How Many Jobs Should I Apply For? [Answered]
“How many jobs should I apply for?” is one of the most common questions heard from job-seekers. They want to do what it takes to find a position they love, but they aren’t sure if they’re doing enough!
This article will help you figure out how many job applications you should be submitting each day (or week) to help you find an effective pace that isn’t overwhelming.
How Many Jobs Should You Apply For?
It’s not uncommon to hear about job-seekers applying for hundreds of jobs throughout their search. Some career strategists even recommend submitting at least 15 applications a week to improve your odds of getting hired. But is that many truly necessary?
While you can certainly meet a quota of 15 or more a week, a much better goal is three to five job applications every week. That doesn’t sound like a lot at first, but you have to remember how extensive the hiring process is nowadays.
Companies ask for lengthy applications, multi-page questionnaires, and more. That’s on top of a perfectly tailored resume. Trying to get in tons of applications per week can lead to sloppy work and other issues (more on that later).
Submitting three to five applications every week is a more reasonable goal. It allows you to focus on creating top-notch applications that stand out. Not only that, but it ensures that you can do the required research and networking to give you an advantage over other applicants.
Finding suitable job openings is half the battle. You might see hundreds of ads, but narrowing those choices down to the ones that fit your skills and experience is another story. Plus, you need time to research the company, determine if you’re a good fit, and learn more about what they’re looking for from employees.
Spending more time on research pays off tremendously. The same goes for using your network of colleagues and industry peers. Asking your contacts for information or introductions can help you connect with hiring managers directly. While you will still need to complete the application and submit a strong resume, your conversation may reveal important information to include in your application materials. And, by the way, hiring managers tend to prefer candidates who are referred rather than those that blindly apply. At the very least, the hiring manager will be on the lookout for your application.
Submitting loads of applications per day is certainly possible. But when you dedicate more time to researching, networking, and perfecting your application, you won’t have to.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Job Applications Per Day?
It can be tempting to submit as many job applications as you can per day. Theoretically, the more jobs you apply for, the better your odds of getting an offer, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Going overboard with how many jobs you apply for often leads to lower quality applications, ultimately hurting your chances of getting an interview. Think about how extensive a single job application is. Every company wants you to provide a resume, fill out separate application forms, answer pre-interview questions, and more.
It’s time-consuming and can become monotonous over time. Eventually, you’ll come to a point when you’re going through the motions and not putting any thought into your application at all. Is that the impression you want to give when applying for jobs?
Applying to too many jobs can also make you overwhelmed and disorganized. There are ways to keep your ducks in a row, but you might confuse companies or forget you applied for positions entirely. And how can you possibly follow-up with each job you apply for?
What happens if you start getting calls or emails? What if you don’t remember the job or company?
You shouldn’t take those risks with something as important as your career. It’s far better to approach each application with the same level of dedication as the first. To do that, you must take your time with every application you submit.
Tips to Remember While Applying
Looking for a job can be tough. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and focus too much on the nerve-wracking nature of waiting for a callback.
Here are a few ways to use your time wisely and ensure that your job search is successful. Once you understand how to approach this process, the reason for limiting how many jobs you should apply to per day will become quite clear.
1. Quality Over Quantity
Here’s an important tip that bears repeating: Focus on quality over quantity.
When job-seekers ask “How many jobs should I apply for?” they tend to view this process through the wrong lens. It doesn’t matter what average stats you read about or how many applications your peers put in. The most important thing to remember is that every application should be as competitive and high-quality as possible. The goal is to submit applications and resumes that stand out.
You can’t do that when your main priority is submitting as many as you can. Don’t take shortcuts that decrease the quality of your applications. Make adjustments to your resume for every application, and do what you can to make your submission a perfect match.
2. Do Your Research
If you don’t do any research, you’re missing out on some valuable information that can help you during your job search.
Take time to research both the position and the industry. Even if you’ve been in the industry for many years, there are always new details to learn. Figure out what companies are looking for, how much average salaries are for the position you’re applying for (this will be useful when filling in the desired salary portion of your application), industry trends, and more.
You can also take the time to get familiar with the company. Learn about their place within your industry and what the work culture is. You may realize during your research that the organization isn’t a good fit for your values or career. Finding that out now will save you tons of time.
If the job seems like a perfect fit, you can use what you learned during your research to impress at the interview. Either way, it’s a win-win.
3. Save Your Answers to Common Questions
As you start completing applications, you’ll realize that many of the questions are similar. They might have slightly different wording, but the general idea is the same. For example, you might see the same long-form answers asking you to explain why you believe they should hire you. Alternatively, you may see questions asking for previous experience, links to your LinkedIn profile, etc.
Having those answers saved to a word document can save you a significant amount of time. You may have to make a few tweaks to shape the response, but it’s a lot quicker than repeatedly retyping the same answer from scratch.
4. Leverage Your Network
Finally, take advantage of your professional network. Getting information from people you know goes a long way no matter where you live or how big your industry is, and can reduce the number of jobs you need to apply for before getting accepted.
Reaching out to colleagues and professional acquaintances can significantly speed up the application process. Someone might refer you to the hiring manager, send over your contact information, or give you the chance to reach out to them directly.
Having that direct connection makes your name stand out automatically. If you’re lucky, you might get fast-tracked to the interview phase. But even if they continue with the broader applicant search, the networking you do will often put your application near the top of the list.
The Pros and Cons of Applying for Many Jobs
Applying for many jobs has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s not something anyone wants to do, but it’s necessary to get a job these days.
Here are some pros and cons to mull over when figuring out how many jobs you should apply for.
- Better odds of getting a job offer: Statistically, applying for many jobs puts the odds in your favor. There are no guarantees, but submitting more applications can lead to more offers, giving you the leverage to choose what’s right for you.
- More exposure to industry professionals: Industry exposure is always a plus. Those companies you apply to might not extend an offer. But, your application could impress them enough to remember you in the future.
- It helps you stay up to date with the changing job market: When you’re applying for jobs every day, you can see new opportunities as they come up. Some jobs are so sought-after that ads only stay up for a few hours. If you’re applying to many jobs, you’ll be the first to see it.
- Fine-tune your resume and application skills: Applying for jobs is an art. As you complete applications, you can refine your resume and documents. Little changes can go a long way, and you’ll have the time with those applications to figure out what changes work best.
- Learn more about your industry: Finally, applying to a number of jobs gives you the chance to learn tons of information. As you review job postings, what are the popular skills and requirements being asked for, what buzzwords or keywords are being used? What are the various job titles used? Get familiar with your industry and potential future competitors.
- You can get sloppy over time: Filling out the same information repeatedly can wear on you. It can become a robotic activity that decreases in quality with every submission. Poorly written applications will likely hinder your ability to find a job.
- More applications often leads to more stress: The application process is stressful enough. Those feelings of stress and anxiety can get worse the more applications you have to fill out.
- You can become disorganized: It’s easy to lose track of submissions, company names, and contacts when you’re applying for too many jobs. You might send in multiple applications for the same job, sending signals of desperation.
- It takes a considerable amount of time: One of the biggest challenges of applying to a large number of jobs is the sheer amount of time it takes. It can become a full-time job itself, which isn’t viable for most job-seekers. Re-invest your saved time by having informational meetings with people instead.
How Many Jobs Should You Apply For If You’re Currently Employed?
We’ve already established that our recommended number of jobs you should apply to are three to five. However, what’s right for you will vary based on the circumstances of your job search.
If you’re already employed, you might not have the time to spend a good chunk of your day researching and networking. So, the number of job applications you submit might be closer to two or three per week. If you’re particularly busy at work, you may only get one in a week.
That’s perfectly fine as long as you focus on quantity.
Don’t spend any of your existing work hours researching companies or filling out applications. That could jeopardize your current paying job and put you in a bad position during your search.
Wait until the weekends or do your research after hours during the workweek.
How Many Jobs Should You Apply For If You’re Unemployed?
If you’re unemployed, you have more time on your hands to dedicate to applications. Here’s where you can treat this process as a full-time job. Make a schedule out of it and mirror a genuine work schedule complete with breaks so you avoid getting overwhelmed.
When you have a full day to submit applications, you could realistically apply for six to ten applications per week. However, the quality of your applications should always come first. Don’t feel bad if you find it easier to stick with our recommended three to five a week.
Remember: The quality of your application is the most important thing. Don’t be afraid to spend extra time networking and researching to ensure that your applications pack a punch.
Can You Apply for Multiple Jobs at the Same Company?
You might find multiple positions available at the same company during your job search. That’s not uncommon with large organizations. So, can you apply to more than one?
There’s nothing wrong with applying for different jobs at the same company. Some businesses even make the process easy, allowing you to select multiple positions in the application.
All that said, stay within reason and don’t go overboard. Applying for two or three jobs at the most is ideal. Anything more than that might put your goals or skill set into.
Applying for every opening position can make you look desperate, giving off the impression that you focus on getting paid and nothing more.
Instead of doing that, pick one or two jobs you genuinely want. Prioritize those jobs and work on creating the best application possible before you apply.
How Many Job Applications Do You Need to Submit Before Getting a Job?
Here’s the million-dollar question that is asked by job-seekers all over the world. You might see statistics and think that you need to start submitting more applications than you already have.
Every job search is unique, and what you have to offer is miles different from the people in those statistics. It all depends on the quality of your application, your industry, and the current job market. Factors outside of your control come into play, too.
It takes hundreds of applications to get an elusive job offer for some people. However, others might have great network connections that lead to a job offer after a single application. There are far too many factors to say that you need to submit a set amount of applications before you get a job offer.
So don’t stress out over statistics and averages (remember that it also takes time to hear back from a job as well). Instead, focus your attention on submitting high-quality applications and resumes that stand out!
Now that you have a better understanding of how many jobs you should apply to each day, it might be time for you to rethink your strategy. There’s a good chance that the number you had in your head was different from our recommendation, and that’s ok.
At the end of the day, quality over quantity is the rule you should live by during this process. Don’t get caught up in worrying about how many job applications other people are submitting per day, stick with what works best for you.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.