A Million Application Forms and counting

Toptal application form
Toptal application form

Whether you are looking for a job or sign up on platforms for offering your skills as a freelance, many of these sites require you to pass your cv by means of a web form. In the end you spend your precious time filling in forms over and over again instead of coding or working on your project. Is this really necessary?

First published: 22/02/2021 | Last update: 25/02/2021

The short answer is no. It should not be necessary, if these people would agree on a common data format, in JSON or XML.

It is true that young people with a straight forward education and just a couple of jobs on their record may afford the time to do all this superfluous boilerplate work.

Some people will argue that the required data differs from site to site but this is only true for a very small portion of the data. Another argument you might hear is that the sites want you to engage with them which is why they make you spend time with the registration process. They will tell you that if you are looking for a job, writing CVs is your job. This is bunk! If someone wants me to write the same stuff over and over again I think he is looking for somebody good at low-qualified copy paste jobs and not a qualified coder or pm.

Instead, I would prefer to spend time on presentation letters and investigating the companies who offer the job that I apply for.

The very first step towards making job applications more efficient would definitely be a format schema (xsd or JSON schema). This is what a CV may look like in JSON:

    "PersonalData": {
        "Name": "Markus Barth",
        "Gender": "Male",
        "DateOfBirth": "xxx-xx-xx",
        "Address": {
            "Street": "C/. xxx, 25",
            "City": "Guardamar del Segura",
            "Zip": "03140",
            "Province": "Alicante",
            "Country": "ES"
    "Contact": {
        "Email": "xxx@xxx.x",
        "Phone": "+34 XXX XXX XXX"
    "FurtherInfo": {
        "WebSite": "http://markusbarth.net",
        "LinkedIn": "https://www.linkedin.com/in/markus-barth-3a7583b0/"
    "Education": ["M.A. Philology, University of Düsseldorf",
        "Translator Spanish-German, State exam Chamber Of Commerce Düsseldorf",
        "Foreign Language Correspondent English, French, Spanish, Chamber of Commerce Düsseldorf",
        "Training for Trainers, CdT Alicante"],
    "Languages": [{
            "Language": "English",
            "Competence": "C2"
        }, {
            "Language": "German",
            "Competence": "C2"
    "Publications": [
        "ISBN 978-3815822166 Das große Buch MySQL. Data Becker 2002",
    "Courses": [
        "Comercio electrónico",
        "Gestión de Proyectos,",
        "Internal Scrum Training",
        "USD Security Awareness Training"
    "Work": [{
            "JobTitle": "Integration Management",
            "Description": ["Managing Integration into Peakwork Player-Hub network of accommodation suppliers",
                "Assessement and consulting with focus on data conversion for well-known tour operators",
                "Writing QA applications and data converters in python"
            "Company": "Freelance, M. Barth",
            "From": "2017-08-01",
            "To": "Current"
        }, {
            "JobTitle": "Project Manager",
            "Description": ["Maintenance and enhancement of existing data converters",
                "Integration of new accommodation suppliers",
                "Improvement of data quality of existing suppliers"],
            "Company": "Peakwork AG",
            "From": "2015-04-01",
            "To": "2017-06-31"
        }, {
            "JobTitle": "Project Manager",
            "Description": ["Technical Documentation",
                "Inhouse and external Training of Peakwork Hub web service",
                "2nd level support Hub web service",
                "regression testing Hub web service"],
            "Company": "Peakwork AG",
            "From": "2012-06-01",
            "To": "2015-03-31"
    "Skills": [
        {"XML": "Good skills and much work experience, can read XSD and write XSLT; familiar with tools such as LiquidSQL"},
        {"Python": "Versions 2 and 3, advanced knowledge. Familiar with frameworks such as scrapy, flask, Django"}

There is already a data format for curriculum related data, developed by HR Open Standard. And used by EURES and Europass.

Europass web site

Unfortunately support for 3rd parties that want to use this format is not overwhelming as can be seen on their web site.

However, a cv exchange format is only useful if it is accepted by more than just a few agents. But as soon as some of the more important web sites support this type of format and the first online cv editors support json as output formats any other company that offer professional services that require cv data will sooner or later have to accept json as input format for their cv uploads.