Why do companies make you re-enter your resume information back into the online application?

You’ve spent an hour or more painstakingly tailoring your resume. You researched the company, learned everything you could about the role, and perfectly optimized your resume for the job description. You click “Apply Now” and upload your resume. Done, right? Not so fast! Now re-enter your name and contact information. Re-enter every single job title, employment date, and qualification from your work history. Re-enter your education info. Answer a questionnaire while you’re at it.

You’ve now sunk an entire evening into a single job application and are wondering why the resume was necessary at all. Why are hiring companies torturing applicants like this?

Why Companies Make You Re-Enter Resume Information

Believe it or not, one of the reasons online applications are set up this way for the applicants’ benefit.

Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) automatically parse your uploaded resume into a digital candidate profile that can be searched or filtered by recruiters. Unfortunately, systems that rely on parsing tend to let highly qualified candidates slip through the cracks. For example, if your resume isn’t ATS-friendly, critical information might not be parsed correctly. This could cause you to be overlooked when a recruiter runs a keyword search for a skill that is on your resume.

Read more: What is an applicant tracking system?

When a company configures their ATS to receive your resume then ask for all that same information via text input fields, they’re avoiding some of the problems associated with resume parsing. The resume you uploaded will be used if a recruiter wants to give it a once-over or print it out. The information you manually input into the system will be used for searches and other ranking algorithms.

In some cases, this redundancy may simply be the result of a poorly configured recruitment process or a necessity of corporate process and bureaucracy. Nevertheless, assuming that it’s intentional and taking text fields seriously could provide a big boost to your application.

Do Not Write “See Resume”

After you’ve already invested so much time into creating the perfect resume, re-entering all the info might seem like a bridge too far. It’s easy to fall into “see resume” mode.

Don't type "see resume." Re-enter all your resume info.
Via Twitter

Just know that “see resume” and similar responses could be death to your application. By punting these fields, you’re counting on a recruiter to manually sift through all their (potentially hundreds of) applicants, click on yours, and decide to read your upload.

That’s not typically how recruiters operate. Often, they search for skills and keywords to narrow down their applicant pool before looking at any resumes. Unless they search for “see resume,” you’re out of luck.

Take Text Fields Seriously

At a bare minimum, paste in the information from your optimized resume. Get instant optimization tips and keywords by using the form below.

You might also gain an advantage over other applicants by beefing up application text fields beyond what’s in your resume. If you were struggling to fit all your qualifications or resume keywords onto a single-page resume, use these supplemental sections to expand upon your experience. This could help you come up for additional search terms.

Challenge Accepted

Remember, if an application feels arduous or overwhelming to you, other applicants are feeling the same way. Many will have abandoned their application and others might be phoning it in with “see resume” responses. Giving your full attention to redundant fields can be enough to get your resume to the top of the stack.

Learn more about ATS:

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