RIP Coverletters…LinkedIn Adds an Apply Button

By Nicole Fletcher

Hallelujah! Applying for jobs just got easier thanks to LinkedIn’s Apply for Jobs Button. The business minded social network, as Mashable put it, is the “the future of job applications”, and how could anyone disagree? By joining and being active on the network, you’re ready and set to apply for any job at the click of a button and how could anyone be unhappy about that?

Back in the day, and I’m sure today still, resume formatting was the bottom line. The vital process was as if that margin being .01′ off and size 12.34 font in Arial over Times would make or break your chances ….and I think it did – though I cannot for the life of me fathom why. Job applicants send hundreds of thousands of attachments paired with perfectly worded cover letters DAILY only to get tossed aside and ignored because really, who has time to go through all those dead trees? Interns? It seems like even they are too busy these days. Even if they’re not, what a tragedy that an intern has the power to make the decision as to whether or not my perfectly crafted document gets put in front of important eyes or tossed aside to the shredder? I digress…with any luck those silly days will be gone. After all, I’d rather hire an awesome person I meet at happy hour than I would someone with a perfectly manicured resume that can’t take the heat. It seems most industries are taking a social approach to the hiring process anyway and this only helps foster that natural evolution.

On the LinkedIn blog, Technical Product Manager Jonathan Seitel said, “Our goal with Apply With LinkedIn is to help every professional put their best foot forward, anywhere across the web when they take that leap to apply for a new position.” You’ll be able to do your applying in one spot and see who you know is connected to who you need to know.  I for one think it’s a great idea. If LinkedIn becomes the true norm in the business world, job seekers and recruiters alike really are going to have it so much easier. Applicants will be able to work with pre-formatted resumes, edit them on the go with a LinkedIn app, bump a pristine version to business contacts you meet on the fly…the possibilities are endless and most are already taking place. Establishing a status quo for resumes might inspire some to be creative, of course, but having that template in which your information is properly formatted, a recruiter knows where it’s coming from, who you know, where you’ve been etc truly makes everything that much easier.

The button is much like the Twitter tweet button or the Facebook Like button in that companies can embed it on their website. The button allows you submit your LinkedIn profile as your resume — no cover letter necessary. Once you submit your job app, you’re given the chance to message your contacts at the company and/or ask for a referral. It also integrates with several application tracking systems as well, so businesses can add the LinkedIn job application feed into their existing application system. Netflix, Tripit and Photobucket will be a few of the first companies to highlight the button on their websites.

LinkedIn also makes it easy for you to manage your job applications with a “Saved Jobs” tab, so you can always double check who has your application.

According to Mashable, “The Apply With LinkedIn button is based on the idea that the resume is an outdated relic. Why submit a resume when all of that information (and more) is available on a LinkedIn profile? Still, the button is almost too easy. One can see a desperate job seeker clicking on the button and submitting his or her job application to hundreds of potential employers, regardless of his or her qualifications.” And I’m not going to lie, that’s a great point. Hopefully this button won’t devaluate the application process or there will be a way to filter for brands with high application volumes. Only time will tell…Here’s to applications and the death of cover letters!