Editor’s Note: Face-off is a YouTern weekly series that takes a look at the same career question from two generational perspectives… and presents two different answers. Please let us know if this new take on career advice is helpful – and which perspective makes the most sense to you!
Does it look bad when a job seeker applies for more than one position at the same company? Does the applicant come across as desperate? Or does it show different levels of talent and interests?
Joe Cardillo (Millennial): There aren’t many scenarios where straight-up applying to multiple positions – with no knowledge of the company’s aims or without a conversation prior to the application – is going to work.
Is desperation an issue? Maybe. Is it smart? Probably not.
More likely than desperation though, applying for more than one position at a company implies a lack of focus.
Especially if the roles are radically different, the best way to avoid this perception is to carefully structure the conversation along the lines of “I’m really curious about the challenge you’re facing in X area. I noticed you posted a couple of roles and I’d be interested to hear more about any crossover and how you’re structuring those projects, workflow, etc.”
That could be in a cover letter, an intro email, or a 1:1 conversation (an informational interview is always great).
Joe Cardillo has worked in both venture backed companies and corporate environments. He has deep domain expertise in partnerships, content strategy, journalism, 2-sided marketplace models and lean startup methodology including rapid customer development, enterprise and decision-maker level relationships.
Amy Tobin (Gen X): This question very much depends upon the size of the company and the goals of the job seeker.
If it’s a small to mid-sized business and your real goal is to get hired because you love the business itself, launching several applications at once will make it easier to navigate to the decision makers.
In a larger organization it will be more difficult, unless you have someone on the inside, to create any real opportunity. And the fact is, the ATS that processes your resume at a larger organization is going to treat the multiple submissions as the duplicates, and keep only one.
If your goal is simply to “get in the door” – and get noticed any way you can for your diverse set of talents – go for it, but do it without “I need a job – I’ll take anything!” stamped on your forehead.
If the goal, though, is to position yourself as a subject matter expert with a certain marketable and in-demand skill, don’t be tempted – no matter how desperate or aimless you may feel.
Today’s reality is that jobs are rarely acquired by applying via a job board or online application. If you don’t already know someone within the organization, my suggestion is simple:
Stop applying – and spend time networking your way in.
Amy McCloskey Tobin is a content strategist and creator with a background in B2B sales and manufacturing. She specializes in generational insights, the future of work, the remote workforce and how tech has changed the business world. Find Amy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter!
We’d love to hear your opinion on this issue.
Have you ever applied for more than one position at the same company at the same time? More important, would you ever do it again?
Of course, we welcome you to submit your career-related questions to the mentors and advisors at Face-off. Email us or go to the Comments section below!