Job Search Myth: Apply Everywhere!

October 3rd, 2013 | Resume | No Comments »


Job search advice is rarely hard to come by. Whether or not it is any good is an altogether different matter. As an active job seeker, you’ve no doubt heard enough career truisms and handy tips from well-meaning family members and friend to fill the Marianas Trench. Their sole intent is to help you but sometimes these tips are doing more harm than good by further propagating persistent (and blatantly wrong) job search myths.

Myth: Apply Everywhere

There’s no doubt you’ve heard this job myth at one point or another throughout your professional career. It’s a statement that people like to repeat until they are blue in the face: Apply to any and every job on your radar.

It can be known as the shotgun approach since you’re pumping out applications in scattershot directions with the hopes that one will hit its target. You’ll also hear people reference the law of averages. Either way you name it, the rationale to blast off applications is flawed. You do want to send out applications frequently to increase your chances but you don’t want to follow the job search myth and sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity.

Better Approach: Apply Strategically

The shotgun approach can consume hours of your precious time without a whole lot of results. If you’re not sending out cookie-cutter applications by the plate full, each resume and cover letter should be painstakingly crafted and take up a reasonable chunk of time (if you are in cookie-cutter mode, your time is about as well spent as someone hunting elephants with a Nerf gun). If the job isn’t right for you, the effort you put into the application is essentially wasted.

Before you apply for a position, disqualify any of the long shots. Any positions that you are grossly underqualified for should be left for a more qualified candidate. So, if you fall short of the desired years of experience by more than two years or if you lack several key skills to the job, there are definitely better ways to spend your time than sending DOA applications.

Applying strategically is about being honest with yourself, not only about your skills but about your own professional needs. If the challenges and/or company culture aren’t stimulating, you are better off foregoing a wasted application for a position that, even if you land it, will force you to return to your job search faster than it takes a hundred generations of mayflies to live, reproduce, and die.

Not an Excuse to Slack Off

Ultimately, this shouldn’t be an excuse not apply to positions; it should be a way for you to free up your time for more productive job search activities. In the time you would have spent creating one of these scattershot applications in its entirety, you could have found a better position, filled out an effective application, networked with industry professionals, or even worked to expand your skills. A smart and multifaceted job search can help you overcome the effects of this job search myth in no time flat.

by James Walsh

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