Playing the Numbers Game

By Graeme Jordan (CV Writer / Interview Coach / professional Marketer)

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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 ever said either of the above, then I have some bad news for you … You are doing something wrong. You see, job hunting isn’t a numbers game. Unless you believe that the person doing the shortlisting is selecting candidates at random, then it cannot possibly be a game of chance.

The one thing that you should remember about recruiters is that they do want to recruit someone. Recruiters may vary hugely in their competence at this task, but at the very crux of it, their job is to hire a candidate. That is their ultimate objective and is the only way in which they will get paid.

So, how do you make their day and get yourself selected? Easy - as with most things, you find out what they want, and then you give it to them. If you don’t have it then you can’t give it to them, and you, therefore, have two choices: Spend your time much more productively and search elsewhere, or develop the skills that they are looking for. That may be through training or through demonstrating and communicating transferable skills differently, or it may be through taking a different but similar role first and then playing the long game.

The one thing you should not do is keep putting yourself forward for the same inevitable and disappointing result. As Einstein apparently said, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

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

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

I know lots of people who have applied for one job and have got an interview, or a handful of positions and got interviews for those too. Job searching and application is not a numbers game.

Do it all once and do it all well.

Read more about why I advise the marketing approach

Graeme Jordan is a CV Writer and Interview Coach who helps candidates at all levels in a range of industries to get interviews and get selected. See more at



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