I logged in this morning to find that one candidate had applied to every single one of the job openings we had posted on our website.
12 job applications.
I guess in some respects I can understand the temptation to apply for multiple jobs at the same company; after all, wouldn’t it increase your chances for an interview?
Maybe. It would depend on a lot of variables but the reality is that in many cases applying for multiple job openings with the same company may not be the best strategy. Want to know when to abstain and when to go for it?
Your Job Application is Telling a Story
Every resume tells a story…whether you intend for it to or not. When my team reviews a job application, we are looking for an alignment between your job application and the story your resume is telling. A strong resume will show that you are in control of your career. It will map out your career and educational history in a way that explains not only what you have done, but where your goals are leading you.
It is good to be picky
In other words, the strongest resume shows career progression. It shows you are picky about which companies you will work for, as well as for which research and projects you want to engage. Additionally, a resume showing career progression will clearly exhibit that you have a plan and are strategically looking for roles which will develop your skills in an effort to achieve your career goals.
The recruiter and hiring team will be able to look at your resume and quickly see if you are in control of your career. Why does that matter? Folks who have career goals are more likely to make decisions to apply for a job that will further those goals; therefore they are more likely to be solid hires.
Consider Everyone’s Motivation (Not Just Yours)
Several years ago I opened a job listing for an Operations Manager within our firm. I received hundreds of applicants and a question I asked every single applicant was why they applied for this particular position.
Over 90% of the candidates told me they applied because they needed a job.
EEK. What a way to make me feel special! Only 10% of the candidates went into detail as to why they applied to my job…and those were the applicants I interviewed.
I get it. You likely have a mortgage payment to make or kiddos who need to go to college. I am reasonable enough to realize that unless you were born rich, you have to have some type of job in order to make ends meet. But as a hiring manager, I was looking for more from my job applicants when it came to answering the ‘why’ question.
Every hiring manager wants to know ‘why’
Most often we see that candidates are solely focused on what they want or need, never considering what the company or hiring managers want or need. This is a mistake.
Recruiters and hiring managers worth their weight in salt will want to understand what motivated you to submit that particular job application. In a nutshell, we want to know if you, as a job seeker, are looking for a career move or just need a J-O-B (translate that to any Journey-Over-Broke).
Why does it matter?
When I was first out of college I worked at a restaurant as a server. To make ends meet, I also picked up hostessing and bartending shifts, and once or twice I even washed dishes. I do not want anyone to think I am insensitive to the fact that we all sometimes have to make tough decisions when it comes to supporting our family.
But let me ask you this: As soon as I was offered a management job, what do you think I did? I quit that server job. I never washed dishes at a restaurant again. That J-O-B was a thing of the past.
Are you looking for a J-O-B? Or are you looking for something that will not only pay the bills but will knock your socks off because you love it? I will be the first to state that as a recruiter and hiring manager, I want to hire someone for a position they are super excited about because it aligns with their passion and career goals. I believe most recruiters and hiring managers would agree.
But Your Dream Company Finally Has Job Openings…
…and you really (really) want to work with them. However, the job doesn’t fit your skills or your career goals.
Should you apply anyway? Maybe…but be smart about your approach. A typical recruiter or hiring manager will view every candidate in terms of ‘fits’, ‘underqualified’, or ‘overqualified’. When you want to get noticed by that dream company but know you aren’t a fit for their open positions, certainly reach out to them, but consider doing it via networking avenues rather than applying for a position that doesn’t fit.
If networking doesn’t yield your desired result, apply for the position with a well written cover letter explaining that you know you don’t fit, but also explaining why you so very much want to work with them.
You will impress the decision makers and even if the company can’t consider you at this time, you will certainly be considered in the future.
Your “Multiple” Job Application Strategy
If you are going to apply for multiple job openings at a single company, be strategic about it.
Contrary to popular belief, applying for multiple job openings at a single company will not boost your odds of winning an interview. At a maximum, only submit a job application to two positions and be sure to not use the same cover letter for both. In fact, I recommend you tailor both your resume and cover letter to match each job opening. This action will show you strategically and tactically made the decision to apply for multiple job openings, which definitely shows you are mindful and in control.
Alternatively, consider submitting a job application to the job opening that fits your skills and qualifications best, and then discuss the other positions when you are interviewing.
Be sure you qualify for all job openings
Remember the candidate I told you about who applied for 12 of our open positions? He was underqualified for all of them.
There was no cover letter explaining why he applied for so many positions and certainly no explanation as to why he was applying for positions he was seriously underqualified for. My impression is that he is either desperate or lacks judgment. Will he win an interview? Absolutely not. Will we consider him in the future? Not likely.
Perhaps our company was his dream company and he just needed to explain his actions. Unfortunately, since there was no explanation, we simply moved to the next candidate.
In Conclusion, Don’t Let Us Use Our Imagination
It is never a good idea to put the hiring team in the position of using their imagination when it comes to trying to figure out why you did…well…what you did.
Applied for positions you were seriously under (or over) qualified for? Applied to multiple positions at the same company? Be sure to explain in a well crafted cover letter! Need some help drafting a cover letter or tailoring that resume? Need some CRA Career Coaching to help you break free from the J-O-B and move into an awesome career? Contact us – we can help.