How to Avoid Becoming a Serial Applicant

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It’s easier now than ever to apply for jobs. With companies like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster and ZipRecruiter, you can slide your resume into recruiters’ inboxes with a click of a button. 

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

serial applicant

What is a serial applicant?

A serial applicant is someone who recklessly applies to job after job, regardless of whether they’re qualified—wasting both their time and the recruiter’s time. Though it’s tempting because the job-hunting process can be frustrating, there are other ways to cast your net and spend your time wisely as a job seeker.

Question your intentions

Before you apply to a job post, think to yourself, “If I were to be hired here, would this opportunity make me happy long term?” If the answer isn’t some form of “yes”, you probably shouldn’t apply. What happens if the recruiter calls you with questions about the position and your application? Not only will you have trouble answering them because you were click-happy, but you’ve taken time away from what you should have invested into a quality opportunity. Read through the job description and explore the company’s website to make sure you’d be a good fit. That way, you’re prepared to confidently answer any questions the recruiter may have.

Apply strategically

Though it is an extremely simple action, 1-click-applys can be dangerous. It’s understandable to think casting a wide net is a great idea, but your time would be used more wisely if you applied strategically. Instead of focusing all your energy on job boards, research companies in your job-search area to find which ones you’d be a good cultural fit for. Then, apply to open positions on the company website.  If there’s nothing available, try using LinkedIn to find employees at that particular company to connect with. Choose wisely; perhaps you could form a professional relationship by asking for an informational interview.

Think quality, not quantity

Job hunting can be disheartening, especially when you’re unemployed. At least while you have a job, you have a steady flow of income, whereas when you’re jobless, you could be pinching pennies. Instead of applying to every opportunity you find out of desperation, be mindful of where you apply. Make sure each position is one you’d be proud to bare the title of. Value your skills, and don’t settle for less. Also, consider a side hustle to hold you over until you find that perfect fit.

It’s so easy to become click-happy, especially when you’re desperate for work, but don’t abuse the one-click application because it’s convenient. Know what you’re applying for, network, follow up and be confident in your abilities to land the job that’s ideal for you.

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