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How to Succeed in Applying for a Job December 30, 2011
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Peter Weddle About the Author
Peter Weddle

There are now over three million job openings posted on job boards and social media sites on the Web.  And, the conventional wisdom is that applying for those opportunities is simply a matter of clicking on the Submit button.  Unfortunately, however, there’s a bit more to it, at least you want to get interviewed and possibly hired.
I’m going to let you in on the two secrets to success in applying for a job online.  First, be smart about how you apply.  As easy and appealing as it may be, the shotgun approach doesn’t work.  Those who apply for every interesting job they see – whether or not they are qualified – NEVER get interviewed or hired for one of those positions.
If you want to maximize the odds of actually getting hired, use a much more discerning approach when applying.  Select only those openings where you are a perfect or near-perfect match with the job’s specifications.
In most cases, those specifications will be organized into “Responsibilities” and “Requirements.”  The first describes the tasks involved in performing a job while the second details the skills and knowledge a candidate must have in order to be considered qualified for that opening.
While matching the specifications is obviously important, however, it would be a mistake to use that criterion as the sole basis for your decision about whether or not to apply for a job.  Why is that?  Because success at work doesn’t depend only on your qualifications.  It is also influenced by something called “fit.”
Research shows that the number one reason a new hire doesn’t succeed in an organization isn’t because they can’t do the work.  It’s because they don’t fit in.  Their personality and values are out of synch with the culture and values of the organization.
What does that mean for you?  If you apply for a job in an organization where you don’t fit in, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and even failure.  Or, to put it another way, a key to success is to focus on jobs in organizations that are the right fit for you.
How to Determine the Right Fit for You
Fit has nothing to do with whether an employer is “good” or “bad.”  It is, instead, a measure of whether you and the employer are compatible with each other.
While there are any number of different aspects to person-employer fit, the three most important are:
·      Structure: An employer can have a very flat structure or a hierarchical one.
·      Process: An employer can accomplish its work in teams or by individual effort.
·      Mode of Supervision: An employer can provide lots of direction and oversight or rely on individual initiative and independence.
There are just two steps involved in using those three factors to evaluate your fit with a prospective employer:
First, know what works best for you.  In what kind of structure, with what kind of process and under what mode of supervision would you be most comfortable and, therefore, most likely to perform at your peak?
Second, know how an employer gets work done.  Determine the structure, process and mode of supervision in any organization you’re considering.  Job postings rarely provide such details, but you can often pin them down by examining the content at an employer’s corporate career site or by reaching out to its employees on their blogs, Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles.
Why bother?
Here’s the second secret to a successful application.  Recruiters are well aware of the importance of fit so they use that factor as well as match to decide who will be invited to interview.  Proving you’re a good fit, therefore, is just as important to your success as proving that you are qualified for an opening.
Once you’ve determined an employer’s structure, process and mode of supervision (and that you’re compatible with them), promote your fit in your cover letter or message and on your resume.  Describe your ability to perform at your peak in an organization with its structure, process and mode of supervision.
In today’s overcrowded job market, there are two secrets to success when applying for a job.  First, apply only where you match a job’s specification and are a good fit with the employer, and second, make sure the employer knows just how good a match and fit you are.
Thanks for reading,
Visit me at


Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, The Career Activist Republic, Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System and Recognizing Richard Rabbit.  Get them at and today.
© Copyright 2011 WEDDLE’s LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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Anonymous467108 (Collierville Tennessee) on 04 Jan 2012 at 11:01 am

This article was very helpful. I realized later than sooner that as a potential new hire, you must be a "good fit" in the eyes of the prospective employer and in my eyes as well. There is no need to take a job and end up on the front end, not liking it or the current employees/employer right off don't like you.

Thank you.

onofre morales (san Antonio tx.) on 28 Dec 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hey guys, I feel your pain! I too fine myself in this type of situation. I am a young looking sixty year old, x-military so I stay shape and I've never stop learning. An upto date radiologic Technologist with 20plus year of experience. Just complete an Magnetic resonance imaging course and I preparing for the board. I'm very confident in my ablities in my profession but How can I communicate this if I can't get an interview?

Peter Weddle (Stamford, CT) on 21 Dec 2011 at 8:56 am

Jane, thanks for your comment on my article.

When you're faced with a situation such as yours, the traditional job application process is likely to be less effective. As you say, if you haven't got a check mark in the Experience box, it's hard to get a second look. So, the best way to execute your job search is with networking. Look for as many venues as possible - both online and off - where you can connect with and build relationships with others in your field. It's those relationships that will enable you to find an opportunity where the organization will be willing to overlook or set aside the Experience requirement.

I hope that helps,

Steve Price (Memphis, TN) on 21 Dec 2011 at 8:49 am

Janet, I would say with just a few tweeks you've just come up with the opening statement of your resume. Start with "I recently graduated..." Put this at the beginning of your resume that you are sending out to different positions and see if you don't start getting some call-backs.

Janet Thompson (Portsmouth, VA) on 20 Dec 2011 at 4:01 pm

I can appreciate the information you provided but the one thing that gets me is the requirements for 1-2 years of work experience. I experience will not take place without the opportunity to prove yourself. I recently graduated from nursing school with 30 years of LPN experience. I worked 10 years in the hospital and 20 years in the family practice office. I feel I am well rounded and have the foundation set. I am very confident in providing pt. care, communicating with physicians, medical staff, patients, family members, as well as reading and transcribing doctor's orders. In addition to years of experience in the medical arean I am up to date on technology and only need a chance to demonstrate it but the lack of RN experience seems to be my dilemma. What advice do you have when a individual is in this type of predicament ?

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