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Quality Over Speed
What you need to know before rushing in your job application
“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” — Chinese Proverb
Quality is not the same as speed.
I was chatting with a close friend a couple of years ago. Let’s call him John. It was one of those quiet evenings when there wasn’t much to do, so we had all the time to chat through our challenges.
He knew I had just completed my postgraduate degree and was open to job opportunities.
He didn’t tell me what had happened immediately. All I noticed was an innocent smile on his face. I immediately asked him why.
He told me a job had been posted and advised that I left everything else I was doing to send my application, as I might be considered for the role because I would most likely be the first to apply. He stated that being the first to apply for a new position will put me ahead of others and help me land the opportunity.
John’s statement got me thinking.
The First Can Become The Last
“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize”
— Shigeo Shingo
I know the rush of job applications, especially when it comes to online applications.
Employers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for a single role. Depending on the company’s popularity, this can even run into thousands.
So, I understood his point when he said I needed to be the first to apply for the role.
Unfortunately, this does not work as you think it does.
Being the first to apply for a role doesn’t automatically mean the recruiter will shut the application and ring you up immediately to schedule you for an interview. The hiring manager might not even notice your application until after the application window has passed.
The Downsides Of Rushing In
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” — William A. Foster
While sending your application as soon as possible is a great idea, there are downsides to rushing in.
Employers take quality time to prepare position descriptions for job ads and therefore warrants quality application to be received from the end of the applicants.
Unfortunately, rushing your application five minutes after the job was posted to impress the employer does not automatically mean the job will be handed to you like fresh cake straight out of the oven.
In most cases, the quality of your application may not contain keywords that can go through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) system. Your application might also contain errors that can cost you the job. Rushing in to impress the employer might cause you more harm than good.
Your Goal Is To Put In A Quality Application
“Quality is not act. It is a habit.” — Aristotle
Sending an application five minutes after it’s posted is nearly impossible.
I believe the real goal should be to apply as soon as possible but with a quality application. What’s the use of applying for a job if you wouldn’t be considered? Instead, take your time to target your application to the job ad and submit a quality application.
I have applied for jobs severally, and I can tell you it does take time to prepare a solid application. Despite my experience as a career advisor, it still takes me about 4–6 hours to submit a quality response to a job application.
So, I was confident it wasn’t good advice to apply immediately after the job was posted to impress the recruiting manager.
A recruiter will not be impressed by receiving a generic application immediately after posting a job. They are unlikely to see your application. If they do, it’s doubtful it will be considered because it will be generic.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” — Unknown
Don’t confuse quality with speed.
You might have been job hunting for a while and need to submit your application for a dream job immediately.
While it’s generally a good idea to apply as soon as possible, you also want to ensure you don’t neglect quality in the process.
Speed is not the same as quality. Take the time you need to develop a strong application and then apply.
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