Apply to Multiple Jobs

An all too common mistake during job searches is to focus on one job application at a time. Job applicants trawl through postings, pick the one that stands out the most, and pour their heart and soul into the application. If they are rejected, they go back to the beginning and start again. Or they sit back and allow a recruiter to pitch them one position at a time.

Sometimes, employees make this mistake out of a misplaced sense of honor, thinking that pursuing multiple opportunities at once is somehow unethical. Other times, they limit their job search to reduce the risk that word of their activities will get back to their current employer. But most often, people are just plain lazy.

If you are actively searching for a new job, do not pursue one opportunity at a time. Not only is it wildly inefficient, you will start to develop tunnel vision and lose objectivity. If the hiring process is going well, you will begin to imagine yourself working there before an offer is made. When that happens, loss aversion kicks in. Even if you receive an offer, it might be after accepting concessions you may not have otherwise considered. Finally, if a singular pursuit goes poorly, it will hit your self esteem harder than if you had been pursuing other opportunities.

Instead, pursue multiple leads at once. Prospective employers can sense when they are not your only option, engendering anxiety on their part. You’ll be less disappointed if any particular lead falls through. And as long as you exercise standard precautionary measures, any increased risk that your current employer finds out is not worth forgoing the benefits of pursuing multiple job leads concurrently.

Even if you are happily employed, you should still cultivate potential job leads. Keep in touch with coworkers that move on to different firms. Don’t blow off (every) recruiter. You never know when something might change at your current job to make it untenable. Having options increases your relative value at your current company. And occasionally testing the job market keeps you apprised of your market value.

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