Why You Should Pick Your Top 3 Employers...Then Apply Everywhere

Job applications are hard.

Not only are you spending your time going to company events, researching roles and writing your CV, along with your usual life…but you also need to make some really big decisions, like deciding WHAT you want to do and WHERE you want to work.

We’ve been through this all ourselves, and we’ve spoken to hundreds of students since.

And there are a few big mistakes we see time and time again.

Sometimes we see students that are too focused. They apply to their top 1-2 dream employers...then never getting an interview and wondering what went wrong.

Or students have no focus. They run around crazily and apply everywhere, but really have no idea what they really want, what role is really right for them, and may end up having 1-2 offers at the end of it that they don’t really want.

Instead, follow our “two-tier” strategy to help get you the best result.

1. Focus on Your Top 3

Your job application process will be less than optimal if you don’t invest some time to think about what you really want to do.

Explore your options, speak to companies, and get some insight into the industry, types of roles and types of companies where you want to work. Do this early on in the lead up to the application process.

Then prioritise your top 3 roles. Actually pick them! Write them down, put them on the top of your job application spreadsheet.

Focus on getting your applications written for these targets as a priority, and invest 50-75% of your time on these applications. Invest the time to customise your CV/cover letter/application for these companies. And get your applications in comfortably before the deadline for these roles.

2. Then Apply Everywhere Else

Great. You’ve identified your priorities, invested your time looking at these roles, and got 3 stellar knock-out applications.

Now buy yourself option value. Leverage those 3 applications, and apply for as many relevant “second-tier” roles/companies as available.

Look at roles with competitors or mid-sized companies. Consider interstate (or international) roles.

And consider adjacent industries. For example, if you’re focused on investment banking roles, also look at Big 4 valuation roles. If you’re looking at management consulting roles, look at implementation or IT consultants too.

Why? Firstly, more applications means more probability of landing an interview. That also means you might have more interview practice for the target roles you really care about.

Also, sometimes through the process you meet great people, or learn more about roles, and change your mind.

And finally, sometimes things don’t work out, you don’t get through the process, you muck up an interview.

Like anything in life, it’s all about balance.

Using a two-tier strategy - where you spend most of your time to focus on your top 3 roles, and apply a “mass-application” approach to apply for a number of other relevant roles, maximise your opportunities - will help you get the most out of your applications.