THIS is the harsh reality of the job search on the Sunshine Coast.
Matt Collins ran his own successful fitness centres in the region for 12 years, he was doing an MBA and has always been a passionate, hard-worker.
But when it came to finding a job on the Sunshine Coast, it was the most humbling, "soul-destroying" journey.
And it took 2000 job applications and rejections before he was finally able to get a foot in the door.
"I owned Fatburners personal training and we had a big centre in Nambour, one in Noosa and in Woombye before I decided to sell them," Mr Collins said.
"I then looked at buying a pizza business, but that didn't work so I got a job mentoring mature age students in online education.
"I was doing great things there but the role on the Sunshine Coast was made redundant and unless I moved to Victoria I would no longer have a job.
"I had family here on the Coast and didn't want to move so in May last year I started my job search."
With all his experience, Mr Collins thought it would be easy.
And this was his first big mistake.
"I thought I had come from a good salary and a good position and I'd walk into a decent job," he said.
"I was a bit arrogant, I would only take a management role that pays x amount.
"But on the Sunshine Coat to get that sort of role you have to pretty fortunate.
"I was going to interviews for management, team leader, but for whatever reason I was not getting across the line.
"I was applying for 20 jobs a day. I started off with Sunshine Coast searches only, then it became Sunshine Coast and Gympie, then Wide Bay and before long I was looking for any job in Queensland.
"My emotions went from arrogance to 'I just need to pay bills'."
What also didn't help was at one point he was promised a role in Brisbane and he backed off the job search.
The role never eventuated.
"I went on the person's word I got the role in Brisbane," he said.
"After four weeks, I got an email the contract was coming. Then a week later, I rang up again to find out where the contract was and they told me they had 'gone in a different direction'.
"My job search journey was on hold for weeks."
Throughout his search, he was aware of the "emotional roller-coaster of it all" and had to focus on not getting down.
"I could have had ever right to be angry with the business that let me down," he said.
"But that was not going to help me get a job."
After four months, he finally landed a job in a rental car business.
"I was very grateful they gave me a job when 2000 businesses decided not to," Mr Collins said.
"I'd go for an interview a couple of times a week and it would always be positive 'we'll get you back in, we'll do a trial'.
"But for whatever reason it would fizzle into nothing."
Mr Collins said the rental job got him "back on his feet and I am grateful for that".
But as he was at the back end of his MBA, he wanted to "transition into something that aligned with my studies".
He landed a job with a recruitment agency.
"I fell into a recruitment role which is ironic as 2000 times I was unsuccessful."
His experience has helped give him insight and empathy for other job seekers.
And his number one advice to job searchers coming in is "lose the arrogance".
He also warned "don't count your chickens till they hatch" and a job isn't a job until you get your first pay check.
"Work your butt off, don't rely on anyone else and you have to take responsibility for things that happen," he said.
He also suggested job searchers volunteer for something until they get work.
"It looks good on your resume and it is better than sitting on a chair at home. Motion creates momentum.
"You have to forget about the fact you need to get a job to pay bills and focus on how you can add value to the industry."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.