Job Seekers Are Opening Up About What It's Really Like Looking For Work Currently, And It's Honestly Super Disheartening

    "I keep applying for jobs that I know I’m qualified for and know I would be good at, but there’s always someone more qualified and more experienced than me."

    Warning: This post contains brief mentions of depression and anxiety.

    Looking for jobs in today's day and age can be unpredictable — some people may gain a new position quickly, but many others could face obstacles along the road to a new role.

    A person fills out a job application on their laptop

    I recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share with me what it's really like applying for work right now. Here are some of the submissions I got in response.

    1. "I've been applying for 10 months — haven't even had an interview. Driving for DoorDash is not enough anymore, but what's a guy to do?"

    A DoorDash delivery bag is seen in the front seat of a car

    2. "The 'teacher shortage' is a disingenuous way to say that school systems are only looking for new people they can pay less than deserved and for positions that no human should have to take. I'm a 22-year veteran, and trying to move out of my current toxic environment is impossible because nobody will even interview someone they'd have to pay more than entry-level and who is closer to retirement than not."

    teacher helping a student

    3. "I’ve been applying for jobs since December. It’s hard to find a job fresh out of college that aligns with my degree when every job is looking for multiple years of experience, and there are little to no opportunities for entry-level job positions."

    A young woman looks stressed out while working on her laptop

    4. "It's been awful. I'm a 17-year military veteran with the same amount of time and experience in the HR field, and I'm two months away from graduating with a master's in HR. I've had one 'pre-screening' phone call about an application. Out of dozens. No solid interviews. I'm at my wit's end. It feels awful. Terrible."

    A man holds his face out of exhaustion

    5. "My friend has been applying for jobs since 2020 and still hasn't gotten anything. She has a degree in political science and a real estate license. She's applied to law firms, libraries, museums, real estate agencies, Target, small retail businesses, and nothing. They either want someone experienced, they ghost her after an interview, or they're sketchy. She just signed up to be a dog walker, and even that took two weeks to get one customer."

    A woman walks a dog in a park

    6. "It’s so disheartening. I keep applying for jobs that I know I’m qualified for and know I would be good at, but there’s always someone more qualified and more experienced than me."

    A person hands over a copy of their resume to a potential employer

    7. "It’s rough out there. I’m educated and graduated college, and I have been in my field for a few years, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for people. In my field, we use CAD (computer-aided drafting). There are multiple CAD products that do the same thing, and each company wants you to have previous experience using whichever one they use. Like, experience is not everything! People are capable of learning new things, especially if they are similar."


    8. "It’s impossible. I’m immunocompromised, and the world is so insistent on pretending COVID doesn’t exist. I can’t even find jobs to apply for where I won’t be putting my health and/or life at risk."


    9. "I have been applying since 2021, and it is so difficult. I have almost tried everything and even moved states to find better opportunities but no luck so far."


    10. "I live in the Boulder/Denver area and work as a registered behavior technician. I just got a new job a few months ago, and the application process was a breeze. I posted my resume on Indeed and got five responses on the first day alone. From then, it was just choosing which company was best for me. It was extremely easy to get interviews; I didn't even have to ask — they all reached out to me. I got multiple offers which led me to ask my favorite company for more money, which they agreed to. I was at my new job less than a week after applying, and I love it!"

    A counselor works with a young child who is playing with building blocks

    11. "I've been applying to jobs since May 2022 when I graduated, and I still haven't found anything in my field. Most places never even send a proper rejection, they just ghost you. Hell, I've been ghosted from the few places where I managed to get an interview. I feel like I'm just sending my resume into the void because who knows if these resume-scanning robots aren't just throwing out my application for arbitrary reasons? It's demoralizing to be constantly rejected from even the most basic positions that I know I'm perfectly capable of handling."

    A man rests his head in his arms while reading from his laptop

    12. "Ghosting and scams are out of control! It’s extremely disheartening out there. I was unemployed for almost six months — that’s half of a year of having unbelievable stress and anxiety, not to mention the depression. Half a year wasted! Life completely on pause."

    A distressed woman covers her face

    13. "Finding a job and filling out applications is the worst thing ever. I’ve applied for over 100 jobs in six months, gotten a few interviews, and then a, 'Sorry, we’ve hired someone with more experience.' And every place you apply to wants their own personal cover letter that talks about how you fit what they are looking for. Each place asks almost all the same questions, and I’m beginning to feel like I can’t answer them genuinely anymore. And my unemployment got denied. So me and my two kids are seriously struggling. I hate it."

    A woman holds her kids' hands while they cross the street together

    14. "It's repetitive. It's tedious. I especially hate those job applications that want you to submit your CV or resume and a cover letter then ask you to fill in a form where you're basically repeating everything in your CV or resume and cover letter. Do recruiters even read them? I've been applying for jobs for over two years now, and aside from the occasional glimmer of interest that fizzles out from people hiring, nothing has come of it."

    A person types on their laptop while holding a document and pen in their hands

    15. "I’m a third-year international law student in the UK, and securing a graduate position within a law firm is like trying to walk on water; it feels impossible. The law student-to-graduate solicitor ratio is significantly disproportionate, forcing many of my fellow students to give up on pursuing a legal career and doing something else entirely. It’s especially hard for international students because we can’t enter the industry at smaller, regional law firms because they don’t do visa sponsorships, so the bigger law firms are where we look to."

    A diploma and gavel sit on a wooden surface

    16. "It seems the more experience you have, the better skill set, the more you're scrutinized. ... It's like gatekeeping — you have to prove that you know your profession over and above what's actually required only to have them poke holes in your experience. I've been working since the late '90s. ... At this point, how much should I have to prove that I'm a capable candidate?!"

    A person holds their resume as they prepare to work on their laptop

    17. "Rightfully so, everyone is looking to make more money. There may be a lot of open positions — but they are likely entry-level. Any position higher than a team lead is highly competitive. I have been looking for a position more in line with my degree for several months. Even with several years' experience, an education, and making it through several rounds (and weeks) of interviews and assessments, I either remain one of many or I'm offered well below what my skills are worth. Employers are looking to pay master's level employees between $50K and $60K — which is pocket change in this economy."

    "I am lucky enough to have a job that pays the bills right now, but it is incredibly emotionally exhausting due to the nature of the work. It's like having two full-time positions and still treading water. The worst part is that employers will string you along for weeks at a time only to make it the last round of interviews and then just go radio silent. You get all amped up and then end up back at square one. I just want to be able to afford my apartment and also maybe enjoy being alive occasionally. It’s not a big ask."


    18. "It’s awful. Since Christmas 2022, I have submitted well over 100 job applications for positions that I’m qualified for (and ones that I’m overqualified for) and got one interview, but the position was filled before I had my interview. I have two trade school certifications (CNA and ASE), and I still can’t get hired. It’s so hard to remain hopeful that things will get better for me when it seems like nothing has gone in my favor."


    19. "I have a physical disability, which by default makes it harder for me to get hired, despite my education and experience. I've been overtly discriminated against in the past by employers, and it's gut-wrenching."

    "My company is restructuring, and I'm looking for other opportunities and am filled with dread because I know it will be much harder for me to get hired as a disabled person."


    20. "The number of scammers out there looking for vulnerable people to exploit — I'm talking about YOU, 'company' looking for WFH admin when they really want to sell you a franchise, the people who pose as headhunters and recruiters just to get hold of your personal information and the genuine recruiters who aren't interested in finding the right person for their roles — they just want to up their sales."

    Two businesspeople shake hands

    21. "I can tell you from experience that job hunting these days is a NIGHTMARE! I was out of work for two years during the pandemic. I finally landed a part-time job that I love, but the work is very sporadic, and I'm now looking for a second job to supplement it. Job hunting is tough because employers are getting pickier these days than they used to be, and the hiring process is much more impersonal."

    A woman applies for a job online

    22. "I’m a 20-year-old woman with two years of warehouse experience. It may not be much, but it feels like a lot to me. I’m OSHA forklift certified, speak some Mandarin (which helps sometimes in logistics), and am willing and able to carry my weight at work. I just recently dropped out of college for financial reasons and have applied to 15+ warehouse jobs while living with my parents. I couldn’t be more grateful for their understanding while I job hunt."

    A woman sits at her home desk and works on her computer

    23. "I just graduated from college. I wish more people understood that the issue isn’t finding jobs. It’s the fact that a lot of these jobs want you to have a certain amount of experience coming into that job. I am also completely blind, so now more and more people aren’t quick to make software or even their office spaces accessible. I wish more companies could understand that blind people can work. We are capable, it’s just that we need things to be made accessible."

    "And personally I don’t think that that is asking too much. In order for me to succeed in the workplace, I am entitled to the tools and materials that I would need to get the job done. So it’s been hard to try and feel confident in getting a job when most places don’t want to take the extra time to create alternatives to visual things."


    Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and/or clarity.

    If you're applying for jobs right now, let us know how the search has been so far in the comments below.