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How to Be One of the First to Apply

Getting your resume in first is no guarantee that you will get an interview but early applicants do have a better chance than those who apply later.  If the employer is in a hurry to hire, they may start scheduling interviews as soon as they begin receiving applications.  If they are overwhelmed with the response to a job posting, they may decide not to even look at any new applicants until they have interviewed the candidates that they short listed from the first batch.  If you apply during the first day or two, you can rest assured that your resume will at least be considered.  Here are some strategies that you can use to make sure that you are one of the early applicants:

Sign up for job alerts.  Most job search sites include an option where you can receive an email alert whenever a job is posted that matches your specified criteria.  When selecting your criteria, you can be broad and include all jobs in a particular location, or you can be specific and only request alerts for a particular job title.  The alerts will immediately let you know when a relevant position is posted so if you act quickly, you will be one of the first to apply.  Many companies also allow you to request alerts so be sure to sign up for alerts at all of your target companies.   

Do a quick search every day.  It's a good idea to do a quick search every day to see if any new positions have been posted.  If you are doing a search on a daily basis, it shouldn't take longer than ten minutes.

Follow your target companies on social media.   Many companies will post job leads on social media before anywhere else.  If you follow their social media feeds, you will find out about the opportunities before they even make it to the job boards giving you a bit of a head start.  

Use your network.  Your network is the most effective way to find out about opportunities before they have been advertised.  If you know people who are working at your target company or in your target industry, ask them to let you know about any upcoming opportunities.  Make contact with them on a regular basis so that you are always at the top of their mind when they hear about a job available. 

Have a resume and cover letter ready to go.  When trying to be one of the early applicants, the secret to your success is being prepared.  If you have a resume and cover letter ready to go for your target job, you can quickly customize it for each individual position.  

When you are striving to be an early applicant, you are sometimes going to be faced with the tough decision: Do I do it fast or do I do it well?  There are no easy answers here; you have to do both.  You need to get your application in quickly and it needs to be strong.  However, if you are planning on taking a couple of days to make sure that your resume is absolutely perfect, it is better to submit a strong resume on Monday than it is to submit a perfect one on Wednesday.  If you wait a few days, there may be no interview slots left.


(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by