Why All the Cut & Paste?

Ms. Anita,

I would like to know why all the applications when you have a résumé?

Dear, Cutting Corners,

Untitled-1Bothersome, isn’t it? Cutting and pasting information from your already attached résumé makes applying for position postings online seem like a full-time job in and of itself. And for the unemployed, it is your primary goal. So, although it may seem a hassle, do what your future employer asks of you, and fill out the online application to their specifications.

Some job application systems are formatted to use the data you enter to match you with open positions, as it is much faster than a human resources professional personally reviewing each and every application for key words and phrases. These HR pros want the information in the format they require rather than having to search for it wherever you happened to include it (if at all) in your résumé. So skip the extra application step at your peril. You may not even be considered for the job, or you’ll look like someone who cannot follow directions or is simply lazy. (Now, now. I don’t want to hear you calling these hiring managers lazy; they often get hundreds of résumés for online job postings. The onus is on you to make selecting your application easier.)

While we’re on the subject of filling in online job applications, please pay attention to capitalization. I hate to see apps with names or other proper nouns typed in all lower case. That’s just as bad – no, worse – than SHOUTING in all caps. After all, you are smarter than a 5th Grader, aren’t you?

Readers: Go ahead; have a little rant below about all the extra work of filling out online job applications. Then… do it anyway.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Scott Lewis
    Jan 05, 2016 @ 09:03:22

    Anita, I think you got it right on. While some organizations have moved onto more advanced OCR systems, you can see these that ask you to upload your resume first and then fine tune it in the various spaces as the software breaks out your experience and education, other organizations simply are not there or are unwilling to make the investment. Additionally, there are any number of job search advisors who claim that the old chronological resume is dead. That works when you get a real person to look over your resume but a computer system has a much harder time identifying the correct information for its predefined fields and so we get to copy and paste. It may be a pain but the same rules apply: Use terms similar or the same as the job announcement to trip the computer search to put your resume ON TOP.


    • anitaclew
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 06:33:59

      Great advice, Scott, to take the opportunity to personalize your online application with the employer’s keywords when cutting and pasting.


  2. Tiffany Lieu
    Dec 11, 2015 @ 13:40:15

    I think employers are looking for more clues about your literacy level in some ways during job applying online too. The speed at which you read through and fill out the applications as well as typing them fast and correctly counts. And, definitely computer applications as well like how you are using key functions to transfer data from the computer to their system. It looks time wasting to me too as I spend on the average about 45 minutes at least per application fastest. Now, if you need to poop or urinate, it can be an inconvenience as you are idling their system and that counts to their first impression too. Or, perhaps other inconvenient reasons as well.


  3. Oscar Rodriguez
    Dec 08, 2015 @ 16:01:07

    Anita, saying that 5th graders are not smart is not very wise. Age has nothing to do with what you called “Smart”. I just read about a 3 year old girl that knows the periodic table. I bet you do not know it.


    • anitaclew
      Dec 09, 2015 @ 10:17:44

      Oscar, I was making a reference to the TV show, “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader.” I did not mean to offend.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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