Application Response - Putting Things in Perspective

Disheartened at the lack of positive responses from a large number of your job applications?

This is common, you are not alone.

You MUST now put this into some kind of perspective as, if measured correctly, it could indicate a problem.

With the advent of technology and the ease of applying for jobs, it is very common for ex-military jobseekers to be concerned with the lack of response from either the end employer or the recruitment agency. It is far too easy to become despondent and disillusioned with your job search when time and time again you are not receiving any response. But now is the time not to give in as this will not reap you the reward for which you are searching but now is the time to put things into action. How many times in your military career did you give up? Never, it is not in your nature to give up but now you are in unfamiliar ground; finding a job.

I would like to compare your job search with a military activity in order to emphasise an important point regarding this subject.

If like me as an ex-military person you have spent many a wet and dreary day on the ranges firing rounds of ammunition towards the lone figure 11 target. Your aim was to achieve the smallest grouping as possible. Sometimes the odd round might not ‘fall’ as expected and you may have ‘declared’ the shot and therefore not have it included in your grouping. Well this is like applying for jobs.

If you are a serious and competent job seeker you are spending your day and the odd evening methodically going through all your resources; searching, filtering and applying for jobs. For most ex-military job seekers if you were to be honest some jobs you apply for are of a ‘speculative’ nature and some you apply for are ‘serious’. The difference being that a speculative application is made against a vacancy you are not confident meets with your own experience, skills and qualifications. Whereas a serious application is made against a vacancy you are extremely confident that you are a very strong match.

For a great deal of ex-military jobseekers the ratio of speculative to serious applications falls heavily on the former.

This is the important point, when you measure your application rejections you need to factor in the ratio above. You must analyse your ‘serious’ rejections along with those that gain a zero response as this may indicate a problem. Putting some numbers on it you could have applied for 100 jobs and only received 7 positive responses. Well this only equates to a 7% success rate, a low figure that could lead you to becoming despondent. But let us look again, what if out of the 100 original applications 70 of them were ‘speculative’ and we declared these as ‘declared’. Factoring this in now indicates a 24% negative response, that is to say, 1 in 4 ‘serious’ applications are gaining a positive response. This sounds a lot better but we need to push this percentage up higher. So what are we doing wrong?

Well it could be a number of things, some of which are:

  • Your CV is not strong enough or reflecting the individual position to which you are applying.
  • Your covering letter, if using one, is not ‘hitting the mark’.
  • There are too many strong candidates applying for the same position and your application is lost within a large pile. Read my previous article on ‘maximising your application’.
  • You have not tried or been able to gain feedback from previous ‘serious’ applications and therefore do not understand why you are not being shortlisted/progressed.

If your group size is not tight when you are on the ranges your instructor will refresh you on the marksmanship principles. If your application success response is weak you need to analyse your job search processes and procedures.

In summary put things in perspective and create some strong job searching skills and tools. Positive activity will increase the potential for you to be successful.