Should You Apply Through LinkedIn or the Company Website?
Long story short: applying through the company’s website is the better choice. You will stand out from most candidates and show more commitment.
Today, you can apply for a job almost anywhere online. Most companies have profiles on job boards, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other websites. They also have their own sites that usually include career portals. Eventually, your resume should end up in the same place - an applicant tracking system (ATS). So why should you care about how to send your resume anyway?
The answer is not straightforward and may vary from company to company, as different organizations use different ATS software and have different processes in place. But more often than not, you will find that applying directly via the company’s website maximizes your chances of securing an interview. Read further to better understand why.
Reasons to apply directly through the company’s website
There is a saying that a company’s website is like a salesperson who’s working 24/7. You could also say that about it being a recruiter. On most such websites, you may find information about the company culture, its values, and how the organization treats, takes care of, and invests in the employees. This can help to decide if it’s the right company to work for. But there's more to it for you.
1. Your resume will not be lost in the clutter
When you open any job opening on LinkedIn, you will see that either a lot of people applied to it or no one did. Many people on LinkedIn apply to tons of companies, which pumps up the candidate numbers. Sometimes, recruiters won’t have enough time to go through hundreds of often inadequate resumes from around the world, but they will always read the resumes received through the company’s website.
2. It’s very straightforward
All companies strive to optimize the recruitment process. For this reason, they simplify the application processes. When applying via the majority of modern careers portals, you will just add your full name and email address, upload a resume, and click a “send” button.
3. You show commitment
Traffic analytics suggest that people who apply for jobs directly almost always browse through other pages on the website to learn more about the company. Doing so cues the recruitment team that a candidate might be a better cultural fit. After all, such a candidate shows interest in the company culture and probably already understands the basics of what a company does.
4. There is no middleman
LinkedIn is a middleman for business and recruitment. If their systems are down or a recent update introduced an unexpected issue with information sharing to the ATS, that creates a barrier between you and your potential employer. By applying directly through the website, your resume goes straight to the system the talent acquisition team utilizes.
5. You gain more detailed info
LinkedIn limits the amount of information in a job post, but the careers portal doesn’t have such limitations. Most often than not, the jobs you consider are similar to each other, so your decisions will naturally depend on the details.
6. It’s possible to get creative
By applying directly through the website, you can add more information about yourself in the “message” field, include links to your portfolio or code repository, or upload an additional file. You can use these possibilities to highlight your skills and share what makes you unique. Get creative and assume that the more relevant information you can provide, the happier your recruiter will be!
7. You will submit your resume in the company’s preferred format.
After they receive your CV, recruiters input the information from your resume into their ATS. By uploading your CV in their preferred file format, you help them in this work as your info will be easy to copy or import. Most careers portals specify what format is best to use.
Are there any downsides to direct application?
The only downside to applying directly through the website is that it can take a little more of your time. You’ll have to find the web address, go to the careers portal, look for the role that interests you, and then apply with your resume and contact details. The benefits significantly outweigh this downside, even if these additional steps can annoy you a bit.
Why is LinkedIn a good place to apply for a job?
LinkedIn is the favorite platform for recruiters, entrepreneurs, and people who work in the B2B space. It’s not an overstatement to say that almost all specialists have a LinkedIn profile.
With tons of posted job openings, an unparalleled job recommendation system that suggests roles that fit the candidate’s profile, and an elaborate search engine, LinkedIn is also an excellent platform for job seekers. Moreover, once you optimize your profile, you’ll start to get messages from recruiters inviting you to join their recruitment process.
Below are five more reasons to apply for a job via LinkedIn.
1. It’s extremely easy
You already have most of the relevant information about your career on your LinkedIn profile. A lot of times, all you need to do to apply is hit the “Easy Apply” button that shares your profile with the recruiter. You don’t even have to leave the platform to do it.
2. It’s blazingly fast
Applying for a job via LinkedIn takes nearly no time. You just go to the “Jobs” tab, browse the suggested roles and apply to the ones that stand out to you. Sometimes you’ll need to attach more documents, but LinkedIn can store the recent ones for you. Usually, though, a resume and your profile are enough.
3. LinkedIn is a networking platform
There are over 850 million users on LinkedIn. You obviously don’t know most of them, but you certainly can connect with people from previous companies, schools, or organizations. Then, you can use these connections to apply for a role at your dream company or even ask your colleagues to refer you to a recruiter. On top of that, if recruiters find it difficult to decide on a candidate, they will sometimes turn to mutual connections for referrals.
4. LinkedIn will recommend you other similar jobs
LinkedIn offers a sprawling recommendation system for job seekers. Using keywords and locations in your search will inform the LinkedIn suggestion system, so the platform will notify you about similar roles once you start the job search. It’s a huge help if you think about relocating to a different city or country, especially since you can pick which alerts you want to receive.
5. Your resume is already there
The more information your recruiter receives about your career and skills, the better. That’s the number one reason to build a current resume comprising all relevant information for the desired role. Once you upload a resume to apply via LinkedIn, the portal can hold it for you to use the next time you apply for a job.
The downsides of applying through LinkedIn
If you use LinkedIn, you know it is far from perfect. It’s a fantastic networking platform, but it’s not the best choice when you really, really want that new job. Here are the four biggest downsides of applying for a job via LinkedIn.
1. All attractive openings get numerous applicants
Simplicity can be a blessing and a curse. The ease of applying via LinkedIn results in many candidates doing it. A considerable share of these candidates don’t fit the role at all, but to find that out, the recruiter has to first go through their resumes. It can be tiring, and mistakes happen when you’re tired. On the other hand, only a handful of candidates apply directly on the company’s website, so the resumes received that way are often read more carefully.
2. Your application won’t stand out
When applying with the “Easy Apply” button, you have no room for customizing your application in any way. Of course, it’s much faster to do so, but in a competitive job market, companies will always prefer candidates willing to invest some time and effort into the application.
3. The predefined template dictates what you can share
LinkedIn makes it easy to apply but often it’s impossible to share portfolios, links, or presentations. You have to conform to fields that can’t be modified, and sometimes you won’t be able to share your best assets with the recruitment team in your preferred way.
4. It can reduce your chances when changing career paths
Changing a career path can be difficult on its own. Your LinkedIn profile, filled with skills and experience irrelevant to the roles you apply for, can further damage your chances of getting hired. In cases like this, your explanation of why you want to make this change, what’s your motivation behind it, and how what you already know applies to the new career choice is crucial to the recruiter. Applying via LinkedIn will often leave the recruiter without it. They will simply see that your experience doesn’t fit the role and dismiss your application.
In the end, if you are a good fit for the role, it doesn’t really matter if you apply through LinkedIn, the company’s website, or anywhere else. Disregarding some rare cases, the recruiter will receive your resume, examine it, and see your qualifications either way. That said, putting some effort into resume customization and the application process can significantly improve your hiring chances. Applying via the company’s website is a hint that you’re serious about changing your jobs and a sign you’re enthusiastic about the role in question. It’s also the easiest way to ensure you will stand out from other candidates.