Hundreds of Applicants on LinkedIn? Apply Anyway.Oct 13, 2023
You’re scrolling through LinkedIn when BAM! You see the perfect job. The position description screams your name, and you meet most (or maybe even all!) of the criteria. The only problem? There are already hundreds of applicants. Should you bother applying?
The answer is simple. Yes.
In this article, I’ll cover:
- What those applicant numbers on LinkedIn actually mean
- How you can best estimate the actual number of applicants
- How to shift your thinking away from applicant numbers to what’s actually within your control (and what to focus on instead!)
As a career coach and top LinkedIn voice, I’ve had a lot of conversations about job postings on LinkedIn. I get it - it’s hard to feel confident when the competition is so . . . visible. Throw in a huge push for remote opportunities, and the application process feels all the more daunting. But here’s the math* on why you should apply.
(*These are estimated numbers based on my years of hiring experience. They aren't strict science.)
LinkedIn Number of Applicants: 200. (We’ll start there.)
Of those 200, it’s likely that about 30% of them clicked apply but never actually applied. LinkedIn counts clicks (not confirmed applications) when the button goes to an external site. Let’s take them out of the group.
LinkedIn Number of Applicants, Revised: 140.
Of these 140 remaining applicants, another 30% are typically unqualified and/or have zero relevant skills or experience. They just applied, thinking “why not?” Let’s take them out of the mix.
LinkedIn Number of Applicants, Revised: 98.
Next, let’s remove 25% of the remaining population because they have a terrible resume compared to other resumes. The hiring manager will pass on them.
Here’s the hard truth: regardless of whether these people are great candidates or not, they've done a poor job of communicating their skills on paper. What they need is a better blueprint. (If this is you, head over to my Resume Blueprint Course to adjust yours and get back in the game).
LinkedIn Number of Applicants, Revised: 74.
50% of the remaining people do nothing after applying - no follow up, outreach, or effort to stand out. Remember, folks, it’s a long game. Applying to jobs is a game of 4D chess. Applying puts you on the board, but then you need to make strategic moves. Those who do have a better chance of standing out than those who don’t.
LinkedIn Number of Applicants, Revised: 37.
Of the ones who do something (like DM a hiring manager or recruiter), 30% send a super long, drawn out message that's too much to read. It doesn't help them as a candidate. We’ll take them out, too.
LinkedIn Number of Applicants, Revised: 26.
And there's your actual competition. 26 people. That’s now 27 viable applicants, including you.
So, what does it all mean?
Before we get to this part, I’ll say it again: while these numbers are estimates, they are based on my years of hiring experience. While I would never say they’re 100% accurate, they do help give you a far more realistic sense of the playing field. And here’s how I’d describe that playing field: possible. Feasible. Attainable, especially if you focus on the elements that you can control.
Here's what you CAN do:
- Make sure you’re an actual fit for the job. That means you meet the basic requirements of the job and your resume contains examples showing you have the skills the job posting is calling for.
- Focus on how recently the job was posted. You want fresh jobs (posted in the last few days). Why? because it's likely they're still reviewing resumes in the first few days. When you apply to jobs that have been open for weeks, there may be candidates in process already, which means most companies won't call any additional candidates unless the ones in motion don't pan out.
- Have a plan to stand out after you apply. We're in a market where it can be hard to put a ton of proactive networking energy into a company that may not be hiring anytime soon. Enter: the post-application networking move. See a hiring manager or recruiter listed on the job? Reach out. Keep your message short. Try a 60 second Loom video. Tell them why you are a great fit for their role. Focus your message on how *you* solve *their* hiring problem with your great skills and talents.
Above all, remember this:
“200 viable candidates.”
Don't get scared by applicant counts.
Focus on what you *can* control. Then, apply.