How NOT to Get Tripped Up on a Employment Application

Welcome to the next step—our “Be a Paperwork Pro” miniseries of blog posts.  (Are we taking it too far by having a “series within a series” of blogs.  Maybe . . . but we’re having fun with it.)

The Employment Application

When it comes to the employment application, you might receive one well in advance of your interview, you might need to fill one out online, you might be given one to fill out once you arrive for the face-to-face interview, or you might encounter a combination of these possibilities.

Whatever the case is, it’s imperative to NOT lose your focus or get tripped up on the application.  Paying attention to detail is another way in which to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances for success.

To more readily attain that goal, below are some guidelines to follow when filling out the employment application:

  • If possible, ask for a second application or make a photocopy of it.  Make your final application copy as neat, accurate, and complete as possible.
  • Avoid errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • On the education section, include all education relevant to the prospective job, including seminars and other training.  If possible, all of your education should go on the application.  List your highest degrees first, unless directed otherwise.
  • Completely fill out the work history section, including accomplishments, and, if recent, include jobs held to finance your education.  Do not try to substitute a resume for this section.  Only attach the resume if it includes information not on the application.
  • Provide business and personal references.  You should have spoken to these people in advance and know what they will say.
  • Complete all items on the application except for expected salary, which should be left blank.  If challenged as to why you left it blank, say, “I have a salary range in which I am looking.  I won’t know where in my range this position falls until the end of the interview.  I did not want to give you false or misleading information.”

Filling out the employment application in this fashion is the first step in being a “Paperwork Pro” in terms of your job search and especially your face-to-face interview.  In our next blog post, we’ll examine another way you can master the paperwork part of the process.

(For more information about successfully preparing for YOUR next interview, download a copy of Dan Simmons’s e-Book, Put Your Best You Forward: Simple Steps to a Successful Interview.)

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