Employment Applications

    Paula Fulghum

    “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Job Applications
    In our current society it seems that jobs are becoming more and more scarce, and it’s becoming harder to secure a quality position. The application and selection process is becoming quite critical and competitive in many cases. I recently knew someone who was about to score a new job after being unemployed for a significant time. He showed up to orientation, and was shocked when he was told to leave. He had apparently left off a small misdemeanor charge on the application inquiry about his criminal record. This was a critical mistake that cost him a valuable opportunity. He learned the hard way that one should always be truthful on an application, because most of the time employers will catch such lies or negligence.

    Employment is serious business now days. Employers want the best of the best, and they can be selective if they so choose. Employers use references like background checks and contacting previous employers to ensure that they invest in a valuable individual. Many job seekers may have the naïve opinion that they’re just filling out a bunch of unnecessary “fluff” that’s never going to be used when they fill out an application, but it is rarely true. I used to think myself that no one was going to contact my references, and that stuff didn’t really matter, but in today’s job environment a company is going to use every source they can to ensure they are making a wise hire.

    Filling out a job application seems like a routine, fact of life, easy task, but there are some mistakes that can be easily made when filling out an application. Candidates need to be sure to be careful, honest, and highlighting positive skills when filling out applications. Many steps can be taken to positively influence those perusing through job applications. First, be sure you fill out everything completely and neatly. If an employer comes across an application that looks as if it has been completed hastily, then that doesn’t give off a good vibe about the candidate. Someone handing in a crumbled up application with coffee stains and smeared ink may not appear to be the most responsible of individuals. In addition to being neat, be sure to be accurate and honest. Appearing slightly less qualified may be better than having some enhancing characteristics that you can’t follow through on because they’re not based on truth. Don’t leave items blank if you’re unsure. If you don’t know your dates of hire/termination, figure them out by contacting old employers. If you don’t know what salary to request, research online what an average salary is currently. Completion and accurate records make employees look prepared and conscientious.

    When it comes to reporting skills and giving references, be sure to play up your strengths. Provide skills that seem to meet what the company needs. Also, provide references that you know will give a great review of you. References need to be individuals who know about your work ethic and your performance as an employee. Providing references on your good character may be helpful, but employers are going to be most concerned with your work life, not how great of a neighbor you are or how sweet of a friend you were in college. Definitely don’t be foolish and give a reference that you know didn’t like you or someone who didn’t think you were great at your job. References should be people who enjoyed your work and/or working with you, have known you a considerable amount of time, and people who you trust to laud your strengths not point out all your weaknesses.

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