Almost all job postings that you see will have an end date on them, and others will say, “open until filled”. The latter type of advertisement needs a response right away for obvious reasons. If you choose to delay sending in your application, you might find that you are too late and have lost out on a great opportunity.
The former type of end-dated job advertisements need to applied to as soon as possible as well. Though a company may say that the deadline for application is at Noon on Friday, October 29, 2009, there is no law that prevents them from closing the competition sooner. Though the word “competition” may seem kind of harsh, that is exactly what it is – a competition. The sooner you send in your résumé the better. If a company has received a specific number of applications before the closing date, they may wish to pull the ad and turn away other potential candidates.
Furthermore, by submitting your résumé in a timely fashion and not waiting until the last minute, you convey your enthusiasm for the position, organization skills (i.e. already having your résumé/application package ready), punctuality, and other qualities of that nature.
In addition, sometimes the application process may be lengthy. You might start responding to an ad online on the company’s website and realize that you need to do more than simply submit a résumé. Since you chose to respond to the advertisement immediately, you have left yourself enough time to locate additional documents, request a driver’s abstract or criminal record check if necessary, and research the organization’s goals and philosophy.
Another reason to respond to a job posting in a prompt manner is that some companies contact you as soon as they have read your résumé to schedule an interview. They may not wait for the closing date. If this is the case, you are given a greater opportunity to research the company as mentioned above and practice for your upcoming interview.
Moreover, if the job posting is fresh in your head, you are more likely to maintain a high level of enthusiasm. However, if you choose to mull it over for a few days, you may start having doubts, lack the energy to apply, or forget about it all together. Applying to one position can also spark an interest in applying for others. Even though X position may be more desired than Y, it is still a good idea to apply for more than one job in case your first choice does not pan out. If you do find that you have spontaneously replied to a job posting and are later regretting it, you can always pull your application or turn down an interview. Just because you have applied does not mean that you have to take the job. However, it is definitely better to respond too early than too late.