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It’s time to score a job you really love

Career Tips By Tania Ngima
Photo: Courtesy

There’s one complaint I hear regularly from job applicants. That the process of applying for jobs feels like an endlessly futile struggle sometimes, like resumes and cover letters all end up in a black hole.

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I once read a story about a lady who applied for 103 positions and received no answer. I can only imagine how crushing it must be when you are waiting to hear from recruiters with no luck.

And while there’s no perfect formula to make sure that you get your foot in the door and get that first interview, there are things you can do to increase your chances. Say you have done the usual things such as optimising the key words and using the language that the advert has, tailoring your resume and cover letters etc. What else can you do to create an even bigger impact on the recruiter?

The Pain Letter

Have you heard of the pain letter? While it is controversial, people have reported having success with this. It entails identifying the pain that the organisation is hiring to resolve and addressing the letter by agitating both the downsides of not bringing you on board and the benefits of having that specific problem resolved.

Now, job adverts always describe the role they are intending to fill but they do not always disclose the firm’s biggest problem. So how do you find this out?


Review the job description deeply and if you know people in the organisation, speak to them about the main pain points the position in question deals with. If not, find people who hold similar positions in other organisations and chat with them about what the most impactful parts of their roles are.

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Professional networking sites like LinkedIn are great for finding people who can give you information that is not otherwise accessible. Remember that people like to talk about the work they do and the difference they make in their firms.


Once you identify what the firm is trying to alleviate, ensure you explain how both your past experience and what you will do to resolve the exact problems make you the perfect candidate for the position. Be as specific as possible.


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