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How Many Jobs Should you Apply for at Once?
When you’re sat at home desperately trying to land a job, it can be tempting to apply for as many as you can, as fast as you can. You’ll probably find yourself scratching your head at some point wondering exactly how many jobs you should apply for – the answer is that there is no answer. You should apply for as many relevant jobs as possible, without rushing the application forms.
The law of probabilities states that the more jobs you apply for, the more chance there is of you landing employment. But don’t go by that logic alone – because applying for too many jobs can also be a dead end.
Quality over quantity
People always seem to bang on about “quality over quantity”, but when it comes to applying for jobs, it is very important. The fact is that the internet has changed the way that we live our lives in many ways – one of them being the way in which we apply for jobs.
Years ago most jobs were advertised at the local Job Centre, or in a newspaper. Applications were long, handwritten documents that took ages to complete. Fast forward to the present day and most jobs are advertised online – jobs sites have hundreds of positions available at any one time. Some people think that by applying to every single job available, they will land some kind of position. This really isn’t how it works.
Instead of applying for 10, 20 or 50 jobs per day – why not apply for just two or three, ensuring the applications that you submit are of the best possible quality.
Only apply for jobs you’re actually qualified for
One big problem with internet job sites is that it makes things a little too easy for people. As a result people apply for jobs that they know they’re really not qualified for, on the off chance that they might be accepted for the position. In times gone by when job application forms had to be posted off, people wouldn’t go to the effort of applying for jobs they knew they weren’t qualified for. Now everything is so much easier thanks to the internet, people routinely apply for roles they know they’ll never get.
Always check the criteria of the job you’re applying for very carefully. If you fall short on just one of the criteria, don’t apply for the job. Not only are you wasting your time, but you’re also wasting the time of the person that has to sift through applications.
Five top tips to bear in mind when applying for jobs
1. Before you apply for any jobs, you need to think about the long term and devise a goal. Are you looking for a stopgap job to tide you over for a few months or years? Or are you looking to start your career within the industry that you graduated in? Jobs aren’t all the same – so make sure you decide clearly what you want to do. There’s little point starting a stopgap job upon graduation if you have the opportunity to land a job in your chosen industry – likewise there’s no point starting a job that will lead to a career whilst you’re still studying. There’s no way you can start a career and complete your studies in tandem.
2. Find a job website or publication that’s directly relevant to your industry – that way you’ll find jobs that are relevant to what you want to do. If you’re looking for a stopgap job that’s within walking distance of your house, you can look in the adverts section of your local newspaper. If however you’re looking for a job in a niche field such as biochemistry, you might want to sign up to industry magazines and journals in order to check out the job sections in the back of them. Half the struggle when finding a job is actually looking in the right place for positions that are available.
3. Apply for a handful of jobs that match your qualifications and aspirations. Once you’ve spent time applying for those jobs, you can then draw up another shortlist of jobs that match your qualifications and aspirations and apply for those too. Working on shortlists of five jobs at a time helps to break up the application process; it also ensures that you apply for the jobs you’re most likely to land first.
4. Take time to focus your CV and covering letter to each and every job that you apply for. It’s obvious to employers when you’ve just sent a generic CV/covering letter to them – make sure you take at least an hour to really tailor your application for the exact job and company you’re applying to. This personal approach is proven to bring results.
5. Be patient – although it can be a nervous wait after submitting an application, companies tend to take a good few weeks to review applications then call candidates in for interviews. If you don’t hear anything a month or so after applying then it’s a good idea to drop the employer a line to find out whether or not candidates have been selected yet. Don’t go pestering employers however – they tend to do things in their own time!
You should never try and fill a quota when it comes to applying for jobs. There’s no use waking up in the morning and challenging yourself to apply for 50 jobs. Instead, you should challenge yourself to put together several really compelling job applications. Instead of firing off lots of applications each day, complete just a few that you know are of the highest standard. Quality over quantity trumps the rest without a doubt.