Is It Bad to Be the First Person to Apply for a Job?

Job resume
Job resume


Seth Fiegerman,

Q: Is it better or worse to be the first person to apply for a job after it gets posted?

A: As a general rule, it's typically a disadvantage to be one of the last to apply for a job because the longer you wait, the better the chances are that the position will be filled. That said, sending off your application too quickly can backfire on you as well.

For many positions, recruiters will take the best of the first few resumes and send them along to the hiring manager to get feedback on whether it's what they're looking for. According to Jennie Dede, vice president of recruiting for Adecco Staffing U.S., if the resumes are good, the hiring manager might get overconfident and hold out for better candidates who meet even more specific qualifications. If you happen to be part of this first wave of resumes, your application could end up being pushed aside if better resumes come in.

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"It really depends on the level of the position," Dede says. "With less specific jobs like call center or customer service positions, the quicker you apply the better because they are looking to hire quick, but for specified jobs like accounting and engineering, they may only have one role open, so they need to take time to pick the best candidate."

Even if you are applying for a more specialized job like engineering, career experts argue it's not worth fixating too much on timing out exactly when to send your resume.

"I don't think there is any way for a candidate to wait to apply. The company might get bombarded with resumes in the first few hours and then they'll take down the posting and there goes your opportunity," Dede says. What's more, it's impossible to know for sure when a job has been posted as recruiters often refresh the posting to keep it among the most recent postings on job boards.

For that reason, it's better to focus on the quality of your resume rather than the scheduling.

"You'll only get lost in the shuffle if the resume is no good," says Bruce Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing. "If the resume doesn't grab their attention, it doesn't matter if you're the first or the last one to apply."

Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.

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