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

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.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • No way, don’t apply for the job that you are underqualified for. That would be good advice in a vacuum, but in reality, your CV would be competing against the CVs of heavy-weights that are more than qualified for the position. Your CV will be almost instantaneously tossed to the bin.

    Apply to the one you are overqualified for and do NOT try to show off how much you are, or the employer will be suspicious that you are settling down for a temporary position while looking for a better job somewhere else. It is better to start low and have the time to prove yourself and climb the ladder later on, than simply not being given the job.

  • A large organisation went on a large hiring spree and started advertising several different positions. They differed greatly in nature, however I was more or lass qualified for several of them. I only ended up applying for one, and when I was brought in for an interview the first thing my interviewer wanted to know was why I hadn’t applied for other positions. Turns out I was one of the only people who applied for only one position, and as such stood out as being focused and knowing what I wanted. Some companies, especially larger ones, might not even notice your multiple applications. But if they do, or have a small hiring team, applying for just one will definitely look better.

  • Or, apply for the job you’re underqualified for, and if the HR department know their roles, they’ll see you’re also qualified for other job and possibly consider you for that one.

    I’ve seen HR managers discuss candidates like that, and they want them because they can get away with hiring someone for a job that’s more qualified than the other candidates but get to pay them less money than they’re actually worth.

  • I’ve tried this, but for a job I was qualified for, and another I was overqualified for but still paid more than I was on and I would of been perfectly happy with.

    Got first order of merit on the one I was qualified for, and “you’re overqualified we want you for the higher job” on the one I was overqualified for. Job hunting sucks.

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