Job applications: Saturation bombing and selective sniping

The two fundamentally opposed schools of thought on job applications have literally nothing in common. The saturation bombing concept involves going for every possible job, anything and everything where there's a chance of success. The selective sniping method involves targeting and going for jobs where there's a high probability of success.

Saturation bombing

The saturation bombing method is widely advocated as the best statistical chance of getting interviews, through sheer numbers of applications. It's also the 'nothing to lose' option, where any result is considered good. It's often recommended as looking good when reporting your activities to Social Security, because you can show that you've been going for a lot of jobs.

In fairness to saturation bombing, it does occasionally get results, much the same way people occasionally win prizes in lotteries. But there are some serious problems. The huge numbers of applications can be uneconomic for job seekers. It's an enormous effort for nothing, if it doesn't work. People do in fact regularly do hundreds of job applications, and get nowhere.

There's also reason to think that the quality of applications suffers, because of a combination of time and the sheer volume of applications. Can people do a great job application a hundred times in a row? We doubt it, and we don't really see why they should be expected to have to do that, as a purely methodology-based approach.

Far more seriously, the huge effort is also a huge mental and emotional strain on job seekers. The lack of success can be extremely discouraging. That's not really acceptable, as these jobs were being applied for mainly on principle, rather than with any real expectations of success. The discouragement can cause serious stress, even depression, and it's quite unnecessary.

The broad definition of the saturation bombing approach is 'inefficient.' It's very much a matter of opinion whether the effort gets much recognition from anyone, either. If there's a recorded instance of anybody showing the slightest appreciation of this gigantic amount of effort, it must have been decades ago. The sheer grind of large numbers of job applications, and the unbelievably low success rate, is apparently considered normal.

Selective sniping

The exact opposite of saturation bombing, selective sniping, means literally going for the best shot at a job. This is a fully targeted approach, and it has been created by the realities of the job market. The modern hiring process is geared to reducing the numbers of applications, another great recommendation for avoiding the saturation bombing approach. Selective sniping is far more efficient, gives a reasonable chance of success at surviving the screening process, and the hit rate is a lot higher.

Methods of screening are now so far advanced that even candidates who fully qualify for jobs don't get interviews. Job seekers must have a credible chance of success to reassure and motivate themselves and ensure application quality. Selective sniping always beats saturation bombing, any day of the week.