Lindsay Olson

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The Dangers of Overapplying

365: day 70

In hard economic times, job seekers often apply for more than one role at the same company. While at first glance, this may seem to increase your odds, it may actually hurt them. Read on.

What Recruiters Think

The danger of applying for many jobs with the same company is that recruiters may feel like you haven’t really reviewed the job requirements, and this can give you a bad mark.  If there are sincerely several positions that you’re interested in and qualified for, that’s one thing, but recruiters may feel like you’re desperate for a job and that you don’t really care about the role(s) you’re applying for.

I like what Marsha Freedman says about overapplying: “make sure that every application you submit conveys authenticity in terms of your ability and desire to do the job.”

When to Overapply

Sometimes, applying for multiple roles is acceptable.  If a company has several communications  positions available, it’s acceptable to apply for them. A larger company may have openings for a roles in different areas of communications and if you possess qualifications in employee communications and media relations, it would make sense to apply for multiple roles since they are addressing different areas of the communications department. But don’t apply for marketing, finance and admin roles. It looks bad on your part.

Same goes for PR agency jobs. Because a PR agency hires mostly PR people, you’ll probably find several openings that match your interests. Don’t apply to each one individually. Be selective and pick those that are most relevant to your expertise.

If the company has several openings, rather than applying to ten in one sitting, explain your interest in your cover letter. Mention that you are interested in several positions and list them out. Explain why you are applying for more than one role (get that big elephant out of the room).

Ensure that your skills truly are a solid fit for the roles. Don’t apply for multiple jobs just to “increase your chances.” You really won’t. And like Marsha said, only apply for jobs you’d love having.

But You Really, Really Want the Job!

If you truly think a role is ideal for you but you don’t hear back, follow up with an email to see if the recruiter or hiring manager has chosen a candidate. If you were told you weren’t chosen after an interview, you can always ask why. You might not be exactly what they were looking for internally, through no fault of your own and you might get some additional helpful feedback.

Even if you weren’t selected, always thanks the recruiting or hiring manager for the consideration and ask to be kept in mind for similar roles in the future. Make sure they know you are serious about wanting to work for their company, not just any company.


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