By Rania Oteify

Gulf News, January 26, 2018 —

How many job applications do you have to submit until you get a job? Some will tell you as many as 100. They might be right, but job hunting isn’t really a numbers game.

You certainly do need to ensure that you’re sending applications consistently. But consistently doesn’t mean as many as possible. You need to look into the job you’re applying for, customise your resume and cover letter, and send a package that stands out. Doing so will take time and effort, but it is worthwhile.

Is there a harm in sending many, many applications? After all, you are probably unemployed and have too much time on your hands. Yes, there are at least four major problems with doing so.

1. Sloppy applications

When you’re applying for jobs quickly or for too many jobs, you’re more likely to make mistakes. Hiring managers spend just a few seconds to screen each applicant. If your application appears to be sloppy or poorly put together, you lose before you start.

So instead, take your time — even when you have a lot of it — to put effort and attention into your application. You may go as far as researching the company and customising your resume accordingly. If the job post includes a hiring manager’s name, make sure you address this person — with the last name. If the job post asks for additional information or preferred experience, highlight it in your cover letter.

2. Applying for two or more jobs with the same employer

The jury is still out on whether applying for more job with one employer is a good strategy. Many time, it depends on the types of jobs. If you’re applying for two jobs that are somehow similar in job duties and levels, you may appear to be just interested in the company. If you’re applying for jobs that are all over the place and reporting to each other, you may appear to be unaware with where your skill set fits.

And that is one on risk of mass applications. You may not be able to keep track of the jobs you’re applying for. You also may undermine your own chances by rushing to apply for one job, just to find out that another opportunity is a better fit. If you’re rejected once, you will have to work twice harder to turn this no into a yes.

3. Get discouraged more often

Too many applications will yield more rejections. Are you open to deal with these results, emotionally? You may not blink while you’re emailing your resume and cover letter for a job that you’re hardly qualified for, but it certainly hurts to get a rejection letter.

In addition, if you get into a situation where a job might work and you get invited to a job interview, this will be an investment of time and effort in the wrong place — of course, if the job is totally off and you even won’t accept the job offer.

The point is: stay focused on what you want and what jobs meet this need. You’re more likely to have fewer interviews, but they will be better suited for your needs. You also will avoid a lot of hits to your self-esteem that could drain your energy and make you unprepared for that one job that you actually want.

4. You’re wasting time

Applying for jobs that you’re unqualified for and unlikely to get is a waste of time. You could use this time to gain more training, certification or networking. When you’re unemployed, your day should not just be able finding and applying for jobs. There are not enough jobs out there for anyone to do so 40 hours a week, but many people, driven by eagerness to get a job sooner than later, try to do so.

The result is likely to be much frustration and being stuck in the same place. Take time to go out, exercise, meet people professionally and socially, and focus on a more targeted approach to your job search.

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based writer.