The online application let me submit it with my attached resume and the required questions (can I work in the US, am I veteran, etc.) filled out but I did not enter work history, references, or relevant experience on the online form figuring my resume has all of that information on it except for references which I thought they would ask for if they considered me qualified and wanted to interview. The application didn't state that I had to fill out the information and did let me submit it without filling it out. I can't go back and edit the submitted application, did I ruin my chances at the job?

  • It's impossible to guess. It would depend heavily on the particular company's back-end system, what they do with the data from the online app, and what they do with the resumes. I would suggest filling out the information the online application asks for in the future. Jul 20, 2014 at 23:12
  • You could contact the prospective employer and ask how to submit another application - That's what I would do. And since you are contacting them, you might as well ask if there is an alternative to filling out the entire application manually, given that your resume is available. Jul 21, 2014 at 0:03
  • I'm pretty sure we've had this question before but I can't find it. Jul 21, 2014 at 16:27
  • Couldn't you just copy-pasted it from the resume ? Aug 2, 2014 at 18:54

4 Answers 4



The data has to get into their database somehow, or they wouldn't be asking you to enter it.

If you don't type it in, they have to decide whether to spend their money typing it in or just toss your resume in the circular file.

Do you really want to start the interviewing process by being needlessly uncooperative? Or by establishing that you don't follow directions?

  • 2
    Well said. Every job application will involve a certain amount of hoop-jumping. Filling in some fields with info that is already in your resume doesn't seem like a particularly onerous hoop to jump through, if you're genuinely interested in the job. Jul 21, 2014 at 4:56
  • 2
    Every job will also involve a certain amount of hoop-jumping.
    – keshlam
    Jul 21, 2014 at 5:00
  • Almost every site that accepts applications that I have seen in the last several years has the capacity to parse and import data from a resume, if said resume is written say in Microsoft word format. I would have to be especially motivated to want to work for a particular employer to spend four hours of my life typing in a resume by hand. Because I could have sent at least 8 resumes including writing custom cover letters to others in those four hours. I am none too crazy about spending four hours of my life doing any kind of paperwork manually these days. Jul 21, 2014 at 11:46
  • 1
    Your choice. "These days" I don't think one can afford to be that picky about something which is, really, a one-time cost. If you're willing to risk passing up good jobs because you can't be bothered, I won't argue with you.
    – keshlam
    Jul 21, 2014 at 17:45
  • Often the process in applying for jobs has weird redundancies like having to fill out your information on a site, submit a resume, have some formal application you need to fill out, etc. (with tons of overlap) Think of this as the first level of background/fraud detection. If you enter the same data 3 times and the details don't match that's a red flag your resume might not be on the up and up. (lying on resumes is becoming REALLY common) That said, even if it makes zero sense, when you apply to a job if they want you to fill out some extra form, you're probably not getting the job without it. Jul 22, 2014 at 14:22

did I ruin my chances at the job?

Definitely Maybe.

Some job application systems are set up to use the data from the form for searching and matching. If you neglected to enter all the data you could, you might be missing out on some positions, since your entry won't match their search criteria.

Additionally, some recruiters and HR reps are very focused on the data you entered, and less focused on attached documents. In that case, your application may get less attention than one where every detail is filled out.

It's also possible that your refusal to enter the data in every field will be seen as a sign of laziness, a lack of motivation, or a lack of willingness to cooperate. Those aren't attributes that managers like in candidates.

Yet for some shops it won't matter all that much, since they might be willing to comb through the attachments for relevant details.

But why take the risk? A good job is worth a few extra minutes of effort. Next time, enter the details everywhere available in the form. That way you are covered no matter how the recruiter/HR uses the data and there will be no risk of ruining your chances at what might be a great job.

  • I think you should evaluate a prospective job based on likely fit, compensation, etc, and determine how much time you are going to spend on the application before hand. Then you should prepare the best possible application you can considering the time budget.
    – emory
    Aug 3, 2014 at 13:13

If they didn't want you to fill out the on-line application, they wouldn't have asked you to do so. One very large software firm with whom I am familiar, doesn't have a human look at an applicant until the third vetting. The first level is the on-line form, which is evaluated by a PHP back end. The second is a review of your resume by an AI system. If you make it past that, a clerk reads your resume and decides whether or not to pass it on to the more experienced HR types. Much later, it might actually get to the hiring manager. My point is, if you want the job, do everything they ask. If you don't do everything they ask, don't expect to get hired. Oh, if you want a 100% chance of being rejected, a spelling or gross grammar error will do it.


Worst case: The reason the questions were separate is that they were being put into a database of some sort and that database is used for automated screening. The empty questions will prevent a human from even seeing your application.

Better case: For some reason, there is more than one system the hiring team has to work with and it is easiest for them to have your information in both. Maybe when they are comparing all applicants side by side, the structured, online system makes that easier, then when they actually choose the candidates they kind of like, they open up the individual resumes. Downloading or printing individual files one by one can be tedious before applicants are narrowed down. In this case, you made their job harder. Making the job of the person hiring you harder is not good and will decrease your odds.

Best case: It's a system nobody wants but is stuck there for some reason beyond the hiring team's control (software for job applications can't turn that feature off, an unrelated department in their company requires it).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .