You are more likely to get hired by applying less. This question came to us via social media. Jamey asked the CareerBeacon team:
“Help! I’ve had my eye on this company for months, but they rarely hire. Right now, they have posted two openings. One is a job that I really want but is probably highly competitive. The other looks like it would be easier to get, but it is below my level. Can I apply for both at the same time?”
While Jamey didn’t give us details about the company or the industry, this doesn’t sound like a situation where you can hedge your bets. Here’s what we know:
The company doesn’t hire very often. This means that they likely do not have a massive human resources department with many recruiters sourcing candidates. Therefore, if you apply for both open positions, the odds are that the same person will be reviewing both of your applications.
This isn’t likely to increase your chances of getting hired for either job.
By applying for the lower position, you appear less serious about the more senior one. Employers want to hire leaders who are passionate about the role and confident in their ability to contribute to it. Such a candidate wouldn’t simultaneously be seeking a more junior job.
Applying for the senior position also hurts your chances of landing the lower role as well. Most recruiters will prefer candidates who are enthusiastic about a job and looking for an opportunity to grow their careers. They are less likely to hire someone who seems to be taking the role as a consolation prize, as a second choice, just because it is available.
Applying for every open job can make you appear desperate to land a gig. Of course, you want a job and you need a paycheque, there’s nothing wrong with that. But employers shy away from candidates who seem overly needy. They want enthusiasm and passion, but not desperation.
Plus, in this case, Jamey isn’t desperate for a gig. He or she is actually just very motivated to work for this particular company. That in itself can be a selling point. Employers value candidates who want to work for them particularly. But this asset in Jamey’s favour would be diminished by the multiple applications.
If there is a job you really want, at a company that you really want to work for, apply for it. Apply for it with all your might. Tailor your resume to highlight how you’d be great in that specific role. Explain in your cover letter and job interview why you are such a fan of the brand and how you are passionate about joining the team.
You can apply for multiple jobs at the same company, just not at the same time. (And this advice would be different if we were talking about a huge corporation such as a telecom or a bank rather than a smaller organization.) If you don’t get hired, and they are recruiting again later, then, by all means, apply. Persevere.
Just don’t hedge your bets. Go all in.