Applying for a job using LinkedIn's Easy Apply feature is tempting, but you should use it with caution.

Applying for a job in today's market can be tough — and time consuming. You'll spend anywhere between 15 minutes to more than an hour filling out a single application. 

While some of those job applications will parse information from your resume, partially filling in the blanks, others will require you to dig through files to find every residential address, job, and supervisor you've had for the last 10 years. 

This leads many frustrated job seekers to turn to simpler methods, like LinkedIn's "Easy Apply" button. But is that really the best way to apply for a job?

What is the "Easy Apply" button?

LinkedIn has become a first-stop for many job applicants; why shouldn't you go to LinkedIn to look for a job? There are over 20 million jobs listed, with some companies only using LinkedIn to find candidates. To make applying easier on job seekers, LinkedIn created the “Easy Apply” button. 

This option provides you with a simple way to apply for a job: You click the button and enter your email address and phone number, and that's it! Sometimes you'll be required to upload your resume, while sometimes it's optional. Either way, it makes applying to a job as easy as clicking a few buttons.

Should you use LinkedIn's “Easy Apply” feature?

Unfortunately, the "Easy Apply" button is similar to emailing your resume to a bunch of hiring managers and hoping someone opens the email. When you choose to apply to a job without uploading your resume, the only thing employers get is access to your LinkedIn profile. 

Initially, all they will see is “[Candidate Name] applied to [Job Title]” along with your profile photo, headline, and location. If you haven't taken the time to perfect your LinkedIn profile and write a catchy headline, then you're not standing out from the crowd. 

This means there's no incentive for the employer to look at your profile in detail. If they're not reading about your experiences, what's the point in applying?

“So what … ?”

Everything you send in response to a job opening must answer the employer's “So what…?” question. As you are probably aware, hiring managers only spend about six seconds glancing at a resume before deciding if the candidate is a fit. Imagine how little time they're spending sifting through a bunch of emails from LinkedIn with a candidate's name and profile headline. 

How long do you spend scanning your own email looking for the messages you're going to open? Which messages do you ultimately read? Usually the ones from people you know or has a compelling subject, right? 

The headline on your LinkedIn profile is your subject line, so make sure it covers the following: 

  • Does your LinkedIn profile have a headline that answers the “So what…?” question? 

  • Will it entice a hiring manager to open your application? 

If not, then your application will end up in a black hole. 

Why LinkedIn doesn't answer the hiring manager's questions

The information contained in your profile provides a high-level overview of your professional accomplishments, experiences, skills, and education. It is your personal brand and is meant to be used as a networking tool, with LinkedIn providing the platform for you to reach out to people in your industry, relevant recruiters, and even hiring managers.

Of course, your LinkedIn profile can be optimized so you show up in searches that recruiters perform when they seek candidates. However, they still need to know what value you add to their company — and hiring managers may not be able to tell if you're a good fit from your LinkedIn profile alone.

Your targeted resume to the rescue

Meanwhile, your keyword-rich resume shines a bright spotlight on career accomplishments as they relate to a particular job. Resume writers, hiring managers, HR personnel, and recruiters all advise that you tweak your resume with each job to which you apply

That specificity and customization are what helps companies gain an understanding of how you add value to their team. If they feel like you're a good fit, then you win an interview. 

Does all of this mean you should never use “Easy Apply”? 

Never is a heavy word; there are two acceptable times you can effectively use the “Easy Apply” button: 

1. When you intend to upload your targeted and keyword-rich resume with the application

Be aware that even if you're intending to attach a resume to your “Easy Apply” application, that hiring managers will still see your LinkedIn profile first. The resume you upload is provided to the employer as a hyperlink on your application. 

Your resume will only be read if the hiring manager doesn't feel they're getting enough information from your LinkedIn profile. If your LinkedIn profile turns them off in any way, they may not bother reading your resume at all. 

2. When you intend to follow-up

Companies have become savvy to the fact that job seekers only glance at job descriptions when there is an “Easy Apply” button. For them, the “Easy Apply” option tells them that you just clicked a button and probably have no clue as to the full extent of the job. 

However, when you follow up with them, it shows you're truly interested. Following-up also gets your name in front of them more than one time. 

In a world where “there are no shortcuts to any place worth going” (Beverly Sills), using the “Easy Apply” feature for your dream job is less than advisable. You will be able to properly market your skills to a job with a great resume. Use your LinkedIn profile for what it was intended — networking.

Ready to impress prospective employers? Make sure your resume is too by working with one of our expert writers

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