Woman in the office throwing confetti all over herself

Confetti job application is something almost all of us have done at one stage or another. You open your browser, and you apply to just about every open position you find, regardless of your qualifications or even your interest.

There will be a time and place in your life where confetti application works well. But these are very specific circumstances and shouldn’t happen every time you are applying for a new job.

When confetti job application works

Consider the following instances: you’ve just received your Working Holiday Visas and you want to travel internationally. Or you really want to spend your summer at a certain beach town.  Or maybe you’re simply back from school for a summer.  You need to find a way to support yourself fast! In these cases, you’re either looking for a position where you get the perk that encouraged you to go there – i.e. on the ski resort to get your staff season pass – or looking for any old job that you won’t hate doing for a couple of months.

In these situations – in our opinion – you can apply to pretty much anything and everything.  Apply away!  Your employer and you will know that this is just a short term position, not a career; when you part ways with your company, it will be amicable, with you both getting what you needed out of the relationship. If you plan on making a return the next year, you will have a great chance of being hired back on to the same position, or with the same company in another temporary role.

When confetti job application doesn’t work

During periods of high unemployment, we begin to notice an increase in the number of people who are adopting the confetti job application mentality. Sometimes it’s because they’ve been out of work so long that it’s begun to affect their financial stability, and other times it’s because they’ve stuck with a job they hate for far too long, and they’ve begun, in essence, to panic.  Though they may start by applying to jobs they are really interested in AND qualified for, they soon find themselves applying to almost any job they come across.

While we understand why a job search can devolve in this way and we sympathize with people in this situation, we also recognize that there are serious flaws with this that are generally not thought about in advance.

One of the first issues we come across with confetti job application are candidates who can’t remember what companies/positions they’ve applied to.  Getting a call for one of the ‘good’ positions you’ve applied for and then telling the recruiter or hiring manager that you don’t really remember applying to it creates a poor first impression.  Try to avoid being in a situation where you have to say “I can’t remember that role, I’ve applied for a lot of jobs”.

Also, when you are confetti job applying there is a strong likelihood that you will actually get called in to interview for a job you are only 5% interested in. Typically this goes one of two ways: either you turn down the interview when you are called, or you go for the interview and appear uninterested the whole way through. Either way, you leave the hiring Manager feeling annoyed, and you’ve wasted time that could have been spent on someone who truly wanted that role.

Worst case scenario is when you go ahead and take that job you (confetti) applied for but don’t actually want.  We both know you will keep searching and, when you end up leaving 3 months later, it will leave a bitter taste with that company. They will feel like you wasted both their time and training resources.   And potentially, an even larger problem may arise.  We never know who we will end up working with down the road; that manager that you walked out on could be someone you need to impress later on in your career.

How to avoid confetti job application when you really need a job

We know that this is a hard thing to avoid, especially when you have bills to pay or a family to support. But what you need to do is come at the problem from a different angle. Be more strategic when you are applying.

  • Keep a full updated list of all the jobs you are applying for. That way when a hiring manager calls you, you can ask then to give you the company name again and to hold while you locate all the job details. This gives you a chance to pull up your spreadsheet, type the company name in, or locate and click the link through to the job posting. Not only have you demonstrated that you are detail-orientated before a conversation starts, but you will now be able to have a proper discussion on the role because you have the job description in front of you.
  • Before you are apply to a role that you may be overqualified for, take some time to investigate the company. Find out what they do and if they will have the room for you to grow that you will want in a couple of months. Talk about that in your cover letter. Explain to them where you can enhance the role that you are applying for, and what you would like long term as well as a reasonable timeline for it to happen in. The hiring manager now has a full idea of what you can do for them as well as what you will be looking for in return before they even speak to you.
  • Only apply for roles where you are interested in the company, their product, or the position. You may not always be interested in all three, but you need to be interested in at least two. By doing so, you are giving yourself a chance to really like a new role. You always should ask yourself, “Would I be happy here for 2 years?”, and, if the answer is ‘No’, then don’t apply.
  • Remember there is a difference between being underqualified and not being qualified at all. We always recommend you apply for the roles you know you are capable of doing even if you are missing one or two qualifications. Many job descriptions are a list of all of the preferred qualifications – most people applying won’t necessarily have done everything the position asks for. But if the position is for an IT Technician and you don’t know how to turn a computer on – don’t apply. It is a waste of your time going through the application process when you can use that time much more effectively to apply for roles you can do.

Being out of a job for a long period of time is incredibly frustrating, and the longer it goes on for the harder it gets. Be vigilant not to let the desperation creep in as time goes on. Be confident in your excellent abilities and apply for the roles you want and can do. When you get that call for a job interview you really want, it will be worth all your patience.

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