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Completing Job Applications

Most people rush through the application process without spending a fraction of the time spent on the résumé. However, many people get hired off of the information contained in their job application and not their résumé. The company job application is the only legal document you submit. Your résumé is important, but do not neglect the importance of job applications.

Read them thoroughly and follow the directions. Slow down and take your time. A messy incomplete application will not get you an interview. Print neatly and clearly.

Often the way you complete the application is used as the first screening process (timeliness, neatness, accuracy). If you cannot spell very well, take a pocket spellchecker with you. Better safe than sorry! To an employer, this is their first impression of your work.

Here Are Some General Tips On Completing Employer Job Applications

  • Take a master application containing:
    • All previous employers
    • Skills you have developed from previous employment
    • Names, addresses and phone numbers of references. Make sure you have contacted any references you list, and let them know you are giving them as reference. Make sure they like you and are going to give a positive response.
  • Previous Employer Sections - List skills from previous employment as they relate to this employer's needs. Refer back to the job announcement for the specific skill sets the employer is seeking in an applicant.
  • Bring along your résumé for quick reference to dates and company names. Make sure the dates on your résumé and job application match.
  • Bring along any reference numbers and addresses, in case needed.
  • Read the whole form carefully before starting.
  • Try to get two copies, use one as a rough draft and the second as the final.
  • Use your best handwriting; if they cannot read it, they will not call.
  • Bring along an erasable pen, you can erase mistakes, and after a while, the ink dries and becomes permanent.
  • Fill in all information on the application (Do not say "See résumé ").
  • Leave no blanks. Instead, if the information requested does not apply to you, put N/A (for "not applicable"). This informs the staff reviewing your application that you did not simply skip the question.
  • Many jobs list a specific number of years experience required in certain skills. Make sure you make it clear in your application that you have the required experience. Many times the sections asking about previous jobs are broken down into percentages of time spent on particular activities. Make sure that all of the percentages add up to the total number of years required by the employer for the position.
  • Be ready to complete the application in the office. Many companies will not let you take the form with you to fill out at home. Do not take this personally. In some industries, basic reading and writing skills are essential, and many companies want to see that you do not need help in reading or completing the application.

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