If you’re looking for a job, you probably know how FRUSTRATING it is to fill out online job applications. They take forever to complete, they can time out while you’re in the middle of filling them out, and after all of the time and energy you put into them, you RARELY hear back from employers. So, what are you doing wrong? Chances are, you’re making this tiny mistake when you’re filling out online job applications… This little error could result in your application getting tossed every single time you apply for a job. And that’s just a waste of time! What’s the mistake? You’re not filling out every single field listed on the job application. Sometimes you’re allowed to “skip” a field when you’re filling out an online job application. And you might take advantage of this, thinking, “Well, I don’t have an answer for that, so I’m just going to skip it.” Unfortunately, by doing that, you’re getting yourself disqualified. Here’s why.... The applicant tracking system, or ATS, gathers all of the data you’ve filled in and puts it into a “digital spreadsheet” of sorts. It immediately looks through this “spreadsheet” and compares all of the candidates on the list. With so much competition for jobs posted online, employers have to have a system to eliminate candidates that might not be worth reviewing. That’s where this “spreadsheet” comes in. Basically, the ATS eliminates anyone who didn’t fill out the online job application completely so it can narrow down the applicants. So, if you skip fields on the application, it will likely get pulled from the “spreadsheet” and no one will ever see that you applied. While it’s frustrating, it happens. So, if you choose to apply to jobs online, make sure you fill out every field, even the ones you can skip. If it does not apply to you, put in “N/A.” That way, you won’t be tossed on a technicality. In the end, though, applying for jobs online is a lengthy, frustrating process. Strongly consider other job search techniques that will help you move forward faster and more effectively - like strategic networking!