Rage applying: What employers and job seekers need to know
For both employers and candidates, the job search can feel like a bit of a numbers game. More applications should give employers more opportunities to find the best candidate. More applications should give job seekers a better shot at landing a position. In short, more applications should mean more chances to get it right.
In reality though, quantity often sabotages quality—and it’s given rise to yet another workplace buzzword that has gained steam: rage applying.
Rage applying: The random and ramshackle approach
It’s exactly what it sounds like: When applicants, fed up with their current roles or jaded about the job search in general, feverishly and haphazardly fire off a bunch of job applications in succession (sometimes as many as dozens at a time) without investing appropriate energy, care, and consideration into their materials.
This slapdash approach causes problems on both sides of the hiring relationship. Employers are left to sift through towering piles of generic, copy-paste resumes while applicants destroy their chances of standing out from the competition and potentially even put scuffs into their own professional reputations.
Recruiters are wising up
Unfortunately for job seekers, this blanket approach to job applications is typically easy for recruiters to spot. There are plenty of warning signs that indicate an application was pulled together in a hurry—as if the candidate just pulled another resume off the assembly line. These red flags include:
Blatant errors, like attaching the wrong file or including the wrong company in the cover letter.
Sloppy typos and other grammatical errors (one is usually innocent, but any more than that indicates carelessness and unnecessary urgency).
Generic key skills and responsibilities, rather than ones that are tailored to the specific role.
Lack of personalization in the cover letter or application email.
Short, incomplete, or non-existent answers to application questions.
And even if an employer doesn’t detect a rage applicant in the initial round of resume reviews, their true intentions typically quickly bubble to the surface in an interview. During those conversations, the applicant will often:
Complain frequently about their current job, employer, or the job search.
Fail to ask any targeted questions about the position or company.
Show up unprepared with little to no knowledge of the role or employer.
Slowing down can speed up the job search
It’s important for candidates to recognize and remember that the job application isn’t just a first step or a formality—it’s their first impression.
The application is an opportunity not just to highlight the technical capabilities an applicant brings to the table, but also crucial soft skills like critical thinking, emotional intelligence, positivity, and curiosity—all of which are nearly impossible to demonstrate with a rapid-fire and thoughtless approach.
So before you fire off handfuls of applications in the interest of boosting your own odds, take a few breaths. As counterintuitive as it may seem, sometimes the best way to push your own job search forward is to simply slow down.
Talent is not only the big equalizer, but it is oftentimes the competitive edge a business needs to stay ahead of the curve.