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Job Applications are used for a variety of reasons, but more and more employers are requiring a job application, even if you have previously submitted a resume, and they want you to do so on the spot… WHY? Your resume is only an introduction to your qualifications and skills. The interview allows the employer explore what you bring to the table in depth, as well as assess you as an individual.
Employers are usually in a hurry to fill vacant positions, because the longer it takes, the more it costs them. If they're interested in hiring you, they want to get the ball rolling right away with plenty of leeway for completing paperwork, including time-consuming background and reference checks.
Job applications also show a potential employer how well you follow directions and give complete information.
Most importantly, you sign a job application, attesting to truthfulness of the information contained in the document.
So one of the worst things you can do is to turn in an incomplete job application or delay the process by asking to take it home. It's not a good idea to let competing candidates beat you to it, either.
Job application can be very detailed, so it is a good idea to gather all the information, paperwork and other documents that may be required (DD 214, diplomas, etc), in advance. Below is a list of the details employers typically want you to provide on job applications. It excludes the ordinary for which you don't need to prepare, such as your contact information. (Job Searching: J. Steven Niznik, 2000)
Social security number (SSN)
Driver's license number and state of issue
Whether or not you've been convicted of a crime by civil or military courts
Nature of the offense
Date of conviction
Location where convicted
Disposition (sentence, probation, etc.)
Home addresses for the past ten years
Date you're available for work
If you must give your current employer notice two weeks in advance, write Two weeks notice.
Otherwise, write the date on which you know for sure you can start work.
Military service. Bring your discharge papers, just in case they ask to see them.
Entry and discharge dates
Type of discharge
Special training received and dates
You might be asked if you're a veteran of a war, such as Vietnam. This is for affirmative action programs, not discrimination.
Position desired, first and second choices
Geographic preference, first and second choices
Salary desired. If you want to temporarily sidestep the salary issue so you can negotiate, write negotiable, open or competitive.
How you heard about the job
If an employee referred you, get the employee's work contact information in advance.
Then include it on the job application if required, so the employee receives incentives due.
Education and training
Start and end dates
School names and addresses
Majors and minors
Degrees earned and dates
Grade point average
Rank in class
Titles of Master's and Ph.D. Theses, and advisors' names
Additional skills. Typically, you don't need to worry too much about these unless applicable for the job. For example, lots of workers type on computers these days, but words per minute (WPM) usually applies only to clerical jobs.
Professional organization memberships
Names of organizations
Dates of membership
Addresses and phone numbers
Whether or not you are authorized to work in the country. If you have a work visa or weren't a citizen at birth, be sure to bring relevant paperwork.
Up to four references
Business and home addresses
Day and evening phone numbers
Relationships with you
Whether or not you've previously applied for work or worked at the same company. If so,
Dates of application or employment
Divisions, units and departments for which you worked
Names of bosses
Names of employers including current employer
Mailing and street addresses (if different), and phone numbers. Provide this information for the offices where the Human Resources (HR) departments or your work records are located.
Start and end dates. Write present for the ending date at your current employer.
Reasons for leaving. Be careful with this one. Never criticize a former employer. Instead, write something generic like career advancement.
Last or beginning and ending salaries. If you want to temporarily sidestep salary or don't think it's any of their business, leave it blank or write competitive.
Boss's names, titles and business contact information
Your titles and the type of work you did
Reasons for gaps of 90 days or more in your work history, other than school
Remember to fill out the form completely; do not leave any blank spaces, if it doesn't apply put N/A or something to that effect. If you don't want to answer the question, put, will discuss. Be as neat as possible, with no strikeouts or scribble overs. (This is why you have your information prepared in advance.
Being prepared to fill out a job application, on the spot, may make you the front-runner in that coveted position.