How do I deal with applying for the job after the deadline?
January 18, 2017 3:50 AM   Subscribe

I found a government job I'd like to apply for. Only trouble is, the deadline for applying was January 17, which is the day I'm typing this question. I'd still like to apply. How do I deal with the fact that I'll be a day late?

I'm looking for a new job for reasons that have nothing to do with being unhappy at my current job. I was sort of taking a desultory look at some job postings last week, and I found one I'd like to apply for. The site said that the application was to be sent via US mail, and had to be received or postmarked by January 17th. I had intended to do the mailing today, but as luck would have it, I was sick as a dog today and unable to go to work. (Everything I need to apply is on my work computer and not accessible from home.)

I'd still like to apply for the job, and the application will be only a day late. I figure I have nothing whatsoever to lose; the worst that will happen is that they won't look at the application. The question is, should I mention in the cover letter that I'm aware I'm a day late? I was thinking of saying something like "I am aware that this application is postmarked one day after the deadline, but due to illness I was unable to postmark it on time; I ask that you consider it anyway" or words to that effect. Should I say something like that, or should I just leave out any reference to the date, hoping that maybe they either won't notice or won't care?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't mention it, and don't ever tell a prospective employer you're ill. Just send the thing out right now.
posted by phunniemee at 4:14 AM on January 18, 2017 [7 favorites]

Agreed - don't say anything. It's most likely too late to apply and they won't even open your envelope, but if you don't mind trying, just do it anyway.

And then, if you're applying for a federal job, take some time soon and upload everything you need to the usajobs website, such as resume and transcripts. It'll sit there until you need to apply again, which you can then in a matter of minutes.
posted by umwhat at 4:33 AM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Don't mention it. However, having been on the inside of these things there is a strong likelihood that it won't be reviewed if it's late. Federal Jobs tend to get hundreds of applications and HR will use any reason they are able where the applicant hasn't followed the rules exactly to cut down on the initial batch to review.
posted by Karaage at 4:58 AM on January 18, 2017 [7 favorites]

Send it by same-day courier.
posted by bergnotburg at 5:35 AM on January 18, 2017

I just want to second Karaage.

Go ahead and send it in, but don't expect it to be looked at, if it's a Federal job. I've been in Federal service over 30 years, and I know from first hand experience* that HR departments are extremely picky about going by the rules. For good reason, too; any deviation from the rules can open the department up to a lawsuit by an unsuccessful candidate. And unlike the private sector, there are much harsher consequences for an HR employee forgoing the rules.

(*I have applied to do a job I was actually already doing, and have been doing for four years. Everyone in my department, and in HR, knows I have been doing it that long. But my application was rejected due to, basically, a typo (which was open to interpretation) that made it look like I was not doing it long enough to qualify. Even clarifying with HR in person didn't help. The Deputy Regional Manager even spoke to them, and they wouldn't change their decision, and he is their boss! So, yeah. It can be brutal.)
posted by The Deej at 5:40 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

If there's any way that you can figure out the email address of the actual supervisor for the job, send it to them directly. For some, but not all, federal jobs, they can consider resumes received outside of the official application process.
posted by mercredi at 6:37 AM on January 18, 2017

OP didn't say Federal Gov't and AFAIK for fed jobs it's USA Jobs only - they don't take paper applications. Assuming it's state or local, just send it in, you've invested the cost of a stamp. Don't mention that it's late.
posted by fixedgear at 7:43 AM on January 18, 2017

I can envision no scenario in which noting that your application is late will help your chances.

They may just "throw it on the pile" that they haven't started reviewing yet, at which point they only way they'll know it's late is if you drew attention to it. On the other hand, if they have very strict cut-offs, they won't even bother reviewing the application. However, if they're that strict with deadlines, they are unlikely to be swayed by one line in a cover letter; they're probably not reading the cover letter, anyway.
posted by Betelgeuse at 9:35 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Send it! Late may make it a slim chance, but not sending is zero chance. All the more awesome if it does happen for you.
posted by coevals at 10:37 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

And then, if you're applying for a federal job, take some time soon and upload everything you need to the usajobs website, such as resume and transcripts. It'll sit there until you need to apply again, which you can then in a matter of minutes.

So uploading some things in advance for federal jobs will help (like transcripts), but the way federal hiring currently works, your resume should be tailored to the job description for each job (e.g. using the key words in the job description in your account of your experience for each job). As such, you'll need to rework it each time you apply.
posted by Jahaza at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2017

Right, you need to get past the people who sort the envelopes, and not bring this to the attention to the people who read the applications.

If (and this is a big 'if' with government) you can find a phone number for someone on the hiring end, I'd call and explain the situation. If the rule is strict, then they still won't be able to accept it, but that was already the case. If the rule is super-loose, or if their envelope sorting is lackadaisical, then you might get past the due-date screening, and I can't imagine that a phone call would change that -- I doubt they'd specifically keep an eye out for your envelope and throw it away because you called. Then, there might be a very small chance that they'd specifically allow yours because you reached out. In other words, a phone call will probably make no difference, but is more likely to help than hurt. I wouldn't mention that you had all of the materials on your work computer; I'd just describe being too sick to mail it off.
posted by salvia at 11:22 AM on January 18, 2017

Couldn't hurt to go ahead and send it in. However, as a few others mentioned be aware that if this is a Federal position, they likely won't take it. My experience (as a Fed who has spent a lot of time on USAJobs lately) is that you need to explicitly meet every requirement (deadline, document requirements, meet the criteria of "Who May Apply", show that you have the appropriate specialized experience, etc) - HR really does look for any excuse to disqualify you, and getting past that HR filter is the only way the hiring manager will ever see your resume no matter how well you're qualified or how well you can network.
posted by photo guy at 1:45 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

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