Job Application

Job Applications Serve Employer Needs that a Resume Doesn't Meet

Caucasian woman filling out a job application at a hotel.
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The job or employment application is the official form that employers ask all applicants for a position to fill out. The job application is filled out offline in a pen / paper format or, increasingly, online. The job application (see a variety of sample job applications) provides a consistent format with the same questions that must be answered by each person who applies for an open position.

The job application is a legally defensible listing of your job applicant’s employment history, educational background, degrees, qualifications, references, and more.

Unlike the resume and cover letter that are written and formatted to highlight the applicant’s most significant and impressive credentials, the job application is a listing of questions that require factual responses. Dates of employment, positions held, names and contact information for supervisors, dates of degrees, name, address, and phone number are examples of facts required on the job application.

The job application is used for assorted reasons by employers. The job application allows the employer to collect the potential employee’s signature verifying that all statements on the job application are true.

The applicant’s signature on the job application allows the employer to verify the truth of all content and gives permission for reference checking, background checking, criminal history checking, and often, reviewing the results of drug testing.

The job application provides names and contact information of references and employers, especially direct supervisors. Depending on the application, the job application asks for the applicant’s social security number and the applicant’s available work schedule. The job application asks whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. The military record is also requested on a job application.

Finally, most job applications ask if the potential employer can contact the applicant’s current employer for employment information. A negative response is not a statement about the applicant; rather it is viewed as normal that an applicant wants to protect his or her current employment.

All job applications end with the applicant’s signature certifying that all stated is true and granting the potential employer broad permissions to check the applicant’s suitability for employment and to check the applicant’s veracity.

Courteous employers who seek a reputation as an employer of choice, send an application acknowledgement letter. The next step an applicant should expect is either an applicant rejection letter or a request for an interview or phone screen.

With application materials fraud escalating, employers also need to know who you are hiring.

More About the Resume and Cover Letter