How to improve your application success rate

Are you applying for lots of jobs without being contacted for an interview? This is a problem that affects many job seekers in Zambia – especially in today’s difficult international economic climate. We often hear of job seekers who have applied for literally 100’s of jobs without ever being called for an interview.

How is it that an individual can apply for 100’s of jobs and not even receive a call for an interview? The answer is often surprisingly simple:

  1. The applicant is applying for the wrong type of job.
  2. The applicant is applying for the right type of job but fails to present their application in the best way.
  3. The applicant fails to follow the correct application procedure.


1) Less volume, more quality

It can be tempting when you are looking for work to apply for every single job that you see. Afterall, the more jobs you apply for the greater your chance of getting an interview right? Wrong. Applying for every job you see can dilute the quality of your applications. Consider concentrating your efforts on applying for jobs that match your skills and experience. Applying for fewer jobs will give you time to improve the quality of your applications by researching the organisation recruiting and tailoring your application to meet the requirements of the role.

2) Change is key

No two employers are the same and no two job adverts are the same – you should therefore change your CV or application letter to meet the requirements of each role. Remember that in order to gain an interview your application needs to clearly demonstrate that you meet the majority of the skills and experience listed for each job advertised. Just because you are applying for two marketing jobs it doesn’t mean to say that the skills and experience required are exactly the same. Ensure that you read the job advertisement and make a list of the skills and experience required then demonstrate how you meet these requirements. Also, try to make sure that your application is as easy to understand as possible and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

3) Follow the application procedure set out in the job advert

If the job advert states that you must apply by a certain deadline ensure that your application is received by this deadline – 2 days after the deadline may not be good enough.  If the job advert states that you must submit your application by letter then you should submit your application by letter. Failure to follow simple procedural instructions can results in applications being declined outright.


How did you turn application failure into application success? Share your tips and experience with others below.

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