This is a common question we hear from candidates because we all inherently like to know what we should expect. Of course, like most things, the answer isn’t so simple.

The national average right now is about 1 response for every 50 resumes submitted.

Now, that statistic doesn’t relay much context. Is it 50 resumes submitted to “perfect” positions? Are these 50 resumes submitted to online openings, network connections, etc.? How does this average play out across various industries and levels of positions?

Within our scope here at NoddlePlace, our client members are fairing much better with 90% cutting the national average in half and the other 10% cutting it by 30-48%.

But again, these numbers don’t provide much context.

Here’s what we find:

The response rate varies primarily by job search method employed.

If you are going to use job boards heavily, then you will most likely need to send out more resumes to garner a response. The reason is because job postings are averaging 150-200 responses per posting (often much higher in tech arena), and they are relying heavily on automated tracking systems (ATS) that are iffy at best at properly weeding through resumes. Also, the response time is generally much slower.

With recruiters, the response time is somewhat better because recruiters tend to tell you sooner whether you are a good fit for the positions they are seeking to fill. However, recruiters can make you jump through more hoops, such as sending you through the same ATS process, or string you along. A good rule of thumb with recruiters is that if he or she is interested in you, you will know it! You will get moved up the chain pretty quickly. So although the response rate can be better with recruiters, you have to match yourself up with them to improve the likelihood of a “positive” response. For more on this, check out:

That Recruiter Is Just Not That Into You

Networking generally has the best response rate and requires the least resumes to be sent out. However, it all depends on how engaged your network connections are, how well suited they are for finding the right positions for you, timing, etc. It also depends on using some savvy in knowing when to introduce the resume into the discussion. Too often candidates rush to send out their resumes when they might do better by conducting an informational interview first.

What we find here is that if you build your connections more strategically ahead of time and profile specific companies you are interested in (even if they aren’t hiring at the moment), then you can create better relationships and bring the resume into the picture at a more opportune time.

So the answer to the question about how many resumes to send is that you need to be aware of the different types of job search methods there are and the amount of reliance you are placing on them.

It’s why setting up a job search strategy is so effective because it allows you to move forward with a well-researched plan. The more legwork you do upfront, the less catching up you will likely have to do later on.