When you are applying for a job, you should always have a clear vision of what position you are looking for. If you do not have a specific position in mind, applicants who do will always be preferred by a recruiter. Here’s a few reasons why:
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Let’s play the scenario game. Here’s the Setup:
- We’ll assume Jack is a journeyman box folder who has been laid off
- Jack is now looking for a job in a new industry
- The Plastic Bag company is looking for a foreman for their handle-hole line
- The job posting specifies a requirement for plastic bag making experience
- Jack has no experience with plastic bags
It’s very easy, in this scenario, to imagine that Jack has several transferrable skills that would be a great asset to a plastic bag factory. There are two major hurdles that will prevent Jack from being interviewed for the position:
- Jack doesn’t have the specific experience the hiring manager needs. When a posting specifies a skill, the company needs someone they can plug into that position with minimal training.
- Jack has dedicated his career to box folding; the hiring manager will see him as moving to plastic bags because there is no box folding work. What happens when the box companies start hiring again? Onboarding and training is an expensive venture; nobody wants to train someone who will jump ship when something better comes along.
If Jack were specifically looking to move to the plastic bag industry, he would be better off making a general application to the company with a cover letter expressing his interest in the plastic bag industry and his need for stability.
It’s Easier Than Ever to be Ignored
When looking for a job, it’s easier than ever to submit applications to companies with the Google – we can learn about an opening and apply for it in the same breath. This creates a unique challenge for hiring managers; a stack of resumes for a single position. Generally, organizations that have online applications also have an applicant tracking system (ATS) that looks for specific keywords and skills that match the position they are trying to fill – automatically weeding out the individuals who don’t have the skills they need. You may be able to perform any position you apply for based on your aptitude, but if you haven’t performed the specific tasks in the job posting, your resume will never reach a hiring manager.
Even worse, a hiring manager may black-list applicants they feel are unqualified so they don’t receive any further notifications from those applicants. Your resume and all future applications can end up in spam-box purgatory.
Somebody Else Wants It More
As we mentioned earlier, hiring new staff carries with it a great deal of risk. Hiring managers are keenly aware of this as they search through resumes and applications looking for the best fit. If one applicant “will do anything” and another wants to do the specific job – the latter applicant is clearly going to be happy fulfilling the duties of the role where the former may not be satisfied in the new work environment and leave.
The words and actions that say “I’ll do anything” sound both desperate and temporary. An application to an organization always carries more clout when the applicant can express how the position fits their career objectives. Make it clear that you’re not looking for a job, you’re looking for this job.