The best time to apply for a job
There are better times than others to apply for a job. For instance, Monday is the most successful day of the week to submit your application according to one study. More people – 30% of candidates – who applied on a Monday made it to the next stage of the hiring process than people who applied on other days. Saturday, by contrast, is the least successful day, while Tuesday is the most common day.
Here’s another time tip for job seekers: apply when the company you want to work for is not actively looking, or at least when there are no postings.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also apply when a company has posted a position. Of course you should do that – they are looking for someone and that someone might be you – but the thing about applying when there is a posting is that all sorts of other people are usually applying too, and there is a good chance that your application will get lost in the competition.
By contrast, if you apply when there is no posting, it’s far more likely that the hiring manager you want to reach will actually see your application.
It’s also quite possible that they are looking but simply haven’t posted the position. There isn’t a whole lot of reliable research out there as to the number of jobs that go unadvertised. Some say it’s as high as 80%, but I can’t find the studies to support the stat. Still, everyone seems to agree that, whatever the number is, it’s high. This means that at any given moment, the company of your dreams may actually need you, and the only way to let them know you’re out there is to contact them.
Add to this the fact that the amount of time the average person spends at any one job is getting shorter and shorter – 51% of people now spend two years or less at a job before moving on – and what this means is that, even if the company is not looking to fill a position right at that moment, they probably will be soon.
So, if you apply during downtime, and the manager believes you would be an asset and wants to bring you on board, they will keep you in mind for when something does open up.
Heck, maybe you’re so amazing they’ll create a post for you. It’s unlikely, but it could happen.
So, to recap, the reasons to apply for a job when there is no posting are:
1. Your resume won’t get lost in a pile
2. Just because there is no posting doesn’t mean they’re not looking
3. Even if they’re not looking, they might be soon
When you do write to a manager, make sure you get their name and contact them directly whenever possible. Explain why you are reaching out, why you want to work for that particular company, and why you would be a good hire. Outline what you will bring to the table, so that when something does come up, they know exactly how you will fit.
On a personal note, I should add that I have never gotten a job by applying for a posted position. Every job I have ever gotten, either freelance, contract, or full time, has been either through connections or through writing to a hiring manager directly when there was no posting. So, while networking is also a key factor in getting access to the hidden job market, I know from experience that the email equivalent of the cold call works.
So, just do it. Reach out to every company you want to work with. Don’t wait for them to post a position. By then it might be too late.