Photo by Erik Mclean

The Strategy That Helped Me Improve My Interview Shortlist Rate By 67%

“Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” – Unknown

I recently reflected on my job search journey.

My Return on Application (RoA) has been excellent, and I have been active in different roles over the last few years.

I pondered what I have done differently to ensure I get shortlisted for jobs almost all the time, especially in the last few years.

I realised that a successful job search process involves intentional and directed actions.

There’s a lot you can do and should do as job seekers to make this process guarantee you the results you want.

Here’s my personal three-box system for a successful job application.


Step 1: Ready

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking” – Henry Ford

A successful job search does not happen by chance.

You must be ready to put some time aside to plan your job search.

Before applying for any job, I usually spend a day or two thinking about what I want and whether the role is right for me.

Within this period, I’d also contact the hiring manager and ask them any questions not answered in the job posting. It’s a strategic step. Hiring managers love this step, and it’s very beneficial to me.

Who do I do this?

Gaining clarity is helpful for my planning purposes.

I gather lots of information.

I love a holistic view of the role both from the inside and outside. I want to be sure it’s the right one and won’t waste my time.

It helps me, and it helps the hiring manager.

It’s a win-win.


Step 2: Aim

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster

A successful job search process requires a strategy. Your goal is to put in your best foot during the application stage to land the job interview. That’s your only job at this stage.

Nothing else matters.

A successful job application process requires a strategy; it requires you to assess the job posting critically and then aim your application at the job posting to ensure it is targeted.

Note the keyword: “targeted”.

I do this 100% of the time. I don’t just spin my resume to a job application like a lazy person. I carefully read the ad and tailor my resume and cover letter to the job posting.

It takes time. I know that for sure, but it’s a pain I have to go through, and it’s what hiring managers love.

This is where I spend most of my time. Roughly 80%.

Once I complete this step, I move on to the final step.


Step 3 – Fire

“Quality is not act.  It is a habit.” – Aristotle

Obviously, as a job seeker, you must do your part by applying for the jobs you want to land. No inputs mean no outputs.

Doing your part is simply to fire your application to the hiring manager’s desk.

Getting your application to this stage will take some time, but it’s worth it.

Sadly, many job seekers throw resumes here and there. They have no plan, no strategy and aren’t ready to commit any time to it. They might apply for 100 jobs daily; all they do is fire, fire, and fire.

Applying to jobs this way may not bring the best results as they have not put in the effort they need to be shortlisted.


There Are No Shortcuts To Job Application Success

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” – Steve Jobs

Remember, job hunting itself is a job.

There’s no other magic to it.

You must be ready to dedicate your time to it daily.

Many job seekers only put in minimal time and expect the best results. Depending on your situation, you might want to put in several hours each day strategically. Make no excuses. You must put in the work to get the results you want.


Final Summary

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

A successful job application process requires planning, strategy and doing your part.

You need to plan your application, aim your efforts towards drafting the best application and then fire your application.

Only by doing this do you stand a chance.

You may not get a 100% response rate, but you put in your best.

Thank you for reading Career Digest from Banji Alo. This post is public so feel free to share it with someone you care about


Whenever you are ready, here are three ways I can help you advance your career:

  • Book me for a 45-mins one-on-one chat to discuss your career. Talk to me directly and have your questions answered.
  • Explore my career services in data analytics. Resume Upgrade, Cover Letter Review, Personal Branding and LinkedIn Profile Optimisation, Interviewing Hacks and Job Search Strategy.
  • Shop my career development and data analytics products.

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Here is the video I uploaded on YouTube this week using Videoscribe.

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