How to play the numbers game

‘I’ve sent out a hundred CVs and heard nothing back.’

‘I’ve applied for lots of jobs this week so I think I have a good chance’

If you have said either of the above then you are doing it wrong. You see, it isn’t a numbers game. Unless you believe that the person doing the shortlisting is doing so at random, then it cannot possibly be a numbers game.

The one thing you should remember about recruiters is that they do actually want to recruit someone. OK, they might vary hugely in their competence at this task, but in all cases, recruiting a candidate is their ultimate objective.

So, how do you get yourself selected? You find out what they want and you give it to them. And if you don’t have it, you then have two choices: Spend your time more productively searching elsewhere, or find a way of developing the skills that they are looking for. This may be through demonstrating transferable skills that you have not previously been communicating in the right way, or it may be through taking some other role first and then playing the long game.

The one thing you should not do is keep putting yourself forward for the same disappointing but inevitable result.

Once you have made the decision to apply for a limited number of roles to which you are well suited, the rest of the process is as follows:

  • Select suitable content
  • Present it well
  • Get feedback wherever possible and act on it
  • Avoid gimmicks
  • Ignore the inevitable, well intended advice you get from all over the place that isn’t right for you.

I know lots of people who have applied to one job and got an interview, or a few jobs and got a few interviews. It’s not a numbers game.

Do it once and do it well.

Graeme Jordan

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CV Writer and Interview Coach. Blogging about ways to improve your CV writing and job searching experience.

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