will it hurt me to apply for multiple jobs at the same company?

A reader writes:

I’ve been trying to start a career at the entry-level in a difficult industry to break into for quite some time. I wasn’t as tenacious as I should have been in my initial round of applications nearly a year ago, but now I’m finally ready to jump on every listing that fits my skill set and interests. It’s a small industry, so I’ll be applying to many of the same companies I’ve been applying to since I began my search.

These companies all have applicant tracking systems that require individual applications with separate cover letters for each position, and I do meet the requirements for all the positions I’m applying for (entry-level positions in different departments, essentially).

Given applicant tracking systems and the human eyes that are (hopefully) passing over my applications, is it hurting me to keep applying for the same types of openings again and again? Would hiring managers be likely to see my (updated, improved) resume as desperate and instantly move on? Or might my persistence eventually pay off?

There’s no one answer for this, but it often depends on how large the company is and what kind of applicant tracking system they’re using.

Some systems don’t make a point of showing how often you’ve applied for other jobs there in the past (or they do show it, but that info doesn’t routinely get passed along to hiring managers). Others do show that info, or pass it along to hiring managers with the rest of your application.

Some places won’t care at all that you’ve applied for 20 jobs there in the past four months; they’ll just see it as evidence that you want to work there. Some places will be more concerned about that — especially if the jobs you’ve applied for are all pretty different, in which case you’ll look unfocused or like you’re taking a scattershot approach to finding a job, any job. (Of course, you might be happy to find a job, any job … but hiring managers want to hire someone who wants this job in particular.)

But the larger the company, the less likely they are to notice or care.

So there’s no one answer here. But as a general rule, I’d say to make sure that everything you’re applying for is truly a strong fit for your experience and that you’re not applying for jobs that are wildly different (in substance or in terms of “level” of the job). Don’t let your interest in working there spur you to apply for everything you’re slightly qualified for; that’s when it’s most likely to start looking bad.

And you’re better off changing up your cover letter a bit each time. You don’t want to look like you’re just firing off the same rote application for each opening, as that would contribute to a sense that you’re not being thoughtful or selective about what you’re applying for.

{ 65 comments… read them below }

  1. Z*

    Hi Alison, as a follow-up question to this letter, would hiring managers have access to the different cover letters you’ve submitted to the company?

    1. Morning Glory*

      At my org, yes we can see other cover letters; they are all stored in the same place on our end of the portal. It probably varies by org and portal.

      1. Sherm*

        Same here. You should make the default assumption that whatever you send will be passed around, even across departments. So, in addition to tailoring your cover letter and showing your thoughtfulness, don’t get a little TOO tailored and say something like “llama wrangling is my one and only passion” when you are also applying to a teapot painter job at the same company.

    2. Anne of Green Gables*

      Not at my employer. I can only see the materials submitted for that position. I can see how many times the applicant applied at my employer, but not dates or positions applied for.

    3. Evil HR Person*

      It depends on the company and who’s doing the screening. In my company, I do the screening, and if the cover letter is good/thoughtful, I pass it along with the resume and give the applicant more weight – like I literally tell the hiring manager that this applicant had an awesome cover letter which I needed to share. We actually hired someone who didn’t have direct experience in what my company does, but who was otherwise a superstar, and actually developed a position for her – because her cover letter (and experience with other things, but the cover letter was key) was so well written, detailed for the position that WAS posted, and had an explanation as to why she wanted to step down from another position. Good cover letters get seen.

      1. Z*

        If someone applied to two very different positions, with strong cover letters for each, would you share both? Or just let each hiring manager see the one for their job?

        1. Safetykats*

          Everywhere I’ve worked, the hiring manager gets only the info pertinent to their posting. So I would not see anything you submitted for any other posting, or even know hat you submitted for any other posting.

          The only point at which they would tell me you had done so would be if I requested an offer be cut for you, and another hiring manager had made the same request. The company won’t bid against itself – so at that point you would be told you had a potential offer for more than one position, and be asked to pick one.

          FYI – if you’re applying for very different kinds of positions I would recommend actually changing up not only your cover letter but also your resume – so that for each position you emphasize the experience relevant to that position. This might only consist of reordering the info on your resume, but it might involve adding and subtracting detail. Don’t make a hiring manager read a lot of detail more applicable to another job – it’s likely to result in you being passed over, or (in a very proactive organization) passed along to another hiring manager as better suited for their posting.

    4. Elle Kay*

      It depends on the org and who’s looking at the application.

      I’m hiring for a position right now and just got an application with a cover letter with a *different job title*. I was able to ask the HR person above me and she validated that this guy had sent the same cover letter to 3 different postings. If not for the title sanfu I wouldn’t have known but the level above me does have that authorization, and for some positions they do the hiring directly so then, yes, they would be able to see it.

  2. Naptime Enthusiast*

    I can’t speak to the cover letters, but at my very large company, every department has a different general posting ID for each department’s entry-level hires. They get routed to different hiring managers so if the companies you’re applying to are the same, then there’s little to no chance that managers will know you’re applying across the board. HR may be different but unless your application is awful or you set yourself apart negatively in some other way, it’s not a bad idea to apply to multiple positions if you’re not picky about the department you’re in.

    1. Team Lead*

      Yup, this is how it works at my large public-sector institution. We would have no idea that you had applied for jobs in other departments, as we only get our own apps and HR does not pre-screen them or inform us about applicant patterns.

  3. Detective Amy Santiago*

    There’s a rather large health system in my city (practically a monopoly) and they are generally looking to fill hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs at any given time because of how many facilities they have. I have applied for at least a dozen various positions within my skill set and I would assume that given their sheer size, it doesn’t even register as a blip on someone’s radar.

    If you’re talking about large corporations, I would imagine your situation is the same. If it’s a small organization that posts 1 or 2 job openings at a time, that might be an issue.

    1. Need A Change*

      I’m in eh same boat! My graduate degree is in a large industry, but narrowly focused in that industry. It is in healthcare at the two largest employers in my area are, you guessed it, healthcare! I have applied to sooooo many jobs at both and get nibbles, but have landed nothing yet. I keep my applications within my “lane”, but this is becoming a nightmare and I sure hope someone in recruiting isn’t going this person again!

      On the other side at my current employer I can see every job someone has put in a resume in our org. However, this has never stopped me from interviewing someone. My last hire applied to every entry level admin position we had.

    2. Ann*

      I work for a large health system, and would say that they key phrase is within your skill set – I often tell applicants that they may have to apply more than once to get an interview. I typically would not pass along a resume for someone who had applied for more than 15-20 jobs if they appeared to be randomly selected (e.g. housekeeper, VP of finance etc.)

  4. mockingbird2081*

    I work for a large organization and our job tracking system tracks an applicant and every job they have applied for. I am over multiple locations so I deal with hiring on a daily basis. If I notice a job applicant has applied for multiple jobs within the company it doesn’t raise a red flag unless the jobs are vastly different. A receptionist vs a phlebotomist. That type of difference confuses me not just because the skills are different but so is the pay. Why be a receptionist if you be a phlebotomist and get paid three to four dollars more an hour. If it isn’t clear in a cover letter why you are interested in each position I can dismiss a candidate for that. However, if you have applied multiple times to be a receptionist at multiple locations. I take a second look at your resume (that doesn’t mean everyone does) because I take it as a sign you really want to work here.

    However, something to sometimes be aware of. I can not only see where else you have applied within the company but if you have interviewed with another department I can pull their interview notes. I can also see if ‘no showed’ to an interview, if you were late to interview etc.

    1. straws*

      Yes, this. I work for a rather small company, but it still comes down the specific jobs. If you’ve applied to 3 sales jobs over the course of a year, I’ll think you’re interested in us. If you apply to a sales job, an IT assistant job, and a marketing coordinator job, I’m going to need some pretty convincing reasons to not assume you’re throwing your resume everywhere without care.

  5. Papyrus*

    I work for a fairly big company, and when they were hiring for a position in our department, recruiting DID notice when a person applied for multiple jobs. One person applied for pretty much every open position – in other departments, from entry-level to manager positions, with qualifications all wildly different from each other. So yeah, that person didn’t get hired because they came off as desperate and it was highly doubtful they were qualified for each and every job they applied for. But if you’re re-applying to the same job, or to a few jobs that are similar to each other, I think that’s totally fine. In fact, that’s how I got my job – I applied to a few similar positions within the financial department at the same company and ended up being hired for one of them.

    1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      I once did something similar in applying for basically the same job. I my case, the jobs were in two neighboring states. I learned after I was hired that management saw that as a positive: my job hunt was focused on the position (good) but was not tied to one location (which turned out be very important). I also learned that both hiring managers knew about both of my postings–they mentioned it in the interviews.

  6. Calibri 11*

    Similarly, a job I applied to a few weeks ago asked you to specify in the cover letter whether you wanted to be considered for the same, close-to-entry-level position in a different department (essentially, researching a different public policy issue that would require different public policy experience).

    What’s a good way to say you’d want to be considered for both (when the policy areas are really pretty disparate!) without making it seem like you’d take “a job, any job” with them?

    1. Volunteer Enforcer*

      I may be wrong, but the jobs sound similar enough that it shouldnt be a worry. Depending on what the application system allows for, either do two different applications or one that includes a sentence like I would like to be considered for X job and Y job.

    2. Z*

      They specified the two departments? In that case, I’d use a sentence towards the end to say that yes, you’d also like to be considered for position Y, which is also of interest to you because of Z.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I think if they’re asking, they’re assuming that a “yes” answer would be reasonable. So simply say, “I’d be interested in the other position mentioned.”

      And in general, I think you can say, “I would be interested in other, similar jobs within your company.”

  7. LBK*

    Agreed that this is all about the company size – I applied for several jobs at my current employer, both when I first started and when I was looking for a new job internally. The company is huge, so there were legitimately several positions I was qualified for across the organization; we have multiple divisions that each have their own accounting, sales, marketing, etc. If every division had a marketing role open, there wouldn’t really be a reason *not* to apply for all of them.

    At a small company where there’s only one of each department, it’s likely to stand out more if for no other reason than it’s going to be unlikely you’re genuinely qualified for multiple open roles unless they’re all entry level with relatively generic requirements.

  8. Berry*

    Timely, I was going to ask a variation of this on the open thread this week! Thanks!

    I’ve been sticking to a “don’t apply to multiple positions at one company in a short period of time” rule, but been stuck with that on job portals where one portal is for multiple companies (for example, Disney and applying to both Marvel and ABC news). This makes me feel a lot better about moving forward in cases such as those.

    On a funny note, I was looking at a FB posting the other day and they had a note on the side that said something along the lines of please submit a maximum of 3 applications.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      One large tech company I applied to wouldn’t let me reapply at all until 90 days had passed, so I suppose they kept my application in an accessible form that could be checked against other positions that might be good fits. Since I never heard from them it didn’t work out for me, but it did help knowing that the one application might have been screened for multiple opportunities.

      Another large tech company openly encourages you to apply for any and all positions you are interested in (I’ve probably applied to a dozen positions, all very closely related and well within my skill set). However, they have a reputation of heavily relying on employee referrals over cold applications and, to date, the only person from that company who’s checked out my application did so because a recruiter put my name in.

  9. Lord Gouldian Finch*

    I’d say for large companies “don’t apply to more than one job category at a time” is a safer rule than “only apply to one job at a time.” If there are Llama Wranger I jobs open in New York and Newark, you can probably apply to both (with a cover letter explaining why each interests you). If there’s an opening in Accounts Payable and another in Accounts Receivable and your last job involved you handling both topics, you can probably apply to both (again with tailored cover letters). But applying to a Llama Wranger I posting and an opening in Accounts Receivable is probably not a good idea even if you have relevant experience in both (say, a degree in accounting and you grew up on a Llama farm) because it could still look scattershot and unfocused.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Yeah, I totally agree with that. At my last job, I screened all applicants for positions where I was the hiring manager, and could see everything else they had applied for. Someone who’s been applying for every entry-level job for the last year? OK, I can see it — you really want to work here. Someone who’s been applying for every open job regardless of level? Yeah, no.

  10. Ambivalent*

    Yeah this happened when I was recruiting (my company is in the 10-100k people range). I found a few candidates who had applied to a large number of disparate positions – but roughly at the same level and arguably some overlapping skill-sets, so it wasn’t totally crazy. I asked HR about it, and was told this was common and I shouldn’t be concerned. So I didn’t let it affect my choice of phone screen candidates, but did make a note for myself to ask them why they also applied to a rather different position, to understand their reasoning. In the end though, overall I found the candidates who targeted the job I posted for, to be better fits.

    1. DDJ*

      I’ve noticed this as well when recruiting. We’re not a huge company, and I can understand someone applying to 2 entry-level positions in similar departments (like AR or AP, for example), but if someone has applied for 15 jobs (not an exaggeration) over the last 3 years in 5 different departments at 4 different levels (anything from entry level to senior supervisory), that’s a major red flag.

  11. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    At my firm, it’s not unusual; we’re typically looking to fill a number of similar entry-level jobs at once, and someone applying for the DIY Llama Grooming Attendant Trainee position could logically be expected to apply for the Full-Service Llama Grooming Trainee open, the Let’s Help You Groom Your Inherited Llama opening, the Do You Want to Buy a Llama Grooming Kit opening, etc… they’re all working off similar skills and knowledge bases, and employees within these teams often switch back and forth as senior positions become available.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      (I should add, for size comparisons: my division has about 400 people in our office, and working to expand up to hopefully 700-800. You probably wouldn’t have time to apply for more than one position before someone reached out to you, assuming your background was even vaguely camelid-related.)

    2. Ainomiaka*

      Yes! There’s a lot more likely to be duplication of entry level jobs. They may need 22 llama groomers, 3 llama grooming supervisors but only 1 manager of grooming. It seems weird to say I’d skip a job on grooming team b just because I had applied for one on team c as well.

  12. Susie*

    I had the same question recently. I applied for twelve (12!) jobs at the same company over a period of two years– and they’re all just staring at me every time I log in. however, I was recently hired by that company, so apparently it didn’t matter.

    As a side note, the two jobs I interviewed for were fielded by different HR reps, and they didn’t have a lot of overlap.

  13. Blue*

    I’d be interested to know if higher ed folks have thoughts about applying to multiple positions in the same college or department. One of the undergraduate colleges at a local university just posted two jobs I’m well qualified for. The first is (on paper, anyway) exactly what I want to be doing, and those positions are few and far between. The second is less great but is still something I’d normally apply for, and while it’s a large college, there’s a good chance some of the same people will see both applications.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*

      I’ve applied to several colleges and have now been on the other side of hiring for a role within a college. Our software is set up so that we can only see the candidates that have applied for our particular posting. I cannot access any data about what other roles they’ve applied for, interviewed for, or been rejected for. Even if those other roles are within my same department (unless I was also the hiring manager for that role).

      I’ve applied to many, many, many roles within the same university (sometimes within the same college within the university) and have never once been asked about it, and have been now hired twice.

      I know not all systems are the same, and it probably varies by school size, but I’d throw your hat in the ring for both jobs and just be clear in your cover letter why each particular job is a good fit.

      1. Anne of Green Gables*

        I work for a large community college and the software we use sounds similar to what Not a Real Giraffe has. I can only see the paperwork you submit for openings I am involved in hiring for. I can see something that indicates how many times you’ve applied for something (anything) at the college, but I don’t know positions or dates.
        At my institution, you have to apply individually to each opening. I’m in a specialized area. It’s not uncommon to have openings for the exact same job at different campus locations and you do have to apply to each one separately. We actually encourage applicants to apply for any of the positions they are interested in within our specialized department.

    2. Ghost Town*

      I don’t think it will be a problem, as long as you are qualified for the positions. Over the 1.5+ year period before I started in this position (graduate recruiting), I had applied to a handful of positions in this program and another program with whom they shared space. The positions were related, in that they were all student-centric, and they all drew upon skills I had developed in my previous position. Luckily for me, they saw it as a desire to work with this office and population. (there was a period of time where I did decide that all the rejections I got meant I should cool it for a bit)

      In my experience, higher education administration is heavily siloed. So unless the two positions report to the same supervisor/manager or the reporting chains merge only a few levels above the positions, I doubt they’ll know.

      Of course – customize your cover letter.

      1. Not a Real Giraffe*

        Honestly, even if they are in the same department, it’s probably fine to apply to both — so long as you explain why each job is of specific interest to you. I say this because my department is actually 4 teams that report into the same Dean. Each of our teams does related-but-different things, and each has their own hiring manager. So I would have no idea what the applicant pool looks like for an opening on another team within my department.

        1. Blue*

          From what I can tell, they’re in different offices under the same dean. That’s my current office’s set up, too. And the dean-level folks are engaged with searches in all sub-offices, but usually not until the on-campus interview stage. If it’s similar at the other university, I think it’s a risk I’m ok taking. Thanks!

  14. Lora*

    Huh, good timing. An HR rep emailed me yesterday to say, I know you are in the interview process for Strictly Technical Job with Department A, but there’s a Half-Technical Half-Management Job in Department B and they’d also be interested and really we’d just like to have you here in some capacity and they kinda overlap…

    I’m going to be a bit torn if I got offered both. I know the Strictly Technical manager rather well and he’s good to work for, but on the other hand the Half-Management job may have more room to grow.

    1. Nerfmobile*

      Any company with that kind of coordination is probably not going to offer you both. I was once a hiring manager in a similar circumstance. Both positions liked the same top candidate, Xochitl. The Llama team had a meh second choice (Eztli), while the Alpaca team had a very strong second choice (Nahuatl). So Xochitl was offered the Llama position, and the Alpaca team got their second Nahuatl. It did work out for both teams and the candidates in the end – the Llama position also had a lot more room for growth which Xochitl took great advantage of, while Nahuatl did a solid job for the Alpaca team.

    2. Safetykats*

      I second that they are not likely to offer you both. Most companies are smart enough to not bid against themselves. If both managers want you, and there isn’t a clear priority for hiring – one department isn’t clearly in much greater need which would give them priority – they would most likely ask you to choose which offer you would prefer.

  15. hbc*

    Even if you’re pretty sure no one knows about any of your other applications, I’d play it as safe as possible with the cover letters. As in:
    -Make it clear that part of your motivation is that you like the company. That way if someone sees you applied 10 times, they have some context.
    -Show interest in the particular job so the hiring manager doesn’t think you’re just spamming but…
    -Don’t claim anything that’s contradictory with anything else you’ve written/might write. Your best class or favorite part of your last job shouldn’t shift from letter to letter–better to have enjoyed X in customer service, Y in documentation, and Z in number crunching.

    1. The Supreme Troll*

      All excellent points that even if one hiring manager finds out that the LW applied in another (or other departments), it would not reflect in the least that the LW was being insincere in her desire to join the company.

  16. Glacier*

    Alison, would it make sense for the letter writer to reach out to the HR department and ask them this same question? I could picture it going both ways.

  17. Florida*

    I think it matters the size of the company, but also the level of position. If you are applying for several different entry-level jobs, that’s a lot different than applying for CFO as well as General Counsel. There is often a lot of overlap in the skills required for entry level jobs.

    In my company, I’d apply for all of them. We have different recruiters for different jobs and they don’t always share the information as well as they should. (Very silo-ed)

    At Costco, they let you apply for cashier, stocker, deli person, etc. Or you can apply for “Any job that’s available”. I think that’s awesome. Because really for that type of retail job, the skills you need are pretty similar – they basically just want a normal, responsible person. And if you don’t have an exact skill (like you don’t know how to use the meat slicer), they can train you on that.

  18. King Friday XIII*

    At my current employer, the same job at different locations are all listed as separate applications on the website. We’re pretty small, so the same recruiter will be calling you regardless. I don’t think they’d mind if you applied to Llama Advisor – Gotham and Llama Advisor – Metropolis but it probably wouldn’t hurt to only apply once or twice and then give it a few days, rather than sending in twenty applications all at once.

  19. Where's my coffee?*

    I work in HR at a very large company. Our recruiters can see everything you’ve applied to, and HR can as well. Managers can’t see it, but if they wanted to know, I guess we’d discuss it. We have hundreds of openings each year, and wouldn’t hold it against an applicant for applying to numerous reqs, particularly if they’re all more at the entry level. It’s very common.

    The only time this would seem strange in my workplace would be if the jobs were really dissimilar, not entry level, and had very different requirements; say maybe applying for a CPA and an auto mechanic job simultaneously.

  20. Need A Change*

    Going to beat my favorite subject again! People apply to everything because they think they have to! It’s once a again a symptom of a larger issue. The black hole that is taleo (and other systems) pre-screening make us do this. I had a candidate one time tell me they just wanted someone to notice the resume. I get it! In my current hunt I feel the same way. Like if a recruiter sees my resume and decided to pass it along to another one because they see a fit that maybe the pre-screen did see. Example: I applied yesterday to two very similar jobs with the same company, but in different areas. My background met the qualification around 85% and my education met, but before the EOD I already “not under consideration” listed. Did anyone review? What kicked me out? So I keep plugin away and I have no idea who I can contact about seeing what might be blocking me.

    1. Safetykats*

      You say your background met the requirements about 85%, and that’s likely the problem. If the posting lists a set of required qualifications, you need to meet all of those. If the posting also lists desired qualifications, it’s okay to meet only some of those. But you could meet all required qualifications but one, and still be kicked out by the screening software. The only case in which that wouldn’t be true would be if an actual person reviewed your application and thought you had made a mistake – for example, if you talked about your professional license somewhere on your resume but didn’t indicate on the application that you had one. In that case someone might contact you to clarify, and ask you to resubmit a corrected application. But in most cases that wouldn’t happen, because they are likely getting enough applications that they don’t review anything that screens out as not meeting required qualifications.

      This is why it’s really important to read the posting in detail, and address all required qualifications. On the flip side, it’s also why you likely don’t need to waste your time applying if you are short a couple of years of experience, or a required certification or professional license. If they find out they really need to adjust their required qualifications to fill the position, they will repost it. Most organizations simply can’t hire someone who actually just doesn’t meet the requirements they listed.

      1. Phoenix Programmer*

        It’s actually very standard to hire folks who have 80% or less of the skills. Trying to hire 100% all the time leads to applicants having no growth room within the roll.

        1. Need A Change*

          Exactly!!!!! I think we are confusing requirements IE: Degree in related field, X number of years, and a licence vs Experience: Background with A, B, C, D, and E . When I say I meet 85% I meant experience. Now will I apply for a job that says they want 10 years when I’m at 8 1/2 of course I will. Will this kick my application out maybe, but I have never been one to say well I wanted 10 years, but they only have 8 1/2 so its a hard pass.

          As Phoenix said above hiring someone who hits all the check boxes is time consuming and I have found these people tend to be stop gap until they can move up. In my current role when I hire I do not have a recruiter or a screening process, but one of my last hires has been fantastic and would have never made it out of TALEO screening. To be fair job descriptions are often vague and open to cast a wide net. With that said raise your hand if you have ever worked at a place and it matched the job description 100%.

        2. Irene Adler*

          That’s not been my experience.
          Not only do I have to meet all of the job description requirements, I am asked about additional skills not listed in the job description. And when I indicate that I don’t have much experience in the additional skills, then I’m told I’m out of the running because the additional skills are a requirement.

  21. Triple Anon*

    I think this is one of those cases where it would really help to meet someone who works there and ask them about it. Not ask them to put in a good word for you or introduce you to anyone. Just ask about the culture and the hiring process and whether it would look good or bad to apply for multiple positions. From what I’ve seen, some companies are happy to find people who are just really enthusiastic about the company/industry and flexible about where they start. Sometimes that conveys dedication and a good work ethic, although it can also mean starting in the most entry level or hardest to fill role that you apply for. To avoid that, you might want to aim high – apply for the most desirable roles that you’re considering. You want to emphasize your value. Not, “I’ll do anything to work for you,” but, “I have a lot to offer and I really care about helping your company succeed.”

  22. Raven*

    Is the company Disney, by any chance? Because if you’re applying to a bunch of professional internships there, it’s really, really common to apply for more than one.

  23. Sapphire (formerly EnobyPro)*

    Oh my goodness, thank you so much for answering this question! I’ve been in contact with a recruiter at a certain company, and it seems like they really want to hire me. She suggested a position, I applied to it, but didn’t get it. I’ve been so worried that it would look bad if I applied to other positions, so I’ve just been going through the recruiter instead.

  24. sometimeswhy*

    We recruit for jobs that all sort of look the same but are very very different in practice. An absolute No, Not Even Minimum Quals for one could be perfect for another. The groups that don’t share hiring information won’t have any impact (positive or negative) and those that do tend more toward “Oh good, Trixie applied for you Llama brusher position. I was going to suggest you reach out to her. She wasn’t a good fit for my Llama pedicurist position but I can totally see her in a different grooming section.” And for us you absolutely HAVE to apply if you want it. We can invite you to, but we cannot hire off of someone else’s recruitment unless it’s for the exact same position.

    My only squint is that if you do, please for the love of all that is neat and tidy, rewrite your entire cover letter so you can avoid cascading edit mistakes. I had one recently that changed the position name THREE TIMES over the course of the letter. Two were positions here; one was a similar position that, say, works with alpacas, not llamas.

  25. Publishing*

    This sounds like publishing. If that’s the case and you are applying for assistant positions at different imprints with just slightly varied focuses within one company, it is fine to apply multiple times. Cater your cover letter to call out that imprint’s books that you like and why you’d be a good fit for them specifically, but everyone knows assistant jobs are hard to get and expects that you would apply across the board.

  26. I Coulda Been a Lawyer ;)*

    I’m a government worker and used to hire & supervise clerks. My counterparts in other depts wouldn’t hire anyone who had gone to college; I always hired the most qualified person. We all had mixed results. I lost 2 highly educated peeps to promotions after having them for a year and was thrilled for them. But others only remembered the genius who couldn’t be bothered to shower & report to work daily, let alone work. She wanted an ADA accommodation to watch the Olympics at her desk. Because the games are interesting and topical.

  27. Keener*

    At my company with our hiring portal I can only (easily) see the material a candidate has submitted in response to the specific positionthat I am the hiring manager for. However, in the system we can score candidates and make comments. If they have applied to another position I can see what comments my colleagues made about the candidate. These comments can help a candidate if they are along the lines of “interviewed well but not enough/too much experience” whereas if the comments are less favourable a candidate in my maybe interview pile rapidly become a no.

  28. Penny*

    As Alison said, it very much depends on the company and their application system. I work at a mid-sized org with an internally built application system. As HR, I can access all applicants in a database and see everyone who applied for every position. However, when people apply, the resume only goes to the manager(s) who are screening & interviewing for the position. So multiple people may be seeing each application. Also, if you’re applying for multiple positions screened by that manager, they will see that as well.

    If you are going to do this, especially for roles that are somewhat different (for example applying for sales and admin as opposed to applying for an admin role in two separate departments), you need to include a cover letter to explain why you’re interested in each role and the company itself. Don’t assume managers won’t talk to each other or HR (although this may be less likely at a large company). It sends a confusing message without an explanation via the cover letter.

    Also, read the requirements and only apply to jobs you are qualified for when you’re applying to multiple jobs. Ugh, my pet peeve. We have 3 jobs posted that are similar and in the same career arc, but very different levels of experience- one entry level, one requiring 3-6 years experience and one requiring a minimum 10 years of very specific experience–all clearly first thing in the requirements. But time and again, I get people apply for all 3 positions. If you are applying for the entry level role, you are clearly not qualified for the senior role! That just makes me think you didn’t bother or overlooked the the requirements which isn’t great for a role requiring attention to minute details. Apply to select ones that you actually have a shot at or it will really seem more like you are throwing darts at a board.

  29. AnonGD*

    This is timely– if anyone here has experience on the hiring side of things for creative agencies I’d be curious to know how you feel about this. I’ve just learned (through a professional contact who has worked with them in the past) that two positions will be opening up at an agency I’ve had my eye on for awhile. The first job has been posted and it’s definitely a stretch for me, it’s essentially a senior UI/UX role when I’ve been in a somewhat traditional, mid-career-type graphic design role. My contact doesn’t know what the second position will be since they’re rewriting the job descriptions from what they were.

    Ideally, I’d prefer a multimedia designer type position, but I am interested in the first job they posted. Just not sure if it’s wise to apply for two positions so close together for such a relatively small agency.

  30. Trina*

    I have another similar question. What if there are two positions open at the same time that you are qualified for, but one more so then the other? Do you apply separately or can you put that on your cover letter or email that you would like to be considered for both?

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