One of the most common complaints that job seekers have is, “Why do I have to fill out a (*#!*!!#$) application? Everything they need to know is on the resume!”
Several years ago, a banking client hired someone a well-qualified person for a difficult to fill software engineering job. About a week after the person started, they discovered the person had lied about whether they had a college degree. Security met this person at their desk with a shoebox of their personal possessions as they returned to work from lunch on the Friday of their first week of employment.
Employment applications are a legal document; resumes are not. If you look on most applications, the potential employer provides a caution or warning that says something to the affect of “Lying on an application is grounds for dismissal.” Since most background and reference checks are completed after you have started your new job, an application notifies a potential employee of a risk.
They also provide a simple snapshot of a person’s writing skills (and penmanship for that matter) and attention to detail that a resume cannot.
All applications are somewhat similar so to create the best impression you can, as well as to save time when filling them out, create your own master employment application. List former jobs, making sure you have the correct addresses, telephone numbers, and the dates of your employment. Use this as your “sample form” when filling out a real application.
If you are unsure about a specific month that you started a job several years ago or a salary that you were paid, DON’T JUST GUESS! Add the phrase “approx” for approximately next to the item. This tells the interviewer that you are not sure of the exact month or salary and that you don’t want to lie when filling out the form.
Don’t leave questions blank. insert a dash or a N/A (for not applicable) if it doesn’t pertain to you. Proofread. Proofread.. Proofread. One of the advantages of having a master form is that if you spelling is not perfect, you have a place where you have written the word down previously and have spelled it correctly.
Try to write neatly. It’s not that great penmanship will get you the job but exquisite and poor handwriting is noticed.
Lavender may be a nice scent for the bathtub but a poor choice of ink colors when filling out a form. Stick with blue or black ink when completing forms. Some firms scan answers into systems tat won’t recognize any other color.
In good or bad employment markets, nothing is worth having to explain to your friends and family why, after telling them so much about your job hunting journeys, after telling them you (finally) have a job, after telling people that you were enjoying the new job, after finally feeling comfortable, there is no worse moment than seeing security at your desk.