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How many positions to apply for?


Adam Knighting Ponte Vedra, FL

How many positions is too many to apply for at the same company? I am looking to get into a certain line of business of a company and there are a number of positions that I feel I am qualified for, however I am no longer being considered for the two positions that I really wanted. Is it ok to keep applying to positions in the same division or does it look bad? I have heard of companies that won't even look at you once you have multiple applications completed.

23 July 2018 11 replies General



Tom Adam El Segundo, CA

It's important not to become what we call a "serial applicant", i.e. - someone who applies for anything and everything they see. As for how many is too many, well, I think you'd have a hard time beating the record of someone who applied at my last company a total of -- hold your breath -- 14 THOUSAND times!

The most important consideration is not how many you apply to, but rather how many you apply to that you have a reasonable chance of actually being considered for. Many people take the view that they should apply if they believe they can do the job, but that's not really the best mindset to take. The better to approach is to think in terms of the person reviewing your resume: It's not so much if you think you can do the job, but rather will the person looking at your resume think so? Put yourself in their shows when you decide to apply.


Jodi Finn Sterling, VA

Hi Adam,

I will give a large company perspective. Here at Raytheon, we have over 2000 jobs listed on average at one time. It is to your benefit to apply to as many of them as look good to you. Then check again the next day as they change daily and apply to more. As in the other comments, check for accuracy in your submittals. Good luck and thank you for your service! Here is a link to our veterans related jobs:

Jodi Finn


Paul Bird Midlothian, VA

You have received some good answers to your question. I would be interested in how you are applying for these positions. Are you filling out on line applications? If so, are you sending cover letters and resumes? Are you proof reading them before sending to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors? I would encourage you to do this on every piece of correspondence, including questions posted on this board.


Ronald Bossert Bethlehem, PA

Hi Adam:
I think there is no problem in applying for multiple positions in a company. I know of many managers who applied to numerous positions, did not get one or two of them, then went forward and was hired because if was a good fit. You mention that you did not get
considered for two so what do you have to lose. It also depends on what departments the other position are located. I am currently working with a young high potential manager who is facing the exact situation; in fact he initially interviewed with this company, did not get the job after interviewing, and then about 6 months later another position became available and was hired. Be sure you closely assess the positions and decide that you are really interested in them and not "just settling" for anything. My advice is go for it.


Richard Beavers Nashua, NH

Hi Adam,

Thanks for your service!

As a hiring manager, I don’t usually look at how many jobs an applicant has applied for.

I am most attracted to applicants who have a well-written cover letter that connects the facts on their resume and their desire for the position with the requirements I wrote in the job description.

That is your first impression and it needs to be excellent. No typos or grammar errors. Take the time to make it powerful, tight, on point, and compelling.

It gives me insight into your thinking and communication skills. It shows me how I could expect you to represent me to others, if I hired you.

May the Lord bless you with an excellent career in the private sector where you can make a diffeence as part of a winning team.



Paul Trejo Austin, TX

Thanks, Adam, for your years of service.

In my experience, the perceived limit of job applications will vary widely, company by company. Such a strategy will be poorly received at some companies, because they will consider it a "shotgun approach."

Although their Job Position postings may be less than optimal, yet most companies take pride in them, or at least will stand by their HR department. In other words, many will resent the "shotgun approach" and might ding you for paying too little attention to their job position ilstings.

Here's a better strategy, in my opinion.

1. Study the company at a personal level. Know the names of the Executives -- and try to learn the names of the Managers of the Department you seek to enter (only as publicly available, sir -- never pry into private data).

2. Learn the Stock Market abbreviation for this company, and buy at least one share of stock in the company. Never tell anybody how many (or how few) shares you own. This will look good for you.

3. Learn the history of the company. Who was the founder? What year was that? Who bought them out? What year was that? When was the last take-over? Are they currently undergoing a recent takeover with its Reorg trauma?

4. What technology is their specialty? IT MAY BE LISTED IN THE JOB POSTING.

5. Ensure that the technology they seek is listed with an EXACT spelling MATCH in your resume.

6. Include ALL this information in your COVER LETTER. Your chances of getting that interview are increased substantially by this.

In my humble opinion, I would only submit one Resume at a time -- and wait one month between submissions. I myself would avoid a "shotgun approach", since I would worry how that might be received by that HR department.

Very best wishes to you,


Steven Mathews Spring, TX

The networking comments are right on.

Most job positions have an HR Reference number. You can send the same resume to separate HR Reference numbers. Your resume will be forwarded to the Hiring Manager associated with that HR Reference number. While one Hiring Manager may not be interested, another may be excited to talk to you.

Just above the "Summary of Experience" section, insert "Objective: Widget Developer (WD-123-4)". Then that resume will be directed to that Hiring Manager for their review.


Brian Fox Voorhees, NJ

Hello Adam,

As Maddie stated, the answer isn't the same for every company, but I'd try to avoid submitting multiple applications/resumes to the same one in general. Instead, I would consider stating in my cover letter that I'm primarily interested in one position, but "I'd like to learn more/I also have interest in the following opportunities that I found on your website" (followed by listing them) as a means to demonstrate that you're open to more than one position.

This will get your point across without confusing the company and making them possibly (and incorrectly) assuming that your applications are coming in from multiple recruiters. It also reduces the number of overall letters, resumes and applications that they need to review overall which I'm certain that they'll appreciate.

Good luck!



Dan Eddinger Cary, NC

Yes to the part about reaching out to someone in the company. I had pretty good success connecting with someone for a discussion when I was just getting out. A linked in note that mentions transitioning military is pretty effective, maybe 50% or so. Use you network to see if you already have a connection into the organization or have someone else do the same. Alternatively, have a mentor brainstorm with you on what you're looking for and there may be a different angle to get the same effect. I'd be glad to help if you need it.


Jack Hollis Tucson, AZ

Hi Aham, I agree with the answer from Maddie and I would add find someone working at the company and express your interest in working there and try to get some tips on preferences on how they hire. I would try to arrange an information gathering interview in the section you are interested in or with the HR department. Make your interest in the company known and normally that will help in securing a job there.
The best to you on your search.

Jack Hollis


Maddie Coffin New York, NY

Hi Adam,

Thank you for your service and your question! I think it will be very helpful for you to read this article from Fast Company addressing that exact question:

The answer isn’t always the same for each company, but in general, applicants should focus on applying to one position at a specific company at a time. Another strategy this article mentions is calling the hiring manager to show your interest in working for that organization and to get their feedback on best next steps.

I’d also encourage you to try networking within the organization utilizing the community tab of ACP AdvisorNet as well. What’s most important is applying to positions you are most qualified for to best reflect your strong interest in the position.

I hope this is helpful! Please feel free to reach out with any more questions.


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