What I Learnt From Applying For 500+ Roles

Akhil Sonthi
3 min readNov 20, 2020


1. CV screening is a surprisingly random process

Sometimes I would be rejected from roles that I was qualified if not overqualified for while other times, I would receive first-round/second-round invitations when I know I have almost no experience to offer compared to 1000s of other great candidates.

I feel the algorithms that are used to parse our CVs are updated quite frequently so it’s near impossible to know which design and ‘keyword’ has the greatest impact.

2. A lot of talent acquisition software sucks

I think I have honestly created almost 50 different accounts on [COMPANY].taleo.net and both myself and Google regularly get confused on which is the correct password. I end up doing 10s of password resets every application cycle because I get confused between the almost identical webpages for different companies with compulsory login. Personally, I’m a big fan of Lever which doesn’t require you to signup and simply asks to fill in four fields and upload a resume/CV. Simple.

3. Most jobs have unreasonable requirements

I think recruitment agencies and firms are going a bit crazy when crafting job specs. It’s amazing the number of times I’ve clicked on seemingly entry-level/low-experience roles (i.e “Analyst”, “Associate” or “Junior”) and read:

  • 10+ years experience, ideally at an insane tech or consulting firm
  • A deep technical understanding of all topics vaguely related to the role
  • Capable of working cross-functionally with every single stakeholder
  • Having a strong customer focus and exceptional communication skills
  • Essentially you must have done this exact role elsewhere already
  • Created your own unicorn and been to space — why not?

4. Salaries can vary an extraordinary amount between industries

You take a look at the total compensation for an entry-level investment banker and it varies from £70–90k whereas an entry-level marketer who may well be providing as much value/bringing in as much revenue will be lucky to cross the £40k mark. Obviously the banker works far longer hours on average so it kind of makes sense but still shocking when you first notice the discrepancy.

5. It’s okay to get rejected

After you send off your application, the best thing to do is forget about it and focus on the next application or your current life. Unfortunately, a lot of application processes are heavily subjective (however they maybe advertised) so most of the time, someone just won’t like some aspect of your design, background, writing style or experience and feel in their opinion you either have little potential or won’t be a ‘fit’. The best thing to do is ignore it and not take it too personally. Just be yourself and on the whole, ignore most feedback (as controversial or wrong as it sounds) because it’s just that person’s opinion. Of course if the feedback is that you have profanity on your CV or the hazmat suit that you had on during the interview was a bit distracting then maybe you shouldn’t ignore it…



Akhil Sonthi

Tech Enthusiast | Entrepreneur | Music Artist | MEng @ Cambridge