Almost every job has an application to be filled out. You’ve been out filling out as many applications as you can during this difficult economic time. You simply can’t risk not answering a question incorrectly or missing an employer in your employment history. What do you do to make this process a little easier?
For many years, I’ve been training individuals on filling applications. A lot of information can be simply forgotten when you are sitting there filling out applications all with different (and many times confusing) questions. Especially when you have to fill out a paper one on the spot before an interview or in order to be considered. I recommend anyone and everyone to have a master application.
What’s a master application? Simply put, a master application is an application that helps you fill out all the other applications. It’s an application that includes the most asked questions on employment applications. The following are a few tips on filling out your application. Make sure to note these tips in your master application so that you don’t forget!
– Social Security Number: DO NOT write your Social Security Number on any paper application. Instead write, “available upon hire.” You never know how many people are handling your paper application to have such important information on there. If you’re filling out an online application, that’s fine as they are secured and are only handled by authorized personal.
– Conviction: If you have been convicted of a felony, BE HONEST about it! Check “yes” and where it asks you to explain write, “will discuss during interview.” Having a conviction doesn’t disqualify you from being hired*, having lied can. As a college student a few years ago when I was working part-time at a retail store, one of my co-workers was getting promoted to being head of sales. He was making the most commission out of his department and everyone was excited for him because he deserved that promotion. The next thing we know, he was terminated. When I finally saw him about a week later, he said it was because he lied on his application. He didn’t want to put he was convicted a few years ago for something so small and lose a promotion over it. It turns out, they learned of his conviction when they conducted their background check for his promotion. Later that week, I tried to talk to the manager on his behalf. The manager simply said that it wasn’t because of his conviction, it was because they just can’t trust him to be honest to customers if he wasn’t honest on his application.
– Employment History, Reason for Leaving: If you have been fired, please DO NOT put, “fired because boss was a stupid jerk!” Instead put something along the lines of, “involuntary termination” or “will discuss during interview.” You should before anything, check with your previous employer and try to figure out what they are telling other employers calling for work verification. During the interview of course, you will stay positive and honest. You will NOT get all defensive on why you were fired. It’s ok if you got fired, it’s what you learned from it that counts!
– Age: Applications should NOT be asking you of your age, just if you are over 16 or 18 and can legally work. Most cities and states have varying laws of how old you have to be as a minor to legally work. Many states allow 14 year old students to work no more then 15 hours a week while others require that you be 16 years of age to work no more then 20 hours a week. If you are in those age ranges, you need to contact your school counselor or dean on obtaining the necessary documentation to work. Companies that do hire minors have to include such a question in their application so that they are complying with the state and local law. Make sure you have approval from your school before applying to any job!
– Gender, Race, Etc.: Almost all applications now have it be optional if you want to answer these question to help the company make sure it is being fair and diverse in it’s workforce. I personally do not recommend anyone to fill any of these out so that not to give any chances of any discrimination what so ever.