According to Glassdoor, every corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 resumes. Only 4-6 of these candidates will be interviewed, and of course, only one will receive a job offer. In terms of percentages, this means that only about 2 percent of candidates for a job will ever get called to interview.
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What This Means for You
These stats should remind you to keep things in perspective. We all have easy access to online job postings, but because so many of us are sending our resumes to the same positions, it's not uncommon to hear nothing back from an employer after sending in an application. This doesn't mean you aren't qualified for the role. You can be a perfect fit and still get passed over due to the sheer volume of candidates the opening received.
Think about how you would react if you were on the receiving end of those 250 resumes! Often, there are only one or two people tasked with sifting through all the candidates. Applying for a job may be as simple as clicking a mouse button, but there are real humans on the other end going through all the applications.
How You Can Use These Numbers to Your Advantage
Stop applying for every single position you qualify for. It's not a tactic that anyone in the hiring industry would recommend. Contrary to popular belief, applying to more jobs is not necessarily better. The quality of each application you submit is much more important than the quantity. It's much better to apply to a few jobs that you really want. Focus on customizing your resume and cover letter for each position rather than on casting a wide net by sending the same documents to every employer.
Your resume and cover letter are your opportunities to rope people in and explain exactly why you're the perfect candidate for the position. If you're not giving concrete details about why you want this specific role and why you'll do well in the job, you won't be one of the 4-6 people who get an interview, much less the one who gets the offer.
Recruiters and hiring managers can tell when you're using the same generic resume and cover letter to apply to a variety of jobs. When you use terms like "your company" instead of the company's name or fail to reference specific details of the company and/or job description, it becomes clear that you're applying to every job you can possibly find.
What's wrong with that? It makes recruiters and hiring managers feel that you're too lazy to customize your documents and that you don't really care about their company. Make sure you show the hiring manager and/or recruiter who you really are. Pour your soul into each application. It may be a pain at the time, but your effort will show through and benefit you.
How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor
If you'd rather not jostle with 249 other candidates for the same role, reach out to your connections. According to Glassdoor, "employee referrals boost the odds of a successful job match by a statistically significant 2.6-6.6 percent."
Reach out to recruiters, friends, and industry professionals to put the word out there that you're looking for a position. People won't know you're in the market for a new role unless you tell them, and if they don't know, they can't help you. It's a very small world, and you never know who might have an industry connection or information on an upcoming availability.
Knowledge is power, and being aware of how the job market works will help you be more strategic about where you apply and what you send when applying. Use all of your resources to their full potential, and your job search will pay off.
A version of this article originally appeared on Write Styles.
Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer and the founder of Write Styles.