Job searching can be time-consuming. It can be tempting to hit the "Easy Apply" button so that you can breeze through the application process. But, it is not always the best option. Here is what you need to know about what happens when you hit "Easy Apply" when applying to a Job on LinkedIn.

What Easy Apply is on LinkedIn

Companies can post jobs on the LinkedIn job board. The default for the system is for the candidates to apply through LinkedIn. This will be shown in the job posting as "Easy Apply / Apply Now." The information that is sent to the company when you click this button to apply depends on how you have set up your profile. In most cases, clicking "Easy Apply" means that you are not sending an actual resume. Instead, you are sending a resume that LinkedIn automatically generates from the information on your profile. You do not have the ability to change the information that is sent to the employer after you hit Easy Apply.

Companies can also choose to direct the candidates to their job board. When they do that, you will see an "Apply" button instead of the "Easy Apply/ Apply Now" button on the LinkedIn job posting. In that case, you will be directed to the posting on the companies career page when you click the button.

When to Do it

There are times when it makes sense to use the Easy Apply button to apply to jobs on LinkedIn. Here are the times when it can be effective to use the Easy Apply button.

You Have an Updated, Complete LinkedIn Profile

Because Easy Apply will pull the details from your profile, you should only consider using this option if your LinkedIn profile is fully updated and complete. This means that you not only have all the sections filled out but that you also have your LinkedIn profile keyword optimized.

The use of keywords on your profile is critical because that will ensure that the systems that receive this data can see you as qualified for the position that you are applying to. There is really no way around this requirement. So, make sure that you have explanations and details in every single section of your profile on LinkedIn. And, make a quick check of your profile before hitting submit to make sure that you have the keywords from the job that you are applying to somewhere on your profile.

There are No Other Ways to Apply

Sometimes, companies will post a job on LinkedIn and nowhere else. In that case, if you want to pursue the job, you will have no option but to apply through LinkedIn and this could be using the Easy Apply function. In that case, make sure you have updated your LinkedIn profile and that you have the settings configured properly to share your full LinkedIn profile with the company. If you do not, then you are wasting your time in applying to the job.

When Not to Do it

The Easy Apply option on LinkedIn can save a huge amount of time applying, but it isn't always worth the time you spend when using it. Meaning that it may actually be worth the additional time to pursue the job through other systems. Here are reasons why Easy Apply isn't the best option:

Your LinkedIn Profile Is Incomplete

An incomplete, or not employer-ready LinkedIn profile is the best reason not to use Easy Apply. As explained above, Easy Apply takes the details directly from your profile to send to the employer. So, if the details and explanations aren't on your profile, then the employer won't receive them. Thus, you should not use Easy Apply if you do not have all of the fields completed on your profile. And, don't forget to keyword optimize those fields so that the right information is seen by the employer's systems that evaluate your qualifications.

You Can't Share All Details on Your Profile

There are lots of reasons why you may not be able to put all of the details relevant to potential employers on your LinkedIn profile. For example, a smart salesperson may elect to use their LinkedIn profile to connect with potential clients and they don't want to include their sales numbers on their profile for those potential clients to see. Or, an executive may have achieved some tremendous results in their organization, but can't share those details publicly because of non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements.

Whatever the reason is for you, remember that if the data is not on your LinkedIn profile then it cannot be sent to the employer. And, if that information is relevant to the potential employer for the job that you want to apply to using Easy Apply, then you shouldn't use Easy Apply. Find another way to pursue the job so that you can submit a resume with the relevant, but sensitive information.

A Cover Letter Matters

Easy Apply does not give you an option to submit a cover letter. Although cover letters aren't as relevant as they once were, they can still matter. Cover letters tell the story beyond your resume. So, if it is important for your application to tell that story, then you shouldn't use Easy Apply on LinkedIn.

The Job Description Directs You Elsewhere

There are also jobs posted on LinkedIn that include directions about the preferred application method and process. For example, if you scroll down, you may find details about the preferred site or email to use when applying. These directions in the job posting on LinkedIn may also note a requirement for a cover letter.

So, if you hit Easy Apply, you will not be following directions for the job posting. And, the failure to follow basic directions is often the biggest killer for a job application. Avoid this simple mistake by reading the entire job description before deciding whether and how you will apply to a job.    

Technology Limitations

The information sent through Easy Apply is still really limited. LinkedIn has expanded that resume builder in recent years, but it is still far more limited than most resumes. So, most people that use the Easy Apply function will be severely limited in their ability to really be considered by the hiring managers.

Most companies have their applicant tracking system (ATS) integrated with LinkedIn. This means that one system is sending another system data based on your profile. And, the way that information is sent may not work for the system that is receiving the information. So, there's a good chance that your information will not be viewed by a human at all when hitting Easy Apply. Instead, it will end up stuck somewhere in the resume bots.

What to Do Instead

The best practice is always to go directly to the company's website and to apply to the open job on their careers page. This is because the careers page is a part of their applicant tracking system. So, going direct to the company job board enables you to control how your data is entered into their system. It also makes sure that all of your information gets into their applicant tracking system. And, you can set up email alerts for subsequent jobs of interest when in their system.

Whenever applying online remember to keep a copy of the job description. This is important because the job posting can expire or be taken down. So, you may not be able to access the job description later on when you need it (i.e. when interviewing, talking to recruiters, etc.). Thus, keeping a copy (electronic is fine) for your records will help when you get the call for an interview or are talking to recruiters.


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