Should You Apply Through LinkedIn Or The Company’s Website? was originally published on Ivy Exec.
So you finally found a job opening on LinkedIn for which you’re qualified and in which you’re interested—that’s half the battle. But, now, you’re not sure where to apply for it.
You could apply through LinkedIn, or you could apply directly through the company website. Ultimately, you want to make sure that your application gets eyes on it—but which avenue is a safer bet?
There are pros and cons to applying through both. Let’s unpack them.
Pros to applying through LinkedIn
Here’s why applying through LinkedIn is a good idea.
1. Applying on LinkedIn is convenient.
LinkedIn makes it simple to submit applications for job openings—that’s why it’s called “Easy Apply.” Typically, all an application entails is your contact information and an uploaded resume, which you can save to automatically populate for each application.
2. LinkedIn applications can be time-savers.
Because applying for jobs via LinkedIn is so simple, it can take nearly no time at all. Unless you want to attach added documents to your application, you can submit applications with your automated details. This means that applying can take mere minutes or even seconds.
3. You can make connections on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a massive networking platform with 830 million members—some with whom you’ll inevitably have mutual connections. If you have connections to professionals at the company for which you’re applying, LinkedIn is a perfect place to reach out to them for help or more information. Plus, the person reviewing your resume may click through to your LinkedIn profile and see your mutual connection, which can potentially give you a leg up over other applicants if they get a good word about you.
4. LinkedIn will direct you to similar job postings.
On LinkedIn, you can filter job openings by descriptive search terms and location, as well as other factors. Depending on your job search history, the platform will suggest searches for you—and you can even toggle on the related job posting alerts to be notified when potentially interesting openings crop up on LinkedIn. Never mind that you can save the jobs for which you’ve applied in one list to which you can always refer. These functionalities make hunting for the right fit a little breezier.
5. You have the option to attach documents via LinkedIn.
On some LinkedIn job applications, you have the option to attach documents like your resume, a cover letter, or references. While these might not be required, the ability to tack on added application materials allows you to sell yourself even more.
Cons to applying through LinkedIn
Despite the pros to submitting applications via LinkedIn, the platform isn’t always the ideal platform for applying to job openings—even if that’s where you found them. Here are some of the setbacks.
1. LinkedIn openings are very competitive.
Because LinkedIn makes it so simple to apply for jobs, it can be a crowded place to do just that. You can see how many job hunters have already applied for the same job—but, even if it’s relatively low, it’s likely to be higher than the number of applicants who took the time to apply directly through the company.
2. It can be difficult to tailor your application to the company.
Applying for a job with LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” is so easy because there’s very little—if any—tweaking or tailoring involved. While this makes the process a whole lot quicker, it also detracts from the detail. You don’t have room to make your resume unique to this job opening when you’re mass-messaging it to companies with openings.
3. LinkedIn application portals can be limiting.
The LinkedIn application portal will have space for your contact information and resume, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of room for flexibility. While you might be able to attach other files, you may not necessarily be able to share links to a portfolio or share other materials.
4. A LinkedIn application is less likely to stand out.
Because LinkedIn attracts so many applicants, it can be difficult all ready to stand out with your submission. Further, because you cannot tailor your LinkedIn application as much as you can tailor a direct application, it can be difficult to make yours really shine.
5. Applying via LinkedIn works best with a relevant profile.
If you’re applying for a job outside of your current realm of expertise—or in another industry entirely—applying through a LinkedIn profile full of irrelevant experiences won’t necessarily help you.
This is especially true if you aren’t able to tailor your application or don’t have space to share your motivation for the career change. If a recruiter or potential employer reviews your LinkedIn application and checks your profile as a first step, seeing irrelevant job history without explanation can be a red flag for them.
Why you should apply through the company website instead
Applying through the company website can get you straight to the source. Here are the benefits of applying this way.
1. There’s no middle man when you apply directly.
When you apply through the company website, you know that your resume is going directly to the manager or someone on the team hired to recruit. There’s no middle ground where your application materials can get caught up.
2. The company website offers you a lot more insight into the business.
When you are directed to the company website to apply for an open job opportunity, you also access a whole host of other information and insights. Scrolling around the company’s website can help you get a better grasp on what it is that it’s seeking in a candidate—and how you can adapt your application accordingly. In the same vein, you might learn more about the company that doesn’t appeal to you—and opt to focus your energy elsewhere on applications that align more with your career goals.
3. You can better tailor your application when applying directly.
When you apply for a job directly through the company, you likely have space to share more about yourself and highlight your skills and experiences. If you have an email, for example, you can share many attachments and links. You can also show some personality and professionalism in the email itself, connecting with the recipient on a more personal level and directing them to your resume and cover letter for more details.
4. You can submit direct applications in the company’s preferred format.
Sometimes, companies will ask for applications in a specific format, such as a Word document or a PDF. When you apply directly through the company, you can abide by these rules. Often, they’ll ask for a specific format because it’s compatible with their applicant tracking system (ATS) software. And because that software scans resumes for keywords and mirrored language (which is why tailoring is particularly important!), you want to make sure that it actually picks up your resume.
5. Company websites may have fewer submissions than LinkedIn.
Many job hunters know the benefits of applying via LinkedIn—but they don’t always think about the pitfalls of submitting their applications through the social and networking platform. That’s why there’s usually a high number of applicants for LinkedIn job openings. Fewer people will take the time to do their research on a company, find a contact if necessary, and reach out directly. This means that there’s probably less competition for you this way if you do make that effort.
Ultimately, applying through LinkedIn and through a company directly both have their helpfulness and shortcomings. While LinkedIn’s Easy Apply can be a great tool when you’re on a time crunch, applying through a company directly gives you far more autonomy and flexibility, which allows you the space to express yourself, connect with the company, and set yourself up for success.
Follow along on Ivy Exec for more tips on nailing your application.