Finding a new job can be one of the most exhausting experiences. Sending out resume after resume, tailoring cover letters for each listing, and sometimes doing multiple rounds of interviews — assuming you even get that far.

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One woman in the process of changing careers kept careful track of her search and reported that, by the end, she had applied for a whopping 357 jobs prior to finally landing one.

Sophia Cheong has a degree from Fullerton College and was looking for work as a software engineer. And while previous generations insisted that having a degree would open doors and that working in tech will always guarantee you a job, she is one of the many young people proving that things are actually far more complicated than that.

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“Looking for a job, especially if you have no prior experience, is so difficult, especially since everyone is trying to get back on their feet and there is someone always better out there,” she told BuzzFeed.

If you’ve had to search for jobs in the past 15 or so years, you already know how this works — employers in just about every field all seem to be looking for someone with several years of experience, but who is still young, and willing to accept low pay for “entry-level” jobs. It’s a cruelty that makes job hunting particularly frustrating.

Cheong’s story is drawing attention not only to why the insistence that the unemployed can just “go get a job” is unreasonable, but also why it’s so difficult to find a new job when you realize you’re stuck in one that doesn’t suit you.

She likened applying to a “full-time job,” which sounds about right considering how many applications she sent out. And that’s undoubtedly after combing through listings on multiple sites every day, customizing her cover letters, and not even including the 40 interviews she was able to set up. When job hunting takes that long and requires that much effort, how is someone already working 40+ hours a week at a dead-end job expected to find something new?

But Cheong seems to be optimistic both about her new job and her future prospects after such a long search.

“What got me through this was [the] advice: ‘This job search will be the hardest one yet, after getting your foot in the door it gets a lot easier,’” she wrote. “It only takes one!”

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Your mileage may vary as to how true that actually is in practice — many of those commenting on her LinkedIn post about their own current job searches don’t seem to agree — but one can always hope.

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*First Published: October 29, 2021, 6:31 am