job search journey

10 Months. 968 Jobs Applied. 704 No Responses. 12 Interviews. 1 Job Offer – Life of International F1 Student

I received an email from Chiranjeevi with his job search journey. The moment I read the email, I knew that it is going to inspire thousands of students who are facing the same journey ahead. So, let’s get to it.

His email was in response to the previous podcast show – Non Computer Science struggle to find a job.

Here’s the actual email subject line  from Chiranjeevi – “10 months.. 968 applications.. 704 no responses.. 251 denials.. 12 interview rejections.. 1 job offer”.

  • July 19, 2014 – Video Interview with Chiranjeevi (Watch a segment of the interview below)
  • Sep 8, 2016 – Job Search Experience submitted by Chiranjeevi

When it comes to job search, there are two kinds of students.

  1. Those who got what it takes to find a full-time job
  2. Those who don’t have what it takes to find a full-time job

Before we get into the details  and analysis of two kinds of students, you should watch his video interview and continue to read the experience shared by Chiranjeevi.

Interview from 2014: 


My Job Search on F1 Visa and OPT

Hey Raghu,

I saw your most recent blog post and I wanted to share my story. We spoke a little over two years back when I was in India. I was ready for a struggle at that point, but I had no clue I would be hitting the low points in my life that I did. It has been a journey, a journey of growth through hardships.

While I was studying a Masters Degree, I could not find a job on campus. I could not find an internship in the summer. There were nights I went hungry, and nights where was homeless.

[x_pullquote type=”right”]I have walked 5 miles when it was snowing to save $2 on a bus ride. I did what I have to do to survive.[/x_pullquote]

All through the process I kept applying for jobs. I did a MS in Financial Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. And like you mentioned, it is tough for a non computer science background person to get a job. All of the university recruitments were for Computer Science students.

I graduated in May 2016. I did not track the number of summer internship applications, but I kept track when I started applying for full time jobs.

In my heart, I knew I would do whatever it takes to find a full time job. I was bent on not going to a consultancy for a job. It’s a vicious cycle.

Persistence is key. I felt like quitting so many times. When things do not work out for so long, you really start to doubt yourself. But I somehow kept persevering.

I got rejected at an interview that would just pay me $45,000 in New York City. When something like that happens, you don’t really think good about yourself.

Since December of 2015, it has taken me 968 applications, 704 no responses, 251 email denials, 12 interviews I got rejected at to finally get a full time offer of a financial services company close to Boston.

The funny part is, if I had received job offers from other 11 employers, I would have still chosen this one. The profile is the best, the money I am being paid is the best, the company is sponsoring my H-1B Visa. It is absolutely amazing. I am being paid a lot more than someone with my experience could possibly expect to make. It was painful when I was going through the process. But it has been absolutely worth it.

[x_pullquote type=”left”]If you have enough ambition and emotional stability, this country will give you everything you desire for. [/x_pullquote]

As immigrants, we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to come to the United States. The whole world wants to be here and no one wishes to go back. This is the land of abundance and freedom. Never take that for granted.

No one said America would be easy, it’s not. But where else is it possible on our planet, that you could come from any part of the world and be accepted at face value?

Only in America could you be from any background and have an opportunity to rise to the very top.

You have an equal shot at being unequal. America is not an elevator, it is a staircase which you need to climb. If you have enough ambition and emotional stability, this country will give you everything you desire for. My belief that I am in the greatest country in the world, despite all odds was one of the biggest reasons I landed a job.

The only thing I can say is that ‘If I can do it, anyone can.’ The big disclaimer is that you should be willing to do what I did. I have learnt that if you are going through hell, you should just keep going.


Around the same time frame (2014), I wrote this article – The New American Dream, when I look back today at Chrianjeevi’s journey, I think he’s the perfect embodiment of what I was hoping to achieve through my work here at Happy Schools. No one said it’s going to be easy. But, the difference is are you willing to put up with the challenges?

What’s Next?

  • Why Chiranjeevie shouldn’t have applied for 968 job (new blog post)
  • Join Job Search Boot Camp – Free Email course to learn Job Search Tricks and Tips

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  1. My girlfriend of 8 years cheated on me;4 years later I overdosed to commit suicide; last year I was made homeless by my own brother in USA on F1. Did I give up? Read on.

    Yes, you read that right. Well, I don’t intend to say that my case would be the worst case you have read or heard ever. But each line I write here is true and it’s basically for someone , who might be in a similar situation and can’t see a path beyond it.

    I was in a 8 year long relation with my ex, who cheated on me with my ‘best friend’ . Well, yes of course I was broken. It took me 2–3 whole years to come out of it. But that’s not what I want to share here. I moved on- she married , I am engaged now-all is well!

    3 years back- I was at a crossroad , where I was feeling hopeless, with my career going nowhere. Mind you, I was a 3.9+ GPA guy. I am a dentist- to be precise-no backlogs, no failures ever. But after graduation- all I wanted to do was come to the US and follow up my dental career here in the USA. 3 years went by- I used to visit the states and go back- fighting inner depression always- not having the motivation to even write my exams. I still didn’t write them and each day I feel- I should be able to do it- I don’t know why I cannot still. I wish I knew that.

    Anyways, I was back in India for almost an year now- with no progress in sight. My relationship with my parents is such- that I can never rely on them for any thing except money. There no”parentage” . I can ask for money- and I will get it (with a hassle) but thats about it. No support, no guidance- only arrogance, strife, anger and ego. I was planning for education in Canada, and my brother came in the way. I was afraid to come back to USA as I was scared my visiting visa could be rejected. Seeing no end to all this- I made an elaborate plan to commit suicide and end my misery. ( I used to gym everyday btw- I was in the best shape of my life at that point) but mentally i was broken deep down.

    I tied myself up a chair- so that I don’t fall off or resist myself, crushed a 100 zolpidems in a mixer , mixed them in vodka, drank two full glasses of it. My brother was landing in India at the same time. I had sent emails to my ‘family’ saying how disappointed i was with them and how they had stopped me time and again to do what my heart wanted to do, except my uncle’s family. I don’t remember much for the next 2 days- I woke up in a hospital bed. Everyone blamed it on the protien powder I was taking( i was taking it for an year and half btw). No one acknowledged that it could be due to them.

    Anyways- I gathered courage once again- as i got another life- started applications for my studies in USA- got my visa in the next year and came here. Met my fiance here. She does not know much about my history. I don’t think i can share this with her ever. 2 years passed- i graduated- everything was ok when I was with her or by myself. I had to unfortunately stay with my brother as ‘my family couldn’t afford me a place”( thats ridiculous i know) but neither could i afford a place with my on campus employment restrictions under my visa.

    He is a person who keeps tabs of all good things he does so that he can bloat over it- thats exactly what happened and in one major argument with him- I was kicked out of the house with all my luggage thrown out at 2 am in early march 2016. Snowy night in long island, mind you. Well, I had an option- to sit and cry- or get up and do what I had to do.

    Stayed at a motel that night- couldn’t sleep a bit- but was looking at cars to rent or buy as travelling in long island is impossible without a car. Rented a car first thing in the morning- then went to buy a second hand car. ( my credit was 1 year old by now) . Thankfully got approved for a car and hadn’t mentioned all this to her till now- but then I did and she asked me to come over. She stays in the middle of Pennsylvania. 5 hours away.

    I cant even say- what broke me, but yep- the whole ride- i was teary and drove down.

    Months have passed- I got a job on my OPT- I got a brand new car within 4 months of the old one- got myself a 3 bedroom townhouse to rent with her, and tomorrow I am signing a property deal at the place I work. I basically will own his dental practice and his building starting tomorrow.

    9 months. Thats how long it took me to come out of all this. I am not out yet, but I don’t see any reason why I cant rise from here. Each and every month since march I grew – I grew mentally, emotionally, and well physically- i put on a lot of extra pounds. But yeah- I don’t think giving up was an option for me.

    My little story here is not to gain sympathy from any of you who would want to read it but a small suggestion- things will improve- you might reach your breaking point- don’t give up still. If a person so weak, who once committed suicide , can do it- I am sure you can do it too.

  2. Very inspiring journey one thing is for sure key to success is patients and hardwork, this is to be known by anyone who is looking for great future in USA as things dont come easy but hardwork does payoff well.

  3. Hi,

    My views might sound controversial, but I also experienced the job scenarios over here and would like to share my perspective.

    Briefly, I come from a non-CS background, with work experience in non-technical non-consulting stream. I went for a masters course which was business oriented, completely non-technical. Financial Engineering does have lot of Math and programming/modeling involved. I empathize with the author with his scenario, but being on the East Coast, with NJ being the hub of most of the jobs on East Coast and it’s proximity to NYC, Philadelphia and Boston, makes it a risk free first choice for a lot of students. (if you have ever been to NJ, a trip to Piscataway, Edison, Somerville and you will see the population of decent job first generation immigrants is extremely high) Most of the immigrants here are on H1B (Straight from India) or on F1 OPT, implying high concentration of jobs.

    I question the Author’s approach of applying to jobs. The American job scenario and approach to it is very different from the job application scenario in India. Indian jobs prefer work experience. More the experience, the better applicant you are. However, American jobs are more about the right ‘fit’. American/Indian-American companies look for the applicant who would fit into the company with the least friction and hassle. Also, resume, education and visa eligibility comes into picture with these companies. When the author says he applied to 968 jobs, I question the quality of these submissions.

    1. Did he research the company if they are in a field related to his course of study/his interests?
    2. Did he update his resume according to the company? Was it concise and presentable?
    3. Did the author check if the company even hires OPTs or is it H1B/Green Card.
    4. Did he connect with employees with tools such as LinkedIn?
    5. If he was just applying to jobs throughout this time, was he able to even focus on studies?
    6. Is the author’s communication skills better than average?
    7. Did he get his resume verified by career services team? Did he network at the career fairs?

    When it comes to job searches, the perspective that either you have what it takes or not overly simplifies the scenario and puts tremendous pressure on potential future applicants. I think mass applications (I will apply 3 jobs everyday.) is a highly demotivating and non-efficient way of job search. Before we even begin applying, we should ask ourselves some of the questions which I mentioned above. It’s not about increasing the sample space of companies which you apply to, it’s about having the right mix in your applications.

    I have seen this perspective with some of my fellow batchmates. This approach is harmful in many ways (as mentioned below.)

    1. It creates an atmosphere of utmost fear and uncertainty. The more you get rejected, the more demotivated you are.
    2. You are not able to concentrate and focus on your studies, the thing which actually matters! I saw my friends not contributing to anything in the class, just because their motivations were very different. This is counterproductive to everyone.
    3. It affects your GPA.
    4. You are not able to enjoy the awesome American education system.
    5. You live in constant denial.

    The flooding-the-market with resume is an approach which works, but seldom you get decent jobs. Also, I think the author did not research really well before he joined the course. Saving $2 in NJ’s cold? This state is the most expensive state I have lived in the US. Area around Hoboken is extremely expensive. If cost was such an issue, it would have been better to apply to other universities which were not expensive, thus avoiding author walking in adverse weather condition and harming his/her own health. It does not make you a survivor, it just makes you take unnecessary risk and play with your health! Seriously? That much for the American Dream? All the colleges put up their career numbers on the website. You can look at those numbers and pivot your application strategy along those lines. Also, a general knowledge here is that most of the jobs are located in the consulting/core technical fields.

    At the end of the discussion, I want to put in my experience. I applied to maybe ~50 jobs and attended only 2 career fairs (out of the potential 5). These 2 career fairs were the ones where my skill sets (non-technical) would match the most. Most of the students went for all 5, but they got jobs (if they did) from the main 2 non-technical career fairs. Their thought was that experiences in the IT sector would get them into core technical sector (LOL!), with them dropping their CVs at Google, Apple! I mean my university had the best Comp.Sc. course in US and you are competing with them. Until and unless you are a genius in algorithms etc, they wont hire you. I got an awesome internship with a fortune 50 company in the career fair. I think whatever I learnt in my course helped me get it. From one of those 50 companies which I applied, I got placed in a really good firm with great pay and learning growth, again based on the extensive learnings from my focus on education.

    To all who have read all the way till here, please don’t get into this vicious job hunt approach. It’s highly demoralizing and demotivating. My honest suggestion is to set the expectation right even before you visit here. Do your research. Speak to your seniors. Avoid groups which create a negative scenario in your head. Focus on the education. I am sure things will fall into place. There are jobs in the US. Worst comes to worst, you can join one of those consulting firms. Only 1 out of 18 South Asians in my batch returned back to India, to give a perspective.

    1. anonymous – you are giving your story he is giving his, you are confused buddy, I also did my MBA from US and have seen all. If you are from top university (sounds like Carnegie mellon) and if you have niche experience things may work out different for you. Even in same program , based on work experiences some people get jobs easily some struggle a lot. There are many variables and it will become a book if I talk about all.

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