You have probably used, or have been tempted to use, the “Easy Apply” option on LinkedIn when looking at potential jobs. It’s the convenient option, right? Well, yes, but it's not always the wisest. Moreover, for recruiters, the best candidates don’t necessarily come easy either, and receiving a deluge of online applications can compound an already time-consuming task.
Easy Apply is a plug-in or one-click application launched in 2011 by LinkedIn. The idea was to make the job hunt easier for applicants while generating more leads per post for recruiters. A win-win, or so it seemed.
This article will explain what Easy Apply is, when it is a winning tool for both job seekers and recruiters, how it can benefit or disadvantage job applicants, when job applicants should and shouldn’t use it, and how to use it when they do.
Easy Apply is a way for job seekers to apply for a job without leaving the platform they are on. Key information from their online profile on that platform—typically LinkedIn or Indeed—will be sent to the recruiter or hiring manager to avoid the need to upload a resume or type in personal information for each application.
When a job seeker reads a job posting in their LinkedIn account, they are given two options: “Apply” and “Easy Apply.” The Apply button takes the job seeker to the company’s website where they follow the standard process to apply for the job. The Easy Apply button prompts the applicant to provide their email, phone number, and to attach an updated resume or use an existing one already on loaded on the platform.
If the job seeker selects Easy Apply, all the recruiter will see is the barebones of the applicant’s LinkedIn profile—their photo, their headline, past and present job titles, education, and skills. So, unless the recruiter is blown away by any of those factors, they may or may not decide to visit the applicant’s full LinkedIn profile.
The obvious reason LinkedIn instituted Easy Apply is because it's quick and easy for the applicant to apply to numerous jobs. For the recruiter, they will receive more job applications than they would through traditional recruitment methods.
While having thousands of resumes to plow through can be a headache for recruiters, Easy Apply is used because, in many cases, the information on a LinkedIn profile is not updated to the extent of a freshly submitted resume.
Job posters who allow Easy Apply will receive many more applications, particularly for better-paying jobs. However, to manage them, they use automated screening solutions that often overlook suitable applicants. The challenge for job applicants is to understand how to use Easy Apply to their advantage.
The main benefit of Easy Apply for job applicants is speed and convenience in their job search. If you want to cast a wide net on LinkedIn and send out your resume to many employers, Easy Apply will facilitate that without your having to navigate a company website and retype all your details for each job or craft a tailored cover letter.
However, speed and volume may not necessarily bring you the coveted position you seek.
The main disadvantage for job seekers who use LinkedIn Easy Apply is that it is difficult to stand out from the competition when so little information is divulged. Studies show that recruiters spend an average of seven seconds scanning each resume. They spend even less time on an Easy Apply application, and that’s not much for an applicant to make an impression.
Standard applications through a company’s website, on the other hand, can show the unique qualities of an applicant, for example, through a digital portfolio and cover letter.
Lastly, there is no opportunity to list referrals or references through Easy Apply, whereas standard applications allow the applicant to include references, referrals, and recommendations. And referrals are often the best way to land a job.
For dream jobs, it’s always wise to apply through traditional means to make sure your application is not tossed out by automated screening. That said, there are times when Easy Apply is a useful tool.
When the role isn’t your dream job, but you’d like to apply anyway. The Easy Apply option means you can send a quick application without consuming time and energy that could be spent applying for a more suitable position.
When your LinkedIn Profile is top-notch! If your LinkedIn profile is updated, professional, and showcases you in the best way possible, the Easy Apply feature is a good choice.
When you are busy with work and other life responsibilities, Easy Apply is better than nothing.
When you send a tailored resume that shows quantifiable results from past job experiences and uses keywords. If you are confident that your information will catch the recruiter's eye, or that of an automated tracking system, Easy Apply can work.
If you can follow up instantly. Many Easy Apply applicants are just casting out a wide net. If you follow up your application immediately, you stand out as someone who really wants the job.
You want to send out job board applications in volume to get your name in front of as many recruiters as possible. With an up-to-snuff LinkedIn profile, knock yourself out.
You shouldn’t use easy apply if your LinkedIn profile is not knock-your-socks-off fantastic. If your Easy Apply information stands out to the recruiter, you don’t want them to then be disappointed by what they find on your LinkedIn page.
A stellar LinkedIn profile looks like this.
1. Descriptions of your work experience that show how you created value for past employers. For example, with quantifiable results from your work: “I developed a social media marketing campaign that increased reach by 2% and sales by 46% within a year.”
2. A strong headline that reflects your brand and sets you apart in your industry.
3. An updated, well-constructed resume. Use strategic keywords and rich descriptions that might be picked up by applicant tracking systems and send your application to the top of the pile.
4. A professional photo.
5. Quality recommendations and at least 50 connections from others in the same industry.
Other circumstances where you should not use Easy Apply are:
When you are searching for your first job. Even for an entry-level position, with no work experience to appear on your Easy Apply application, you are wasting your time.
When you are changing careers. Why you are a viable candidate requires explanation, and a convincing case cannot be achieved through Easy Apply. Perhaps your skills are easily transferable, for example, you are a coder who wants to move to product management. This is best conveyed through a cover letter.
If you are applying for your dream job. An application to your dream job should be tailored, thoughtful, and must convince the recruiter you are the right person for the job. It requires a strong cover letter and a stand-out, customized resume. It should not be an abbreviated submission.
You have a substantial employment gap, the personal or professional circumstances should be addressed in a personalized cover letter. Give the recruiter reasons to consider you, not throw you out. You may have taken time out to pursue an overseas sabbatical, for example. The merits of this would not be conveyed through Easy Apply.
The job posting contains instructions on how to apply. Sometimes a job posting will offer Easy Apply, but the job description directs you to the company. Don’t ignore these instructions, and apply using both methods.
Optimize your profile and LinkedIn headline by looking at specific job descriptions and picking out keywords that you can use in your profile. For example, for a social media marketing role, you might include “content creation,” campaign management,” or “beta implementation.”
Create a punchy headline that includes two job titles to showcase two or three areas of expertise in your work history. For example, “Financial Analyst” and “Cost Accountant.”
Check that the company does not ask for traditional applications on its website. If it does, do that too!
Job seekers should know that using Easy Apply will not sell their uniqueness to an employer. It is a surgical way to manage the application process, not a finessed one. Unless you are an Ivy League grad with a stand-out Fortune 500 history, you can easily be lost in the screening process. In fact, if you are that Ivy League grad, you should be using your network, getting referrals, and sending out customized cover letters by email.
For recruiters and employers, if you are looking to cast a wide net for a relatively generalized position, using Easy Apply with trusted applicant tracking systems and screening tools should be a winning combination.