Proceed with Caution When Applying for Two Jobs at Same Company

Mike writes:
I am a IT professional with 10 years of experience and I have looking to move up in this field but as a supervisor or manager. I applied recently for a IT managerial position for company and I just noticed that there is also a supervisor position available. I meet both positions requirements but I only applied for one that is the manager position. I am very interested in working for this company. Here’s my question: Will also applying for the supervisor position hurt me? Can I use the same cover letter I did for the managerial position be the same for the supervisor position?

The Career Doctor responds:
I think the key to answering your questions is whether the same person is the hiring manager for both positions. Yes it could hurt you to apply to both positions because it conveys a lack of focus an “I’ll take anything” attitude. But that would be less true if different people are the hiring managers for the positions. I would definitely NOT use the same cover letter for the supervisor job.
One thing you could do is to acknowledge that you already applied for the managerial position but are also interested in the supervisor position. Something like:

I recently applied for [name of managerial position]; however I’m also very interested in and qualified for the [name of supervisor position] you are currently advertising.