I’ve applied for 493 jobs since I got laid off a year ago. Getting a remote job has become so hard.

Trevon Gripper, taken in September 2023.

Trevon Gripper has applied for 493 jobs since he was laid off from a tech role a year ago.He said he has worked remotely his whole career and didn’t expect to find so few remote jobs.He is now moving to Seattle, where he hopes to maximize his chances of landing a job.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Trevon Gripper, a 32-year-old job seeker in Texas. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

When I found out in February 2023 that I was getting laid off in June 2023, I started doing some applications, thinking, “Oh, by June, something will turn up.”

Fast-forward to today, and I’ve applied for 493 jobs. It’s been a wake-up call.

Since starting in 2014, I’ve worked remotely in some capacity. In 2017, I went fully remote.

I hadn’t seen how much the market had changed. I was kind of naive about how long I thought the process would take. There’s been a huge change from when I started applying a year ago, when I was like, “remote, remote, remote.”

I never had to consider looking for an on-site or a hybrid job before.

Trevon Gripper in a Microsoft video interview in March 2024.

Getting a remote job has become so hard

I started a spreadsheet to track my applications and stay organized. I wanted to know the number of applications I had submitted. I went through my emails and started counting rejection dates.

I never thought it would get up to 493.

I stopped tracking for a bit because it was demoralizing. I was constantly crossing out lines, and it started getting depressing.

Four years ago, when I got into corporate learning and development, even before the pandemic, remote jobs were popping up everywhere.

Trevon Gripper promoting training content at the company he worked for in March 2023.

Working remotely was a new thing.

Now, it’s not as easy because I’m limited geographically, and if there aren’t any roles around where I am in Houston, that puts a big wrench in the plans.

I applied for a Seattle-based company that I knew someone at.

They were kind of walking me through the process, and they got back to me and said the hiring manager said that they can’t hire you because you’re not in Seattle.

I said in my application that I was relocating to Seattle, but they didn’t look at it. All they saw was that my address was in Texas.

Remote is still a thing, but it has fewer options.

I have multiple job alerts set that I can try to hop on if something pops up. I literally got a LinkedIn notification at 9 p.m. one night, and I was like, “Okay, let me get on this real quick.” And the position had already been closed.

The post had been up for eight hours, and they closed it because there were 300 applicants.

That’s the other side of this. If it is a remote role, you’re already fighting hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are trying to get the same role.

Upskilling, freelancing, and networking

I think what’s kept me going is trying to upskill.

I got my project management certification and my disciplined agile scrum master certification. I am watching YouTube videos to learn how to use software, like Python, that I see as a requirement for these job postings.

I’ve also freelanced and designed tools for friends who work in education so that I could have a real story and a real piece of content for my portfolio.

I haven’t charged them. I’m using that as more of a creative way to build out my brand.

But I think the biggest thing I learned about this whole process is that you need to network.

Since I posted about my job situation on social media, I’ve been overwhelmed by people in my inbox saying: “I know a recruiter here,” “Send me your application,” and “Let’s connect on LinkedIn.”

Networking is such a big part of it.

During this whole time, my husband has been carrying the load for the two of us. I am in a very fortunate position.

Trevon Gripper and his husband in Atlanta in May 2021.

I am relocating for on-site jobs

My husband and I are getting ready to move to Seattle. We haven’t rented a place yet, but we’re going to do a short-term rental starting July 15.

There have been a lot more opportunities in my field there.

Hopefully, that will make the process a little bit easier.

At some point, you have to say, “All right. Odds are, I’m already struggling in the school of candidates. I probably need to look elsewhere.”

And seeing roles in Seattle that are on-site or hybrid, you know, maybe 40 people apply to that role. I feel better about those odds.

Maybe an actual human will look at my application.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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