Sankey diagrams of the job search process

Andy Haselsteiner | April 13, 2023
April 13, 2023

The job search process can be visualized well with a Sankey flow diagram.

That's because job hunting can be thought of as a flow that contains distinct steps: Writing and sending job applications, being invited to initial interviews, sometimes fulfilling a task, being invited to follow-up interviews, receiving offers, and finally accepting one. Job hunters usually send out a flow of tens or even hundreds of applications. With each step, the flow splits: A part of the initial flow moves towards the next stage and another part of the flow dries up as the company rejects the job hunter or the job hunter rejects the company.

Here is a Sankey diagram of a guy who was job hunting for five weeks for a marketing analyst role. He posted a Sankey with the numbers on Reddit. I used his numbers and created a template for SankeyArt based on it.

Sankey diagram of the job search process of a marketing analyst

The numbers for the different stages in his job-hunting process appear pretty normal to me.

Sometimes, however, it takes much much more applications to finally get a good offer.

This chemical engineering graduate wrote 255 applications until he got a single offer. Redditors believe that there's a special place in hell for the company that ghosted the poor graduate after the 4th interview.

Sankey diagram of the job search of a chemical engineering graduate

Job-hunting software engineers

Sometimes three applications are all it takes. A computer science graduate with plenty of internships created a Sankey of his super-brief job hunt.

Sankey diagram of the brief job search of a software developer

This is not the typical path for software developers though.

An embedded software developer with 3 years of experience shared his job-hunting Sankey on Reddit too.

He wrote 259 applications and got three offers.

Sankey diagram of a the job-hunt of a software developer who wrote 259 applications

Job hunting is a stressful time. When it's over, many people like to reflect upon the process. And people are very interested in how the job search process went for other job seekers. Sankey diagrams like these are often the top-upvoted threads in subreddits like r/dataisbeautiful and even make it on the general Reddit front page sometimes.

With the right software, they are very easy to create.

Creating job search Sankeys

We have a free template for creating job-hunting Sankeys.

All you need to do is change the numbers of the predefined flows.

It should very straightforward. If you run into any problems nevertheless: write us an email or tweet me. I will help you.

Andy Haselsteiner
Article by

Andy Haselsteiner

Andy co-founded SankeyArt, enjoys writing software, and loves great visualizations.

He is an engineer, holding a PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Bremen.

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