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How to Express Interest in a Job Without Being Desperate

by Ruth Mayhew, studioD

There's a fine line between determination and desperation. Desperation is a turn-off -- it can make a prospective employer wonder why you're so anxious. One way to get your resume tossed aside is to come across like you're begging for the job. From the day you submit your application to your final interview, practice restraint and demonstrate professional courtesy to express your interest in the job without making the recruiter or hiring manager develop a distaste for your overzealous job search technique.

Online Application Process

Many online application processes permit registration of just one job seeker account. With that account, you usually can apply for more than one job with a single profile. Select the positions you're interested in, drop them in your online "job cart" and submit your profile information and resume for consideration. Provided you don't apply for a dozen or so jobs, you won't come across as being desperate for any job. But to be on the safe side, limit it to two jobs.

Email Application

Follow the employer's instructions if you apply via email. Some companies prefer that you put the cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume in Microsoft Word or a similar format. Otherwise, attach your cover letter and resume to an email that states, for example, "Dear Ms. Smith, I'm interested in learning more about the sales manager position that was advertised on LinkedIn. My cover letter and resume are attached. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you." If you must, select "high importance" or "return receipt requested" in your email options, but not both.

Follow-Up Contact

Give the recruiter time to exhale before you start following up on your interest. Depending on the company or if it's a coveted job, the company could get dozens of applications or hundreds of them. Give the recruiter time to do a preliminary screening. If it's a small company, wait a couple of days before you call to ask when interviews will begin. Large organizations with sophisticated online application systems could have hundreds of applications to review before they decide which applicants to interview. In this case, wait at least two weeks before following up.


Without using too nonchalant a tone, tell the recruiter or hiring manager that you're interested in knowing more about the job. Until you know precisely what's expected of you, how you feel about the workplace culture and the hiring manager, and tangible matters like pay and benefits, you couldn't possibly know if you are "perfect for the job" or if you even want the job. Show enthusiasm but don't go overboard with it during your interview. Listen carefully to the interviewer's description of the job and give serious thought to how your qualifications match the company's expectations.

Final Selection

Weigh your decision carefully as you approach the selection stage or the hiring decision. You'll appear desperate if you accept the job offer even before you get it in writing, so ask the hiring manager to send you a job offer in writing and ask how much time you have to respond. But don't play hard-to-get. Express your appreciation for the hiring manager's confidence in your abilities and confirm the date on which you will respond.

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew began writing in 1985. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry" and "Human Resources Managers Appraisal Schemes." Mayhew earned senior professional human resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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