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Tough odds

Some jobs are harder to get into than Harvard, while others are begging for applicants
Tough odds
Photo: freepik

If you’re applying for a job as an administrative assistant, you might be growing tired of the non-responses and the “thanks for applying, but …” emails. Don’t feel dejected. It may have less to do with the strength of your application and more to do with the numbers game: There were 113 applications for each administrative assistant job on ZipRecruiter over the past year, and 97 for each office assistant/receptionist job. 

Administrative assistant jobs have always been popular with entry-level job seekers because they are a great way to get a foot in the door. They also typically pay well and come with benefits. But if your search for one has been fruitless, it may be time to change tack — especially given the labor shortages and abundant opportunities in other occupations.

There are still some entry-level roles out there with little to no competition. And if you’re able and willing to invest in some additional education and training, the odds could certainly shift in your favor.

Employers are desperate to hire pilots, registered nurses and truck drivers, for example. Airlines are hanging around flight schools signing up new hires before they graduate and offering them perks ranging from bonuses to student loan assistance. Trucking companies are raising pay. Hospitals are offering hiring bonuses, housing and tuition assistance to attract nurses.

Physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists are also in very high demand. The training and certification requirements for these jobs can be onerous. But if applying for administrative assistant jobs is becoming your full-time job, perhaps it’s time to make an investment and start winning the numbers game.

Jobs harder to land than Harvard

Harvard’s acceptance rate this year was 4.6 percent, the lowest on record in the college’s long history. Although this denotes heavy competition, it pales in comparison to the climate for job seekers for many entry-level openings right now.

So far this year the average ratio of applicants to administrative assistant receptionist jobs posted to ZipRecruiter is 166 to 1. That’s an acceptance rate of 0.6 percent.

  • Administrative assistant receptionist: 166 applications per job
  • Pharmaceutical sales representative: 123 applications per job
  • Medical receptionist 118: applications per job
  • Administrative assistant 113: applications per job
  • General warehouse: 103 applications per job
  • Customer service call center rep.: 103 applications per job
  • IT support specialist: 99 applications per job
  • Front desk receptionist: 98 applications per job
  • Office assistant receptionist: 97 applications per job
  • Executive assistant: 95 applications per job
  • Warehouse associate: 95 applications per job
  • Office assistant: 93 applications per job
  • Graphic designer: 89 applications per job
  • Warehouse forklift operator: 87 applications per job
  • Personal assistant: 86 applications per job
  • Office administrator: 85 applications per job
  • IT support technician: 83 applications per job
  • Warehouse manager: 82 applications per job
  • Warehouse general laborer: 81 applications per job
  • Shipping receiving clerk: 81 applications per job

Where workers are in high demand

With two to three applications per job opening, the roles listed below had an average acceptance rate of 50 to 33 percent through August 2018. Many are in health care, which currently has the tightest job market of any industry, according to the latest ZipRecruiter data.

Aside from indicating that education and training provide for greater job opportunities, the data also show there is no one, monolithic “job market.” Yes, the unemployment rate is at historic lows, but for some workers competition is still fierce depending on the role they’re after.

  • Nursing facility physical therapist:applications per job
  • OTR company driver:applications per job
  • Media sales executive:applications per job
  • Travel nurse:applications per job
  • Intensive care nurse:applications per job
  • State Farm agent team member:applications per job
  • Critical care nurse:applications per job
  • Advertising sales executive:applications per job
  • Telemetry nurse:applications per job
  • Emergency room nurse:applications per job
  • Senior sales executive:applications per job
  • Labor and delivery registered nurse:applications per job
  • CDL flatbed truck driver:applications per job
  • B2B sales professional:applications per job
  • Lifeguard:applications per job
  • Sales account executive:applications per job
  • Regional owner/operator truck driver:applications per job
  • Surgical nurse:applications per job
  • Outpatient physical therapist:applications per job
  • Speech language pathologist:applications per job
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