Ask LH: Should I Simultaneously Apply For Multiple Jobs At The Same Company?

Dear Lifehacker, A company that I’d love to work for has two positions open — one I’m underqualified for and the other I’m overqualified for. I’d obviously prefer the higher paying position but am keen to join the company in any role. What’s the best way to apply for both positions without damaging my chances at either? Thanks, Keen To Start

Identical job candidate image from Shutterstock

Dear KTS,

If the positions differ significantly in terms of pay and responsibilities, I’d advise against applying for both jobs simultaneously. This suggests you have a limited understanding of what your employment skills are worth or where you fit in the industry.

It may also lead to a suspicion that you’re desperate for work and have been applying for everything that crosses your path. Needless to say, these are bad first impressions that could potentially kill your chances of securing an interview, much less the job.

Personally, I think a better approach is to carefully appraise both positions and apply for the one you have the best shot at landing. As an added bonus, this will allow you to carefully tailor your resume to suit the position you’re going for.

This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the lower paid position — instead, compare the listings’ criteria to your work history to see which job is a better match. You might find that you’re slightly underqualified for one position and massively overqualified for the other, in which case you should apply for the former.

If you apply for the more senior position and aren’t successful, you can always try your luck with the other job later (provided it’s still being advertised.) Be sure to include a detailed cover letter explaining why you want to work for the company. As long as your first interview wasn’t a complete disaster, you should make it straight onto the shortlist.

We’re also going to throw this one over to our readers — have you ever applied for two jobs at the same company simultaneously? How did it go? If you’re an employer, what’s your take on applicants who apply for multiple positions at once? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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