Do I Really Need to Fill in ALL Those D@$* Boxes When I Apply Online For a Job?

Applying to jobs online is a chore.

First, you upload your resume. Then, there's about three million boxes to fill in asking minute details from your job history, to your favorite color, to which Marvel superhero you'd like to be. Its no exaggeration that filling out an online application can take 30 minutes to an hour. Or longer.

You would think that just uploading your resume would be enough. Couldn't you just type into the boxes on the online application, "See resume?"

You could. But you might really be hurting your chances at snagging the job, or even at getting a second look.

Here's why:

  1. Yes, your formatted resume is part of the package. But for the recruiters to do their searches, it helps when you fill in all the boxes, as you might add additional detail. In addition, recruiters might search by a specific field. For example, they might search the job history box for "Motorola" to see who worked there. If you just typed in "See resume," you won't come up on the search. There are a million ways to slice and dice your data, and you need to have your information in the right place to be seen. The good news is you can cut and past from your resume for many of these.
  2. It's a test. And the first thing a company will want to see is that you can follow instructions. If you don't enter in the boxes what they're asking for, you don't pass the first test.

Banal? Yep.

Boring? Absolutely.

Necessary? Probably.

Try to remember that job hunting can be a full time job. And some of that time is spent playing the game - which, in this case, means filling in a bunch of little boxes.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at, or via the website,