Best Times and Days to Submit Your Résumé and Job Application

Did you know that applying for a job on a Saturday decreases your chances of landing an interview? Or that including an objective on your résumé results in 20 percent to 60 percent fewer interviews, unless you happen to be a new grad? (And by the way, if you are a new grad, here are some handy tips for writing that great first résumé, including the best ways to emphasize your projects.)

“Candidates should focus on making it past the top part of the recruiting funnel,” said Matt Singer, VP of Marketing for Jobvite, “because our data shows that those who interview stand a good chance of receiving an offer.”

In other words, you may not need additional skills to increase your chances of getting hired, if you use data to apply more efficiently and move beyond that initial screening stage. So update your résumé (making sure it doesn’t feature any hidden surprises) and get ready to optimize your application process.

Improve Your Timing

Applying on a Monday increases your hiring chances by 46 percent, according to an analysis of more than 4,000 applications by TalentWorks.

Delivering your résumé and application between early Tuesday morning and Thursday before noon local time is even better, noted Mark Babbitt, CEO & founder of YouTern. Indeed, data shows that your chances of getting an interview is five times higher if you submit an application before 10 A.M., while the likelihood of an interview drops below 5 percent for most evening applicants.

Don’t bother initiating follow-up phone calls or emails on Fridays or Mondays, Babbitt added, since data shows that they are likely to be ignored by busy managers and recruiters on those days. Tech unemployment is really low, and employer demand is really high, so you need to bet that those managers and recruiters are more harried than ever.

Findings from SmartRecruiters also show that applying within the first four days after a job is posted delivers a 64.7 percent boost over your competition (on average). In fact, nearly 60 percent of candidates apply within the first week. The longer you wait, the greater the chances of your résumé or application falling into a black hole. 

Level the Playing Field

Ageism is a reality in today’s tech job market. But what you may not realize is that, after age 35, your “hireability” decreases by 8 percent every year, according to TalentWorks. All the more reason to omit your graduation date from your résumé and don’t include more than 10 years’ experience if you’re over 35.

Moreover, if you include three years’ experience on your résumé, you’ll qualify for 75 percent of entry-level jobs. Include five years and you’ll qualify for 77 percent of mid-level jobs; eight years will qualify you for 72 percent of senior-level jobs. According to TalentWorks’ data, if you’re within two years of required experience, hiring managers will often consider you “close enough.” In fact, TalentWorks suggests that you apply if you’re at least 60 percent qualified.

This advice becomes especially important as more and more companies rely on automation and machine learning to screen new job applicants. Although they might not mean to, companies may install software that accidentally screens out candidates based on their graduation date, for example.

Target the Sweet Spot

Applying at smaller companies, with revenues between $5 million to $50 million, increases your chances of being invited to an interview, according to the 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report from Jobvite. Pursuing open positions in real estate rental and leasing, accommodation and food services, finance and insurance, and educational services also increases your chances of landing an interview, as those industries have the best conversion rates from applicants to interviews.

Want less competition? Companies on Fortune’s Organizations That Change the World list have the highest number of applicants per requisition at 92:1. If you want a quick and efficient hiring process, consider applying to companies on the Inc. 5000 list, which need to onboard staff quickly in order to propel fast growth.

Become the Candidate of Choice

When it comes to your résumé, there are very specific things you can do to make sure you’re noticed, such as using “action verbs” that convey your true strengths. Conveying your impact and results on your previous companies (through numbers, preferably) also boosts your chances.

Political rants and spelling errors give recruiters pause when researching candidates online, while examples of written or design work (65 percent), volunteering, mentoring, or non-profit work (63 percent), and mutual connections (35 percent) are the top three factors that impact a recruiter’s decision to move forward with a candidate, according to Jobvite.

Finally, consider creating a personal website, especially one that highlights what your dream employer might need. That could boost your chances of landing an interview—and the job.

10 Responses to “Best Times and Days to Submit Your Résumé and Job Application”

  1. James Igoe

    Although I do not currently aim to find new employment, how about optimizing to get recruiters to contact you?

    Since I do not typically apply to jobs but try to optimize my online presence and resume to have recruiters contact me, my strategy has always been a little different. Although my ideas might be stale by now, based off of CareerBuilder statistics for when my resume was looked at, I updated my resume each week at Tuesday AM, as Tuesday was the time when resume searches found my resume. Nowadays, it might not matter as automation is doing most of the extracting, but worthwhile if recruiters are initiating searches for new roles on Tuesday after getting new requests on Monday or Friday.

    Also, there are numerous infographics pointing to when is the best time to post to Twitter, Linked, Google+, and Facebook, and depending on how you market yourself, some matter more than others. After a few years of this, I am tired of spending so much energy so have simplified my approach and basically target a daily update to coincide with LinkedIn views. For me, that time is around noon.

    Also, there might be other ways for recruiters to find one, timing GitHub updates and optimizing keywords, or daily profile refreshes for major profiles.

  2. Not having an objective means getting inundated with worthless “spam” email from recruiters on Dice because they don’t bother to actually READ your resume.
    They go by keyword hits and figure because you did “underwater basket weaving” 7 years ago that’s what you want for your next job.

    They completely ignore the fact that 7 years ago you started to transition form “underwater basket weaving” to “high altitude paper shuffling”, been doing that for 7 years, and just received certification to “shuffle paper in orbit”.

  3. Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh at these articles, or swear at them like a sailor. Newsflash: for a lot of us job-hunters, these silly little “insider tips” don’t help one bit, because they don’t address the real problems we face. Me, I’m a veteran computer programmer, one of the hottest sectors in the economy — but for me, getting even a phone interview happens about once a month, and getting an offer would feel like I won the lottery. Why? Because my experience doesn’t matter. In IT today, all that matters is whether you have the exact laundry list of “X years with Y tool” that the employer wants. Most ads that I see list anywhere from five to ten tools or languages, with minimum amounts of experience for each one. Miss more than two, and you may as well not bother applying. And because of my specific background, and atrocious luck in picking which tools to work with, I’m lucky if I match more than two.

    • Amen. Also I think as a 50 year old I’m aging out s a programmer – which is insane to me as I’ve had years of experience in various languages, and if there’s a new cool one – I know how to apply that old experience to a new paradigm.

  4. Most applications are scanned by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) these days, especially larger companies. This advice might make sense for smaller companies. The goal is to get by the ATS by having your resume match the requirements. The applying early makes sense, since once the recruiters are into doing phone screenings and scheduling interviews, they probably aren’t looking at the queue from the ATS even if you are qualified.

    So based on the math of 8% per year reduction, that means I have a -100% chance of landing a job? So by the time someone is 48 they are unemployable? Good information Dice.

  5. “Best Times and Days to Submit Your Résumé and Job Application”?!?!?!?!?!
    Are recruiters and HR morons that incompetent? (I know they are.) ATS is for lazy companies, which defines most. Age has little to do with ability. But, hey, discriminate all you want, because you can just deny it and you are absolved.

  6. Automation is leading to a two-front war. The ease of application adds more unqualified/less qualified applicants to the white noise, while ATS is relied on too heavily by overwhelmed or downright lazy HR screeners who barely know the actual job.

    The best HR reps I’ve dealt with will ping you within 24 hours of receiving a resume. The rest are basically letting the pile build and sending bulk rejections weeks or even months later after they handled the five candidates that were handed to them by insiders.