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Job Applications: Why You Should Go for Quality Over Quantity!

Career Advice |

I’ve been on both ends of the hiring process. I’ve been the person looking for a job, applying for anything at all that looked interesting, and I’ve also been the person reading through every single resume that comes through the company website.

It may be logical for one to think “the more applications I submit, the better chance I have of getting a job,” but that is not the case.  I want to make the case for quality over quantity when it comes to submitting job applications.

Here are my top 3 reasons why you should resist the temptation to cast a wider net:

1. It can make you look bad. If you apply for a ton of different roles within the same company, you risk coming across as desperate and unfocused. If I am a recruiter, I can see that in your application history with my company.  If I’m considering you for a marketing assistant role (because you look like a great candidate for it) but I see that you’ve applied to 10 other jobs varying in focus and level, I’m naturally going to think that you’re not really that passionate about marketing. Being flexible and applying to a few related jobs is one thing, but being all over the map is not a great way to come across.

2. If you’re not qualified, it won’t increase your chances. You have to be qualified for the roles you are applying to — period. No amount of applications submitted are going to get you a job you don’t have the skills or experience for.

Definitely reach for roles that might be just slightly out of your range.  If the job is asking for four years of experience and you have three, go for it.  However, if that same job is asking for four years of experience and you graduated a month ago, it’s not going to be the right fit.  Read the job description and apply for the roles you are truly qualified for.

3. It’s not a good use of your time! Applying for jobs can take a lot of time and your time would be better spent doing many other things.  Take the time you would normally spend blindly applying to jobs and put it into things that will actually increase your chances of landing one.  Whether it is volunteering, interning, working part time, taking a course, or learning a new skill, all of these things will help you much more than casting a wide net.

In addition to not casting too wide a net, focus on quality versus quantity.  I am a huge proponent of making each application (for the jobs you are qualified for and passionate about) really count.  So for those, instead of letting the resume float around the resume black hole, spend your time spreading the word that you applied and how interested you are.  Leverage your personal relationships, alumni connections, and of course, LinkedIn, to get the conversation started with that company.

Have you ever tried the quantity over quality approach? What did you learn? Tell us in the comments section.


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Haintso Rakouth

what if there is other type of jobs though that you have experience in that are in the same department but different area? I've seen a few position that i have experience in all of them but didn't apply to all them, just one?

Madeline Stilley

This is ridiculously true! I have friends who applied to a ton of jobs and just heard nothing. I just went to a career networking event panel where the recruiters told us that they can see your application history and it really doesn't look good if you just applied all over. I try to keep this in mind when I am perusing for my next opportunity :)

Carly Heitlinger

YES!!!! I hear people saying that they sent out 60-70 resumes... How in the world can they be quality when you're shooting out the same resume that many times! I focused much more on tailoring my resumes and cover letters and applying to jobs that I was completely passionate about. And it obviously paid off!!

The Prepary

Jaime is the Founder of The Prepary, an online resource providing honest and accessible job search advice based on her past experience in the recruiting world. She also works with job seekers one-on-one to help them land their dream job or internship. Prior to starting The Prepary, Jaime worked as a Recruiter in both the Fashion & Finance industries and got her BA in Psychology from NYU.