When I found myself between jobs a few summers ago, one of the greatest comforts I could give myself was applying to as many jobs as possible. I think this is a common reflex: to cast a wide net in the job search to reassure yourself that you’ll get something or to convince yourself you’re upping your odds by applying to hundreds of jobs, even if they don’t all hit the mark. As someone who didn’t qualify for unemployment because they’d quit (an entirely different story), I can sympathize. I was hungry for interviews. So, I thought: apply, apply, apply!
With this mindset, I found a job I love (hint: it’s this one at Fairygodboss) and I found it fast. But my methodology wasn’t very sound. Plenty of women apply to hundreds of jobs without getting a bite, spending hours of time and lots of mental energy on a task that’s unforgiving and, often, unhelpful.
While casting a wide net is great in theory, it’s much more efficient and effective to keep your job search zeroed in on opportunities that really fit your resume, desired role and company culture and personal connections, brand or other qualities that make you stand out in the workforce. I’m not saying to only apply to two jobs, cross your fingers and say your work is done. But if you’re sending 20 applications a day for everything ranging from your current role to a less senior position two industries over at a company you’ve never heard of, you’re likely doing your psyche, your wallet and your career some damage.
Identifying jobs that are a good fit helps you to make a more compelling case in your favor. It gives you more authentic material to address the employer’s pain points and opportunity for growth in your cover letter or interview, while also giving you the physical time to research these points. It also helps you curb the mental and emotional energy that you’re spending on unsuccessful applications, allowing you to channel these into going the extra mile on the applications you feel positively about by networking, investing time in a great new resume or doing extra time with the recruiter. You may be able to channel this time and energy into side hustles, gigs and part-time jobs while you’re on the hunt, too.
Mentality is such an important part of the job search. Applying to jobs you’re excited about lets you do more without burning out —and excitement can help motivate you to be confident, take risks and stretch yourself to apply to jobs that meet your potential. Finding jobs that make you feel good about your qualifications and your search is a much better use of your time than applying to that company you heard about once who has a job kind of tangential to what you studied in college. Save your time and energy and do the prioritization, research and personalization of your application first.
What’s the right way to find out if a job is a fit? Lucky for you, you’re already on Fairygodboss. Check out employer reviews and open job opportunities — right here, right now.