HELP! How do I improve my application success rate?

Dear Aunty,

I have been applying for lots of jobs but I have never been called for interview. Please can you help me by advising me what employers look for in an application? 

Aunty says,

This is a common question and I am pleased that you have chosen to write to me. I hope that by helping you to understand the recruitment process I can answer your question and help you improve your application success rate.

What do employers look for in an application?

Employers spend time producing job advertisements in order to provide applicants with information regarding the skills, experience and qualifications required for the role. When looking at an application employers want to see the that:

  1. the applicant clearly demonstrates that they have skills, experience and qualifications stipulated in the job advertisement
  2. the applicant has made an effort to produce a well presented application

Employers often grade applications by giving candidates a score based on how they meet the criteria stipulated in the job advertisement – the candidates with the highest score are then invited to interview.

How do employers score applications?

Employers make a list of the skills, experience and qualifications required and allocate each application a mark depending on how they meet these requirements. The list may also include marks for spelling, grammar and presentation. The employer can then adds up the scores and invites the applicants with the highest score to interview.

How to increase your application success rate

If you are sending the same resume and application to every job advertisement you see then it is unlikely that you will meet the requirements for any of the jobs. You will have a much better chance of application successful if you send a fresh resume and application each time. This may result in spending more time on your application but it will greatly increase your chances of success.

I hope that this information will of use to you in the future when applying for jobs. You may also want to check out these great articles from

I wish you all the best,


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