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I often find myself filling out some very detailed applications that ask for a lot of information about your previous jobs, education, and other things that are often outlined in much less detail on a resume (for example, work experience will also ask for starting/ending wage and title, hours worked, etc).

After filling out so information, you get to the end and it asks you to either attach (or upload if online) a resume if you wish to do so, and I always find myself asking "Why?" My resume certainly won't give any more information than the application already has...

Should I still be attaching a resume anyways just because it asks? Are they looking for something else specific in the resume that I haven't provided there?

  • 14
    Bloated, outdated, cumbersome, 'enterprise' HR software tools want applications. Hiring managers want actual resumes. So yes, I'd include the resume. – DA. May 13 '13 at 3:24
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If the application specifically requests you attach a resume in addition (it does not specify it is optional), I would definitely attach it. Even if it is optional, I would still attach it.

Here is a list of reasons the duplicate information in the resume could still be useful.

Executive Summary

Providing a resume will allow you to:

  • Format your resume to best represent yourself
  • Allow you to proofread and weed out careless mistakes
  • Provide a buffer against HR departments who don't have their ducks in a line
  • Provide a vehicle for a cover letter to further sell yourself for the job

Formatting

While the system may record all your information, you have no control over how that information will be formatted for viewing by the hiring manager and/or interviewers who will look at it.

Providing a resume as an attachment means that you can format it as you like in a way that better highlights your skills and what makes you good for the job (allowing you to lead the interview in a way that works better for you in the long run).

Make Sure the Info Matches

If you are going to provide both the resume and the application, you will be extra conscious to make sure the information in each matches. And that's a generally good thing to be careful about. Preventing careless mistakes will always work out in your favor.

Who is the Application For?

For all you know, the application could simply be to automate the process of weeding out candidates, and not actually for the purpose of providing info to the interviewers, etc. So HR could just use the "education" field to weed out people without the proper degree, or to limit people with less than X years of experience from moving to the next stage.

Most of us have worked in a company where what should happen (proper sharing of information to all related parties in an ideal format) doesn't actually happen, so providing the resume in addition may prevent some of these problems before they happen.

Cover Letters

If the application has no space for a cover letter, by all means attach one! The cover letter is a great way to show that you aren't just filling out oodles of online applications and haven't actually given thought to why you want to work for that company. It also makes you think about how best to fit your experience to what the company is looking for.

  • The note about applications "weeding out" applicants seems especially true for online applications. I've completed online applications where I was immediately told that my qualifications weren't acceptable (e.g. 4 years of experience in the field instead of 5 got me tossed out). – GreenMatt May 14 '13 at 12:42
  • For making sure the info matches, I find it helpful to read off of the resumé when typing in the application. – aebabis Apr 14 '15 at 20:22
  • In addition, if the information from the application does get shared with the hiring manager and individual interviewers, it may well be a jumbled mess. At my last company the application-wrangling site spat out about 6-7 pages of web-form-style stuff, with the actual resume part buried in there and ill-formatted. (As an interviewer I don't care about things like proof of authorization to work, relocation factors, and whatnot; that's HR's job to work out.) Any application that was supplemented with a proper resume made my job as an interviewer way easier. – Monica Cellio May 21 '15 at 19:49
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I'd also like to add to jmac's answer, the hiring manager isn't always going to get to see your application, and if they do, they want to see a trimmed down version. Your resume is a summary of your experience (the trimmed down version). While it may seem to be redundant, you should always attach a resume. I know of a few people (one of them my sister) that didn't get a job because they didn't attach a resume, even though the application was much like you described. Heck, one of my employees didn't get a promotion because he didn't attach a resume to the application.

Not having a Resume can be seen as something to screen a candidate out. It's worse than not having a cover letter. Really a cover letter is a quick way to tell them why they should interview you. Remember, the resume and cover letter are to get you to the interview, you get the job from the interview. But you won't get it if you don't make it there. Many times the application is just a way to gather your details so they can have all that information ready to go when you're hired.

protected by Community May 21 '15 at 15:38

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