It was Mark Twain who famously referred to “lies, damn lies, and statistics”. His point – that statistics can be manipulated – is valid. But statistics are also one of the best methods we have for organizing data and making predictions about the future. For everyone from policymakers to meteorologists, statistics are invaluable.

Job hunters should be amongst those groups who see statistics as their friend. The ins and outs of recruitment and hiring can be confusing, so when seeking answers to common questions, a bit of mathematical rigor should be welcomed.

So, if you’re wondering the exact numbers behind getting hired for your dream job, read on:

What are my odds of getting that job?

Less than 1%.

That’s probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but the fact is that jobs are competitive. Inc claims that 250 apply for every job, Forbes 118. Both put your odds of being the one who snags the position below single digits.

However, everything is not as gloomy as it first appears. Being a graduate, for example, opens you up to graduate jobs – which receive just 39 applications on average, more than trebling your chances.

Plus, employers reckon that up to 75% of applicants aren’t actually qualified for the job they’re applying to (and are subsequently quickly weeded out). The obvious lesson is that by focusing on applying only to those jobs that you well-suited for, your odds of snagging an interview will skyrocket.

Investing time and effort into individual applications pays off; so focus on quality over quantity. Frantically applying to every job board posting in sight is a tactic that works barely 1% of the time.

Now, where have we seen that statistic before?

How worried should I be about my social media?

Pretty worried! 79% of employers look up the online presence of job candidates, according to Microsoft, and 70% have rejected applicants based on what they found.

Wondering what these Facebook-stalking employers are looking for? You’re in luck, because the website Career Builder asked them. The results were that 60% want “information that supports [your] qualifications”, 53% want to check you act professionally online, and 30% want to see what other people say about you.

Top of the list of things that get you struck off the to-interview list were provocative images, evidence of drink and drug use, discriminatory comments, bad-mouthing of old workplaces, and poor communication skills. So, if you’re using text speak on Twitter, stop it!

However, don’t go deleting your social media profiles altogether, because 41% of employers also won’t interview you if they can’t find any information about you online. That might sound like a lose-lose situation, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s about the need to build a positive online presence. That doesn’t mean being boring; showing off your personality with an insight into a cool hobby or witty tweets will be just as impressive to an employer looking for someone fun and enthusiastic to join their team.

Indeed, one-third of employers have hired a candidate because of what they found on social media. For 43%, it was because it showcased a great personality, and for 40% it was because the candidate seemed well-rounded with lots of interests. In short, your weekend mountain biking trips could get you hired. Result.

Do I really need to network?

Only if you want to get hired. You may have heard that 80% of jobs are never advertised. That’s largely because 65-70% of hires are made through employee referrals or networking connections.

The power of networking simply cannot be underestimated. As an application method, it is almost 10% more successful than applying online. The less you network, in other words, the harder your job search will be.

And while you may be able to get away with not networking as a career starter, the higher you rise in the ranks the more important it becomes. Here’s the breakdown: for employees on less than $60k, under half found their job through a published ad. For $60k+ employees, only a third did.

You can’t hide behind your LinkedIn profile either – despite the digital revolution, face-to-face networking is still key. A whopping 95% of business people say face-to-face meetings “are essential for long-term business relationships”.

Time to pick up the phone and ask that big shot acquaintance for coffee.