Should you apply to a company's "general" job opening online?

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Before you can land a job, you have to fill out applications (unless you land a role through a referral, of course). While scanning seemingly endless job boards for specific roles that you are a good fit for, you may notice openings that look a little bit different. Many startups and tech companies have a General Application to submit your resume for “future consideration”. While we are all familiar with the process of filling out a job application for a specific role, you may be left wondering: is it worth it to apply to a general application? The answer is…it depends.

Steve, an alum of The Commons, threw out this question to our community: “Has anyone had any luck as a candidate or hiring manager with the "general application" option on many job posting pages? Luck includes starting a meaningful dialogue with a company/candidate that you weren't previously connected with, regardless of whether it leads to an actual job.”

The consensus from the community is that if you are going to fill out a general application, it’s important to be proactive and go the extra mile to get noticed through networking. Submitting the general application can be a great conversation starter for this.

Here are a summary of tips from Loren and Aya:

  • Reach out to the hiring manager or a team member, and use the general application as a bridge to a conversation with them. You’ll want to target your message directly towards the team you’re interested in joining, as they’ll have the best idea of what type of candidate they’re looking for and are typically the decision makers. You can typically identify the relevant players by searching LinkedIn.
  • Ideally, find a connection to make an introduction, or send a cold DM with a strong hook.
  • Do your homework by analyzing the company first, then suggest some opportunities for growth, and how you could help them accomplish those goals.

David, Core Sprint alum, shared his success with this approach: “I have had some success with this as a candidate when paired with a LinkedIn message directly to a Co-Founder as to why I wanted to join the company and what I could bring to the table. It helped me land an interview!”

It’s important to remember that this approach is generally targeting long-tail results. Since there is not a relevant job opening at the moment, it’s unlikely that this approach will lead to landing a  role immediately.  However, by having genuine conversations with people at companies you find interesting, you’ll learn more about what skills and experiences companies are looking for, refine your ability to tell your story, and grow your network. And ultimately, you want to be at the top of their mind for when a relevant opportunity does arise in the future.

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