Reality About a Job Seeker’s Competition

I speak to hundreds of job seekers that describe their frustration with the lack of response to applications and résumés submitted. To respond to this angst, I tell them of a seminar I attended years ago by Dick Gaither titled The 27 Most Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make. Ranked  # 1-Underestimating how competitive a job search is. 

I agree wholeheartedly with this and as a result love to learn new data to emphasize the level of competition one faces in any labor market. I found some great new information in a recent article on NPR. The author spoke with a representative from Taleo, a designer of applicant tracking software. She explained that for a given company they typically design software to handle applications based on 6 to 1 ratio to number of current employees. Meaning, a company with 5,000 employees will likely receive roughly 30,000 applications per year.

I present these numbers not as a means to discourage candidates but to alert them as to how strongly they need to market themselves. Use all your networking and research resources available to determine how you can best present yourself as the solution to the need that created the job opening in the first place. Employers will receive hundreds of résumés and applications, but the vast majority will be cookie cutter, one size fits all versions in no way targeted to a company or hiring manager’s particular needs. Demonstrating that you have taken the time to research a company’s need and offer solutions will separate you from the pack.


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