Should You Apply to an Active Job Posting if the ‘Apply By’ Date Has Passed?

jobs signage on white paper in black ink

I frequently look at job listings to see the kind of positions currently available. I recently saw a few that listed a cut-off date for accepting applications. If job seekers see a listing a few days after the “apply by” date in the ad, should they still send in an application? And if so, should they address the date of application in their cover letter?

While the success of a “past due” application will depend on the policy of the company listing the job, it can’t hurt to apply, according to Shelley Piedmont, a career coach, resume writer and LinkedIn profile optimizer.

“For some organizations, especially governmental entities, the deadline for applying for a job may be a hard one due to the rules and regulations they have around employment. For others, it may be more a soft deadline,” Piedmont says. “If the job posting is still up, so you are still able to apply, you might as well try to see if your application will be accepted. For some organizations, as long as it is the next day or a few days later, they may allow you to be included in the applicant pool.”

If you know someone inside the company, let them know you’re interested in the job, Piedmont adds.

“You should reach out and ask if they will contact the hiring team to see if your application will be accepted,” she advises. “Make sure to send your resume to your contact so it can be given to the hiring team directly. If you appear well-qualified for the role, the hiring team may allow an exception if it is a hard deadline.”

And as Brie Reynolds, FlexJobs’ career development manager, noted in a blog post last fall, “Even if you’re too late for this job, submitting an excellent cover letter and well-edited resume that matches the position allows you to make a great first impression for potential future openings, or in case this job becomes available again shortly or in the future.”

Jagoda Wieczorek, manager of HR at ResumeLab, has a slightly different take on the topic. He says unless the job was posted for only a short time, it isn’t worth the time it would take to apply.

“If a company lists a cut-off date, odds are high they’re doing it on purpose knowing that they’ll be inundated with applications,” Wieczorek says. “Your time is much better spent setting up strategic notifications and alerts so that you’re one of the first to know when a role opens up at a company of your dreams.”

If you do decide to send your resume past the deadline, don’t mention that it’s late, says Ron Auerbach, resume writer, career coach, and educator and author of “Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success.”

“I would not recommend saying anything in your cover letter about it because it will draw even more attention to your having missed their established deadline,” Auerbach says. “Instead, keep the focus on the value you bring!”


(Article written by Kathleen Furore)