How many jobs should you be applying for at any one time? When you are applying for jobs, should you focus on just a few or send off as many applications as you can? We look at which approach works best in the creative and media sectors; and pose 5 questions you should ask yourself when applying for a vacant role.
Applying for Jobs – What’s Your Strategy?
We often get asked by candidates whether it’s advisable to apply for multiple jobs or concentrate on just a handful. Casting your net wide might seem like a sensible tactic, giving yourself plenty of opportunities to get shortlisted, but does this approach actually work?
Specialist Creative and Media Roles
Generally in our sectors professionals specialise in a particular area from an early stage of their career. Often your degree or technical qualifications will have defined what you “do”, as will your passion and interest in a certain field. This specialisation naturally limits the amount of opportunities open to you, making it harder to find multiple jobs to apply for. However there may be times during your career when more opportunities are available: as you start out and are more flexible, when your skills become easily transferable to different areas, when you are looking to make a career change or take on a senior position.
Starting Out and Junior Positions
If you’ve recently entered the employment market and are looking to get some experience behind you, you may be interested in numerous different openings. If you’re in this position then applying for multiple jobs is feasible, provided you have the minimum qualifications and experience required. But remember employers are looking for committed and passionate candidates who genuinely want to work for them in their sector: so you must give 100% to every application regardless of how many you are making.
Applying for Multiple Jobs at the Same Company or Recruiter
When I receive applications from the same candidate for several different roles at our agency, it makes me question what the candidate is actually qualified for. Generally these are perfectly reasonable approaches. The roles are similar, the candidate has the right experience and skills for each, and they’re sensibly looking at various options. Occasionally we receive what could be termed as “batch” applications where a candidate applies for every role that loosely fits the job title they are searching for. In this case it makes me question how the candidate can be qualified to do such a range of roles. Usually they have not paid enough attention to the job description and are using a shotgun approach to their job hunt.
Unfortunately for the candidate this approach can seriously backfire, it reduces their credibility and even if one of the roles is ideal for them, the recruiter may have already discounted them. The same applies if you’re directly applying for multiple jobs in the same company; in fact it can look rather desperate.
The Alternative Approach when Applying for Jobs
The alternative approach is to be much more specific. Create a list of your ideal jobs, ones you have a higher probability of getting, and focus on these. Read the job description carefully to ensure that you have the right experience and skills, and target your application accordingly. Do background research into the agency, and if possible the person you could be replacing, and use this information to tailor your application. Invest the time you could spend applying for 20 jobs in putting together tailored applications for 3.
Regardless of which tactic you decide to use, answer these 5 questions first:
1. Have you read the job application properly?
2. Do you have the relevant experience, qualifications, skills and attributes the employer is looking for?
3. Have you researched the company and used this information in your application?
4. Do you believe you have a high probability of getting the job?
5. Do you genuinely want the role you are applying for?
If you can answer “yes” truthfully to all of the above you’re probably doing a focussed job search and applying for a handful of jobs at a time. This is the approach we would recommend in most cases; doing justice to the roles you are applying for and not wasted potential employer’s time.
What works for you? We would be interested to hear your thoughts on how many jobs you should be applying for at any one time. Are you an employer who has experience of the shotgun tactic: did this get your attention, or turn you off?
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