How Can You Use the Latest Career Trend ‘Rage Applying’ to Your Advantage?

Rage applying

In the latest instalment of ‘things people have been doing for ages but have now been given a name, thanks to TikTok’, ‘rage applying’ is currently trending on the platform.

Hot on the heels of other TikTok-originating career trends like quiet quitting and career cushioning, Gen Z-ers and younger Millennials are sharing their stories about how they aren’t being appreciated in their roles, prompting them to apply to other jobs so they can leave their current situations.

“This is your sign to keep rage applying for jobs,” TikTok user @Redweez said in a video posted in December 2022. “Because I got mad at work and I rage applied to, like, 15 jobs, and then I got a job that gave me a [USD] $25,000 raise and it’s a great place to work. So keep rage applying. It’ll happen.”

Whether it was a result of this viral TikTok, or just more people feeling unsettled in their careers for whatever reason, data from the career site SEEK shows that applications per job ad listed picked up 10.4% in December when compared to the previous month. It’s the second-largest increase in applications per ad recorded since mid-2020.

Related: ‘Job Crafting’ Promises More Fulfilment in Your Career, But Is It Just… More Work?

Related: Should You Be Jumping on the Latest Career Trend and ‘Quiet Quitting’ Your Job?

Leah Lambart, career coach at Relaunch Me, says the act of rage applying is nothing new. She describes it as when an employee applies to multiple advertised positions in quick succession in response to their frustrations with their current workplace. It might be in reaction to a bad day in the office, an argument with a colleague, low pay, or poor working conditions.

So, why do we find ourselves in less-than-ideal work situations anyway? Lambart says it’s because it can take a significant amount of time and headspace to actually look for an alternative role. Employees first need to search for the right job, spend time tailoring a resume, drafting a cover letter, and then attending and preparing for an interview. Some roles may also require other testing as part of the assessment process.

“That takes a significant investment of both time and effort, and may be very difficult if someone is already working long hours and doing work that they find exhausting,” Lambart says. “Sometimes it’s easier to just stay in the role and complain.”

Lambart says she’s worked with clients who are in very toxic work environments that have greatly impacted both their physical and mental health and in those cases, rage applying can be a positive if it spurs someone to leave that negative environment.

“That said, I would also encourage employees to explore whether they can make any internal changes to improve their current work situation, whether that be a conversation with a manager about how the current situation is negatively impacting them or whether they can even explore options to move into a different area of the business,” she says.

The reason for this, Lambart says, is that oftentimes managers can be completely blindsided when an employee resigns and may’ve been able to make some changes to improve their situation had they known about the issues in the first place.

Also good to keep in mind with rage applying is that Lambart says she’d never encourage quantity over quality. Instead, she says employees are far better off spending time drafting a few quality applications each week that are well thought-out and tailored to the job ad, rather than sending out multiple generic applications and hoping one happens to stick.

Bottom line? Rage applying can be a positive if it’s spurring an unhappy employee into taking action and starting their job search. The better option though is to remember that the grass may not always be greener.

“Speak to others in your industry or at competitor organisations to understand how your salary and working conditions compare to others doing similar work,” says Lambart.

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