A new, secretive way to apply for a job

Mar 21, 2014

FORTUNE -- Call it the Amazon One-Click of job hunting.

In the same way you’d purchase an ink cartridge at Amazon from your phone with a single tap, job search apps now let you apply to a position from your mobile device with the slightest move of your index finger.

Indeed.com, for instance, lets users of its Indeed Apply app search for jobs based on salary, industry, and location. If users want to apply for a job, they can choose to send a resume they’ve already uploaded to Indeed.com directly from their phone with one tap, with the option of adding a message.

Indeed execs say the app -- which, along with mobile website views, makes up 45% of Indeed’s overall traffic -- is geared toward the on-the-go job hunter. Plus the app gives users a stealthier way to look for employment opportunities.

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Indeed's desktop-based web traffic peaks on Mondays at lunchtime -- when “people are back in their office after the weekend and realize how much they hate their jobs,” says Chris Hyams, Indeed’s senior vice president of product and engineering. But even though job hunters are brazenly searching for new jobs while on the clock at their current ones, Paul D’Arcy, senior vice president of marketing for Indeed, says there’s demand for a more private job search -- one that takes the hunt “off of [users’] work computers, where their boss is watching.”

So you can secretly apply for jobs with your smartphone, but should you?

With Indeed Apply, job seekers can edit their resume during the application process to customize it for a specific job, says Hyams. But even with that capability, he says, "the vast majority of job seekers do not customize their resumes for each job."

That seems to go against one of the golden rules of job hunting -- to curate every application and every resume to the specific requirements of each individual job posting. Making such specifications shows that you’ve A, actually read the job posting, and B, taken the time to think about how you qualify for it.

Despite that rule of thumb, applying to a job by sending a generic resume from your phone might work for some people, says Kathy Harris, managing director at executive search firm Harris Allied. “It really depend on your seniority,” she says. The more senior the employee, the more lines on the resume. And the more complex the vacant position, the more time an applicant should spend tailoring his or her application to fit the job requirements. “An executive who’s been in the business for 20 years-plus should explain how his or her experience would benefit the company,” Harris says.

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But an applicant for an entry level job? Tap away. Recent college grads, for instance, have less information to share with a prospective employer, so a generic resume may tell their whole story, Harris says.

Perhaps that’s the exact age group Indeed is after, anyway. A survey from Jobvite showed that 38% of all mobile job seekers are ages 18-29; 72% are under 39. In fact, these applicants do just about everything from their phones -- order food, find a date, and now, plot their next career move.

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