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Job Applications: Competition is Hot

job hunting

A client came to me with an advert he downloaded from a jobs website, and asked me the best way to formulate the cover letter, if his C.V. needed ‘tweaking’ and if so where?

The first thing I noticed which surprised me somewhat was that the page said that to date, there had been 240 applications made for this job and it had only been posted five days previously. If 240 applications were made through that web page I would suspect that as many again made application directly to the company. That would make almost 500 after just five days.

What puzzled me more was that my client was qualified in a very specialist area that you would not encounter very often, but for him this position was made to measure. To save my life I would never have imagined there would be so many applicants for this role.  For some of the more popular roles advertised yes, there is always large numbers, but for this type of role, I was very surprised.

All this reflects the fact that as the country is now showing positive signs of recovery after some very tough times, there is a spike in the number of job seeker applications in all areas.

Applicants are coming from;

1 – The large number of people who struggled through the recession with wage cuts, tax increases and where annual increases were put on hold.  These people are now trying to catch up on their lost earning capacity.

2 -The normal grouping that will be coming up through the workforce as is the norm every year.

3 -Those returning to this country after a period of training abroad.

4 -Those non-nationals wishing to come to this country.

5 -The usual group who just spray out applications like a fire hose for everything in sight in the misbelief that applying often enough, something will stick.

You can number crunch all the above, any way you wish, but boil it down to it’s essence and it means one thing only; the competition is intense and for every single job that is advertised, there will be a huge number of applicants.  All this does is push the bar higher and higher for all.

Without stating the obvious, applicants need to be very hard on themselves in their self appraisals when considering an application.

Remember the 240+ applicants.  You can be sure there will be some very good well experienced people there. They are your competition.


In making an application for any job you must ensure that every step of the way in your application is well prepared, professionally delivered and confidentially explained.  In other words;

1 – Careful Self Appraisal.

2 – Meticulous preparation of your C.V. that grasps the senior level that you are at as well as your cover letters.  Well prepared, professional in its presentation with word perfect spelling and grammar.

3 – Fully prepared with a bright, cheerful and confident telephone conversation that usually precedes an interview.

4 – A well prepared presentation for the meetings/interviews that will follow.

Unless every step of the process is professionally prepared and razor sharp, the competition will walk all over you.  There is absolutely no room for complacency.

There are several things that need to be thought through in detail.

When considering your suitability for a position on offer, print off your C.V. and the job specification and very carefully review the details.  Job specifications usually start with an overview of the company and broad description of the job on offer.

There is usually a section giving the responsibilities that come with the job.

That follows with a section detailing the qualification, experience and skills required.

Carefully underline the key requirements being sought and then tick off those same attributes on your C.V. – if they are on your C.V.

Start with your qualifications and skills that are a match, tick them off and ensure the some of these are replicated on your C.V. provided that it is 100% truthful.  Avoid stuffing your C.V. with every attribute sought. My comments refer to tasks, skills or elements of your past experience that you may have overlooked when compiling your original C.V. or cover letter.

Always mindful of the hundreds of other applicants whose suitability will range from hopeless to extremely good, your application has to be better than the best. Re-write your C.V. with the job in mind. Read it carefully, shorten it, review it again and a good suggestion is to put it away overnight.

After being away from the page for a while, you will see lots of errors or statements that can be improved.

No matter what you say or how you say it, it has to be good.  If in doubt take advice; there are styles and layouts for C.V.’s, letters, e-mails and that catch attention. With guidance and some luck you will get your application marked for follow up and not put in the advertisers ’maybe or never ever’ pile of applications.

Further information about the author, Colm Cavey can be seen below and also at:

Good Luck

Top Tips are provided by PCC, who provides professionally delivered, supportive and most importantly, successful career change and redeployment assistance to private clients from all sectors of Industry.  Enquiries are welcome and treated in the strictest confidence.    Tel: +353-86-3017207 & +353-1-2018979.