the dreaded application

I received an email from a reader asking for some information on completing applications.   She said, “the applications want so much.  Are there rules for what to include or not?” We use applications at my employer.  We ask you to complete the information including basic demographic information, work history, education, and the standard work eligibility stuff.

I have seem some pretty lousy applications in my life.  And some really well done applications.  A couple of does and don’ts.

Demographic data
Address is confidential and will be supplied upon hire.  Odd.  Made me think all kinds of things.
Phone number.  Had a colleague tell me that one HR person told him to always include a work phone number to demonstrate that he was working.  I would never call you at work.

Work history
See resume.   Don’t write this.  Fill it in, completely.  If you don’t recall dates, at least get the month.   If you write a few key points, then indicate see resume for complete overview of responsibilities, that’s fine too.  But I am going to look and check anyway.
Make sure the dates on your resume match the dates on your application.
Contact information – check phone book.  It’s not my job to track down your references.
Salary – confidential.  (That’s fine)

Salary range desired $30-$80k  – Don’t do this.  That’s a crazy range.  Makes you look like you don’t know what you are looking for and what you are worth.
Desired salary – will entertain offers what are you, a clown?  Give me a sense of what you are looking to make.  Meet me halfway here.  Or:
Salary – market, negotiable, open.  Those are fine.  If you REALLY ARE open and negotiable.  I find that most candidates have a figure in mind.

References – provided on mutual interest  -of course they will be. You have to have references to get a job. Better to leave them blank.  Make it a little more upbeat or actually fill them in.  That would be helpful too.
All of my references are deceased.  Surely, someone, somewhere can provide a reference for you.  If you think there is a good chance that all your references will predecease you, keep your performance evaluations.

Applications should never be used in lieu of a resume.  Applications should be truthful.

Happy hunting.

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