Less is more: why applying for 20 roles is more likely to get you a job than applying for 100

Sep 13, 2018



Landing that first job can prove to be difficult for graduates. For those who do not have much experience in the workplace it can seem like the whole world is against them and after a couple of months of searching, some graduates go into panic mode. A common mistake that can arise from this is to ‘CV spray’, where people send out their CVs to as many roles and recruiters as they can, hoping that at least a few of them will offer them an interview. This may seem like a good idea because out of the 100 jobs you’ve applied for someone’s attention is bound to be grabbed, right? Maybe not.

This is may well have the opposite effect and you’ll be wasting time and energy on jobs that you actually don’t want in the first place, and it is unlikely that you will stand out to potential employers this way. Here are a few reasons why the phrase ‘quality over quantity’ is a key piece of advice when applying for jobs.

Save your energy

Job hunting can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. When you’re applying for close to 100 jobs, it is nearly impossible to tailor your CV to every single one. This will leave you with a generic CV that will contain the same information as many other graduates applying for that same role. Recruiters will see hundreds of applications for job postings, most of them highlighting very similar skills and reasons why they should be hired over the rest. They will want to see a CV that is carefully tailored to the needs of their company and the job role that has been posted.

Similarly, employers would much rather see a cover letter that you have spent a reasonable length of time on (an hour at least) and which highlights how much you want that specific job rather than how much you need a job. Use your time and energy to construct an application that stands out, lets them know how interested in this job you are, and how keen you are to get it. Make an impression, and a good one at that.

Hiring managers can tell the difference

Hiring managers will be able to tell the difference between a carefully constructed application and a generic one that has merely changed the name of the company. Research the company, look on their website and get a feel for them. Is it the sort of place you can see yourself working in? Is the job description giving you a feeling of excitement because it looks like the perfect job for you? When you are able to convey your excitement in your application, employers will be able to see it and are more likely to invite you in for an interview.

Using specifics in your application helps to convey your interest. Don’t just say you’re excited about working with the company, use their LinkedIn and social media profiles to find reasons why you are excited. Similarly, try to develop a clear narrative as to why this is a job that you want and will be happy with. As well as looking on the company’s website, sites such as Advance are great for providing information about a range of career paths, including skills and experience required and the general salary and work hours.

Less is more

Putting in this extra work during the application process does yield results but takes time.  hus, it is actually more effective to submit, say, 20 applications and put more effort into them than it is to send off the same application 100 times. Find 20 roles that you think would suit you, you would enjoy, and you have a realistic chance of getting and spend more time on those. Spend at least an hour on each and strive to convince those 20 hiring managers that you are right for that job. Make sure that the key skills for the role are at the front and centre of your CV to help convince the recruiters that you are the one they want to hire.

It is important to remember that less is more when it comes to applying for jobs. Don’t waste your energy sending off half-hearted applications that are likely to end up in the middle of a pile of similar-looking ones. Ensure you take the time to stand out and show potential employers your enthusiasm towards that job. Working hard on a few applications will go a lot further than spending ten minutes on a ton of them.

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