for job seekers and we know it can help you on the way to your next job!

If you're struggling to find a job and switch careers, come work with us in our 4 Week Career Change Crash Course. In our crash course, you'll learn how to identify new job opportunities, craft your story for the specific job you're looking for, and how to sell your skills and experience to your future employer. 

How do you get a job when it says college degree required and you don’t have a degree?

This is always one of the top questions we get from people that are just beginning their Degree Free journey.

There are so many jobs out there that say "college degree required". You may feel discouraged or defeated when looking at your future job prospects. You may ask yourself: “How am I supposed to get the job when it says college degree required and I don’t have a degree?”

The most common answer that we hear is to go and get a degree.

We can’t emphasize enough, this should be your last option! Not your first.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you exactly what you should do to deal with those job postings that "require" a degree when you don’t have one.

Spoiler: It’s simpler than you think!

We also talk about this topic in depth on our podcast episode College Degree NOT Required.

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Don’t Self Eliminate

The biggest problem we see with job seekers that are starting to apply to jobs is self elimination. If jobs postings say they require college degrees and they don’t have one, they just won’t apply.

That’s crazy!

As Wayne Gretzky and Michael Scott said "You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take."

Don’t self eliminate. Apply fearlessly.

If you don’t have a college degree but you think you qualify for the job, just apply anyway! Let the company tell you that you’re not qualified. Let the company tell you that they don’t want to hire you. Don’t do it for them.

Apply Fearlessly

Applying to jobs and putting yourself out there for rejection is tough. It only gets harder as time goes on and the rejections start rolling in.

A lot of people are afraid of 2 things:

Let’s break these 2 down.

Being a Rule Breaker

When we tell people to apply fearlessly and apply for jobs that they feel they may not be “qualified” for or where they don’t have a degree and it says “degree required”, a lot of people are shocked.

The typical response is: “I can’t do that. I don’t want to break the rules.” Most people believe if you break the rules of the job listing, then you will not be considered for the job.

The thing is: if you don’t apply they’re not going to consider you for the job anyway!

Just apply anyway.

There are no rules. This is important, so we’ll repeat it: THERE ARE NO RULES!

Don’t worry about breaking some sort of unwritten rule when applying because there are none. The company doesn’t care about whether you have a degree. They want someone who can provide value and succeed in the role.

There’s always push-back when we say the company doesn’t care about degrees. OK. Let’s assume that they do care. What has changed?

You still don’t have a degree. They’re still not going to hire you (even though we know they’re making a huge mistake). We’ve arrived at the same place.

Overcoming Rejection

Rejection is one of the number 1 fears that all people have. Humans are social animals and want to be accepted by the group. Unfortunately, in the job hunt process you’re going to be dealing with a lot of rejection. It’s just the name of the game.

We have an entire podcast episode dedicated to dealing with rejection, but we’ll highlight some of the major points here.

Knowing the Numbers

On average it takes 100 applications to get 1 interview. That’s a lot of applications. That’s also a lot of rejection.

Accept it as Reality

Now that you know the numbers, you see that getting rejected is going to happen. And it’s going to happen a lot.

Knowing that is half the battle. Know that once you start applying you’re probably going to be receiving a lot more rejection letters than interview requests.

It Only Takes One

It only takes one company to tell you yes. You might apply to 300 jobs and hear no 299 times. But, it only takes 1 yes for all that effort to be worth it.

As we said earlier, if you want to hear more about it how to handle rejection check out our podcast episode on it.

Rejection is a necessary part of the job hunting process. Keep in mind that it will happen. You’re not worth less because you get rejected. Keep going and keep applying!

You Are Qualified

Don’t allow one line on the job listing: “College Degree Required” to make you feel like you’re not qualified.

If you know you can do the job but it says they want someone with a college degree, don’t get down on yourself. And don't withhold your application.

You are qualified. Apply anyway!

If they offer you the job, you’ll know you were right. If you never hear from the job, you’re in the same position that you’re in now.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The 3 Most Common Excuses

Once we’ve told people they should be applying fearlessly even if they don’t have a college degree, we hear a lot of excuses.

In anticipation of that, let’s highlight the 3 most common excuses we hear about why you shouldn’t apply anyway and address these concerns.

They’re not going to look at my application anyway

Let them decide that. If you don’t apply they’re definitely not going to look at your application. This is the problem with self elimination. You’re not letting them turn you down.

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is going to filter it before I’m considered

Once again, this is something you can’t control. If their system filters you out, then it filters you out. But, how are you supposed to know that before you’ve applied? The answer: you can’t. Apply anyway!

A note: While many larger companies do use ATS, not all of them do. A lot of smaller companies still do not utilize ATS as it’s expensive and they may not want to eliminate candidates. Just because a company does use ATS doesn’t mean you know what their filters are. So, once again. Apply anyway!

They’re obviously not looking for me. They want someone with a college degree.

That company wants their role filled. They want someone to provide value and succeed in that role. That’s what the company wants.

As you’ve probably guessed, what do you do in this situation? That’s right: apply anyway!

You don’t know what the company wants or doesn’t want. That job description and job listing could’ve been copied and pasted for years and they haven’t gotten around to deleting the degree requirement. (This happens at a lot of companies!)

If they truly care about college degrees, then you’re not working there. And you’re still in the same boat you were in originally.

All the excuses lead to the same answer: apply anyway!

What else can you do to get over the degree “requirement”?

As we’ve been discussing this whole time, the most important thing you need to be doing is applying fearlessly!

There are still more things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired.

Focus on the Skills You Have

Don’t focus on the skills or credentials you don’t have. Instead focus on the ones you do have.

Instead of saying, “I don’t have a college degree.” you should focus on how your experience and knowledge can bring value to the company in that position.

Frame your past experience in a way that makes it easy for the hiring manager to connect the dots on why you’re a good hire.

Skill Up

If you’re looking at job listings that require a certain skill and you don’t have it, look into how you can learn that skill.

Learning and acquiring new skills is a great way to show future employers that you are constantly working towards improving yourself.

Gaining those new skills can make you a much more appealing candidate when it’s time to review your application.


Slowly, the degree requirements for jobs are coming down. Companies are starting to realize what you’ve known forever. A degree doesn’t qualify you for a job.

Until it becomes more widespread the most important thing you can do is to keep applying.

Remember, the most damaging thing you can do to yourself in the job hunt process is to self eliminate. If you think you can do the job or even if you feel like you can LEARN the job, you should apply anyway.

You’re definitely not going to get the job if you don’t apply for it.

Apply fearlessly!

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