Why Can’t I Just Send My Resume?

The Internet makes it easy to send out thousands of applications quickly, and in this economy, that’s a plus, right? Not necessarily. While any job hunter will tell you that landing a job is a numbers game, it really isn’t that simple. What you send out is as important as how many times you send it out. Applicant tracking systems help recruiters keep track of the applicants for a job. However, these systems do not always make it easy to get through the application, and maybe that is the point. As a job hunter, you need to slow down and think carefully about what kind of information you are sending to an employer.

Some applicant tracking systems will let you upload a resume and then parse it to fill in all of the necessary fields. Check all of the fields to ensure they contain the proper information. While I agree that it is sometimes frustrating and redundant to have to manually fill in the application fields after you have just uploaded your resume with the same information, you still need to do it if you want to apply for a job and there’s no parsing button that will automatically fill in the fields for you. Take advantage of this; use the space to add information you did not put on your resume. Expand on your list of clients if you were a contractor. List additional training seminars, workshops or in-services in which you participated. You get the idea.

Filling out an online job application is an exercise in patience and following directions. One of the biggest applicant complaints is that the online application form is glitchy. Save yourself a huge headache. Read ALL of the information on the application page before you apply. Use the recommended browser. Download it if you have to. Your favorite browser may not show necessary dropdown boxes. Close out all extra windows and tabs. Shut down any programs you are not using. Don’t contact the position’s recruiter with complaints or problems until you are sure you have followed all of the directions. If you do have to contact the recruiter, be polite. Rudeness and not following directions will earn you a red flag in the recruiting applicant tracking system and it is not worth it, especially if you really need that job.

Another applicant complaint is that you cannot fill out multiple applications with one online form. And recruiters do not want you to, either. The advantage of using an online application is that the information automatically goes into an applicant tracking system that indexes your skills. There is no waiting for the recruiter to upload it for you. A recruiter can search the tracking system by skills to quickly assess your fit for several jobs. If you cannot take the time to tailor your information to each job you want, you are actually decreasing your chances because you are missing out on opportunities to sell yourself. A resume that is generic enough to apply for many different positions does not really tell a recruiter enough about you and ALL of your skills. Therefore, that generic resume that you spent so much time on or money on to have someone else write it becomes useless.

The last complaint I want to address about online applications is that some job applicants feel that mid-level or executive level jobs should not require an online application form. Really? Well, the reality is that many people apply for jobs at these levels and some of these people simply are not qualified. The forms are used to determine your level of qualifications. If you want the job, fill in the online form. If you do it correctly, the recruiter will suss out your “executive level” skills, note your preciseness and ability and willingness to do what it takes to get the job — including “wasting time” filling out forms.

If you absolutely cannot get the online application form to work, try it on a different computer. You may be a high-tech guru with all of the latest technical gadgets, but unfortunately, these applicant systems are not always updated to use the most current technology. The same is true for a smartphone or a tablet which use different operating systems than those of computers, and so the applicant system may not work well on these devices either.