Recently, I was asked, “Should I apply online or in person?” Without hesitation, I replied that you should apply however the job posting requested you to apply. Hiring managers tend to get a little irritated by people who don’t follow directions; it can be an indication of your work ethic.
These days, technology is everything. Most employers want you to fill out an extensive assessment. If you can’t figure out how to apply online, employers will get nervous about your technical abilities. Once they evaluate your assessment and resume, they will contact you to let you know the next step in the interview process. I am a part of that type of organization. It saves the recruiter time and allows us to interview and track more candidates who are potentially a better fit. So, if this was a question directed towards my company, my first answer would be to apply online.
However, I once had a candidate that wanted to apply in person. I’m not sure if she wanted to explain the gaps in her resume or if she just wanted to make a good first impression before I reviewed her resume. Whatever her reason might have been, this was probably one of the most impressive approaches I have seen in my career as a recruiter. I was called to the front desk because a visitor needed to see me. I wasn’t quite sure what this visitor needed, but I didn’t want to make them wait. Upon my arrival, I saw a young lady waiting with documents in hand. I knew at this point, she was applying for a position; I couldn’t turn back now. Had I known, I would have told the receptionist to have her leave her resume at the front, and I would review at my earliest convenience. I sat down with her, and she began to explain the gaps in her employment and how she was top in sales (a million dollar writer with her previous company in fact). She made great eye contact and much confidence; she totally won me over. Had she not made this approach, I may or may not have gone further in the interview process with her. But the salesman in her made her want to go over and beyond and make a great first impression.
I’m not suggesting that everyone take this unconventional approach. Nevertheless, I think that sometimes, if you find yourself applying for jobs and not hearing back from the employers, it’s crucial to find a way to stand out. Whether it’s in an email or a simple call, find a way to let that employer know why you will be a great asset.