Application Forms

Application Forms
- - - 3 Minute Timed Test
- - - 1. Copy form first
- - - 2. Follow directions
- - - 3. Check format
- - - 4. Apply for a specific job
- - - 5. Answer truthfully
- - - 6. Detail Work experience
- - - 7. Give Reason for leaving
- - - 8. Attach a resume
- - - 9. Account for unemployed time
- - - 10. Attach related documents
- - - 11. Detail Education and training
- - - 12. State Salary range
- - - 13. Use 'Comments' or 'Other'
- - - 14. Contact current employer?
- - - 15. "Why work for us?"
- - - 16. Always include phone #
- - - 17. Proof read carefully
- - - 18. Complete the original carefully
- - - 19. Sign your name
- - - 20. Consider delivery time
- - - 21. Keep your rough copy
Handling Difficult Questions
- - - Minimum salary
- - - Why do you want this job?
- - - Would you transfer?
- - - Special skills/abilities?
- - - What position do you want?
- - - Where did you learn about position?
- - - What kind of boss do you like?
- - - Likes/dislikes about employers?
- - - Describe yourself
- - - Why did you leave your last job?

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Application Forms

Just to see if you are ready for beginning to complete application forms, there is a "3 Minute Timed Test" which will get you thinking in the correct frame of mind. As the title implies, there is a three minute time limit on this test; please work as quickly and accurately as possible. Please keep in mind that though looking for work is a serious thing, we need to remain light-hearted in order to stay sane! Get a blank piece of paper; print "3 Minute Timed Test" at the top then follow the link to the test. Timing begins when the test is fully loaded on your screen.

Many people lose jobs before they get them. They fail to get the job they want because of what they say on the application form . . . and how they say it! Though many employers no longer use an application form, when they do it is a very important screening and selection tool for them. In many cases applicants receive ratings or scores solely on the basis of information provided on the form. In other words, your brilliant resume and covr letter may not even be requested, let alone considered. Applicants who do a good job completing the application form and present a positive image greatly increase their chances of getting the interview and the job! On the other hand, those who complete their application forms carelessly or incompletely reduce their chances greatly.

Some suggestions for improving your form and your chances include:

1. Always make a copy of the form before filling it out. Fill out the copy first, in pencil, and then transfer the information to the original, in pen, when the rough draft is perfect.

2. Read and follow the directions carefully. (See the "3 Minute Timed Test" above ) If it says "Print", "Type", or "Write" -- DO SO!! This is often a test for following instructions. Use N/A (which means 'not applicable') to fill in blanks that do not apply to you rather than just leaving blank space. This tells the employer that you have read each item. This may also be used if the form asks for information that you do not wish to provide, or that you are not required to provide under human rights legislation, such as age, weight, height, number of children, etc.

3. Check the form for general format such as whether you should should write above or below the lines. Also, check the order they wish your name in (sometimes they want last name first) and how they want dates provided (day, month, year or month, day, year).

4. Be specific about the type of position you are applying for. The information you provide will mean more to the employer if they have a framework to put it in. For example, if you are applying for a position in advertising design your art award is relevant; in most other positions it is irrelevant information and may annoy the person reading the application. You also want to show the employer what you can do for them rather than put them in a position of trying to think how you might fit into the organization.

5. Answer all questions truthfully and keep the tone positive. If the employer finds out that you don't have the driver's license you said you did that can be a reason to fire you. Even if you are not fired, it is almost impossible to repair the damage to your image if you are caught in a lie and then every statement you make is suspect.

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6. Provide all the information you can about your experience, particularly that which relates to the job you applying for. Read the job description carefully and tailor your skills and interests to relate to the job as well. Past experience should be listed with the most recent first and going back in time from there (unless the form states otherwise). Be sure to include details such as dates, company names, job titles, duties and any positive results. It is a good idea to carry a copy of your shelf resume with you when job searching so that you always have the details at hand. Keep in mind that work around the home, or in volunteer positions, is also valuable experience. Do not overlook them simply because you didn't get paid; if the application form requires you to include salary simply write in 'volunteer' or put a dash in that space.

7. When asked why you left past jobs answers such as "to accept promotion", "to broaden my experience", "to develop my skills in a different area", "laid-off", "returned to school", "temporary position", "business closed", and "moved" (provided there is not a history of short term jobs due to frequent moves) are appropriate answers provided they are true. If you were fired try to express the reasons in as positive a light as possible and/or indicate you have learned from the experience.

8. Attach a resume only to supplement the work history shown on the application form -- and then only if it provides additional useful information. It is usually wise to attach one, if possible. Rather than duplicate information that is in the resume on the application form, simply put "see attached resume" where appropriate. Most forms give too little space to describe your work experience.

9. In your work history, in a positive way account for any significant period of time when you were not working -- even if it was 30 years! Remember, homemaking and volunteer work is valuable experience. Highlight it!

10. Attach any documents that have direct bearing on your ability to perform the particular job you are applying for (such as certificates, transcripts, performance appraisals, letters of recommendation, etc). If they are not asked for, or do not directly relate, collect them in a portfolio to take to the interview.

11. When listing educational information include dates of attendance, names of schools, and certificates obtained. If significant to the job, include training courses taken, special awards received, or offices and memberships held.

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12. Past salaries and current salary expectations are sometimes requested. Depending on how you feel about being "pigeon-holed" at a certain salary, you can either indicate a range or state you are open to negotiation.

13. If there is one, fill in the "Additional comments" or "Other" section. It is the one place on the form you can expand on your personal skills, strengths, and reasons for being interested in the job. This is also a good place to indicate your flexibility to consider other opportunities in the organization if the job you are applying for is not available.

14. If you don't want your present employer to be contacted, indicate so on the form and don't give their telephone number.

15. If the form asks why you want to work for that particular organization, think about your answer carefully. Organizations usually hire people they believe can solve their problems, so consider along the lines of "to use my ____ skills to further the interests of the _____ (the organization or it's clients)." Be sure to have an accurate idea what the business of the organization is. Self development as a reason for wanting to work there should be secondary. Do not give as reasons such things as having friends or family that work there, the convenience of the location, the salary, or the job security. These may be valid reasons for you to want the job, but they are not what the person reading the form is interested in hearing about.

16. Always put down a phone number where you can be reached. If you don't have a phone of your own find a friend, relative or neighbour who will take messages for you.

17. Check the form very carefully for errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Use dictionaries, grammar books, or phone books if you are in doubt. After you have it as good as possible, have someone else proof read it for you.

18. When you are satisfied that the penciled copy can not be improved any more, then neatly print (or whatever is included in the directions) or type the original in blue or black ink. If your printing is not easily read then have someone else do it for you. This copy should then be hand delivered or mailed to the employer as appropriate.

19. Remember to sign your name. Most application forms have a statement at the end that says that the information you have given is true. Signing your name confirms this.

20. Make sure the finished application form gets to the right place at the right time. There are occasions when there are deadlines, so take into consideration mail delivery times if it must be mailed.

21. Keep your pencilled copy in a safe place for future use. If you are to be interviewed, review your pencilled copy just before the interview so you can recall what you have told this employer. It is a good idea to take it to the interview with you along with a copy of the ad if there was one, your resume and/or cover letter, and the copies of certificates etc as discussed above.

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Consider the application as a sample of your work. If it is neat, complete, and accurate, the employer will see you as an individual who does high quality work.

Is the form accurate?

Is the form complete?

Is the information honest?

Is the form neat?

Have the form's directions been followed?

Are the responses typwritten, printed or readable if in another format as per instructions?

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Handling Difficult Questions

Many employment application forms have questions that are designed to test some quality such as your mental alertness or self-awareness. These are called "key" questions. Often, they are the only ones that are closely examined when an employer looks at your application. Following are some key questions and some things to think about (follow the s for some of our thoughts) before you decide how you would answer them:

What is the minimum salary you would accept?
    1. What is likely to happen if you state too high a salary? Too low?
    2. If the job ad does not state a salary, how could you find out what the "going rate" is for the job?
    3. If you write in the word 'open' in response to this question, what might the employer think?
  Why are you interested in working for our company? OR Why do you want this job?
    4. Why would an employer want to know about your interest in the company or job?
    5. How could you use this question to your advantage when applying for a job?
  Are you prepared to work wherever there is a position available? OR Would you accept a transfer?
    6. Why do you think this would be included on an application form?
    7. What might happen if you said that you would be willing to transfer without really meaning it?

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  What special skills or abilities do you have that are directly related to the job you are applying for?
    8. What kind of information does the employer want? What if they time your answer?
  What position, or type of position, do you hope to obtain with this company?
    9. Why does this question almost always appear on application forms?
    10. What kind of impression would it make if you answered 'anything'?
  Where did you learn about this position?
    11. Why do you think the employer wants this information?
  What kind of boss do you prefer?
    12. What type of information is an employer seeking here?
  What did you like and dislike about your past employers? OR How did your past employers treat you?
    13. What is likely to happen if you complain about or criticize your past employer?
    14. How can you describe things you didn't like about a past employer without appearing critical?
  Describe yourself. OR What kind of person are you?
    15. What does the employer want to know by asking this question?
    16. What is likely to happen if you brag? If you are too modest?
  Why did you leave your last job?
    17. What might you need to consider when answering this question?
    18. What might happen if you do not tell the truth when answering this question if you were fired?

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