I’ve recruited for over 200 positions in a wide range of industries and companies. With those 200 positions, I’ve reviewed close to 10,000 applications -- that’s just about 10,000 resumes. And those 10,000 resumes generally fall into three major buckets:

  1. Impressive
  2. Mediocre
  3. Misguided

You probably know what goes into creating an impressive resume, and you might also have figured out how to avoid submitting a mediocre one. But what makes a resume misguiding?

A misguided resume is a resume in which the company doesn't know what position you're actually applying for. (Because you sent in the same resume to 3, 4, 5 different jobs.)

Myth: Applying for multiple jobs at the same company will give you a better chance at landing one of those roles.

Submitting a misguided application to multiple job roles is why that company you so badly want to work for hasn’t called you back yet. So, what can you do to avoid missing out on your dream job?  The easiest way is to resist the temptation of applying to all those jobs you think you're somewhat qualified for at the same company. And I'm here to tell you why.

Multiple applications raise suspicions about your motivations for applying.

When you apply to multiple jobs, it indicates that you might be willing to take any job just for the chance to work at a certain company. It makes recruiters think that you're more eager to just be part of the culture of the company then actually being a remarkable candidate for the job role. And while culture fit is absolutley an important factor in where to work, it shouldn't be the only reason for applying to a specific job position. Time and time again I’ve seen companies shy away from hiring candidates who are mostly excited about the working environment. And they're right to do so. Why?

Companies seek to hire new employees when there’s a specific business challenge. If you’re hired to solve a challenge but you’re not interested in doing the day to day work necessary to overcome that challenge, here’s what will happen:

  1. You won’t be successful in your job
  2. The business won’t achieve its goals
  3. You and the company will be worse off

Try This Instead

Focus on finding a position that aligns with your experience.  If you can’t find an open job that’s a good fit, find an opportunity to network with an employee at your target company. Dedicate your time to building relationships with employees and you’ll create internal advocates who will go to bat for you when the right job opportunity arises.

Applying to multiple jobs can make your candidacy appear haphazard.

When you apply to multiple jobs, teams question if you’re taking an intentional approach to your career. Teams get excited about candidates with one application because it’s an indication that you likely have defined career goals that inform your decision making process.

Teams gravitate towards applicants with career goals because they’re likely to:

  • Work through obstacles to achieve success
  • Remain motivated over a sustained period of time
  • Seek out learning and growth opportunities

Try This Instead

Take the time to determine your career goals. Do your due diligence and research the company, its teams, and how roles contribute to the business. Identify and apply to the position that best helps you to work towards your short and/or long term career goals.

The truth is that everyone is capable of landing their dream job, even at their dream company. They key is focusing your time on the right efforts. Instead of falling into the trap of submitting multiple applications, focus on: holding out for the right job opportunity, networking and building valuable relationships, defining your long and short term career goals, and identifying a position that’s a mutual fit for you and the company you’re applying to. I can’t wait to hear all about your dream job!


Originally published Mar 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM, updated January 19 2023