Why does the employer want a resume and an application?

You may find that during your job searching process an employer is requesting both an application and a resume. We know that it can be frustrating as both contain similar information. It may also be tempting to only fill out an application and not submit the resume or vice versa.  However, please remember there are a few reasons why employers may ask you to do this.


Background checks: Applications typically asks for information that you would not place on your resume. This could include information regarding felonies or misdemeanors, social security number, drivers license number, etc that is most commonly used when completing a background check.


It's a test: Think about how many applicants just like you decide to not fill out an application or leave a lot of the information blank. This is a way for the employer to weed out applicants that aren't willing to go the extra mile when for the job.  


Narrow their search: An employer may have hundreds of resumes to look through which can be more time consuming than looking at an application. They may use the application to look for specific answers to weed out applicants before reviewing resumes.  


It's a legal document: When filling out an application you are usually required to sign stating that all of the information found on your application is true to the best of your knowledge. You also sign stating that you understand that if information is not accurate you may not be considered for the position.  

Tips on completing an application

Read and Follow Instructions: Take a few minutes to read through the application fully before starting. Make note of sections that require information form several years ago, spaces where you are asked of skills and qualifications, and sections which may be difficult to explain.


Be Neat: Complete your application as neatly as possible. Avoid scribbling out words and try to keep white out to a minimum. An individual should also always print information as it is easier to read than cursive. Only utilize a blue or black pen and remember not to fold, bend, or crumple the application.


Tailor your answers: Just like on your resume tailor the responses to the specific job that you are applying for. Focus the skills or job details section to experience that you possess that is relevant. Avoid framing experience as just duties. Think of experiences, awards, or accomplishments that you may have had at each job.  


No blank spaces: Never leave blank spaces on an application. If you come across a question that does not apply to you simply respond "Not applicable" or "N/A." Never write " see resume" or "refer to resume." This may seem like a quick way to skip a large section of the application that is already outlined in your resume. However, this shows the employer that you are unwilling to take the time to answer the questions and therefore may not be invested in the position in which you are applying for. It also may suggest that you are not good at following directions.


Be Truthful: Never lie on an application. This is the fastest way that your application and job materials will end up in the trash. It is important to read the question fully. If the employer is asking for a conviction in the last 7 years and your last conviction was 10 years ago you do not need to include it. 


References: When an application asks for references make sure to include them. Employers want to see individuals that will provide objective information about you. Therefore, pick your references carefully and make sure you ask if they are willing to be a reference for you. Good references could be past employers, coworkers, teachers, and sometimes family friends. The more extensive your work history the more professional references you should have. 


Be consistent: Make sure that dates, names, titles, etc on your application coincide with the information on your resume.


Proofread: After completing your application take a moment to reread it. Look for grammatical errors, sentences that may not make sense, blank spaces, and inconsistencies.  

Video - Who You Can and Can't Use as References

Test your application skills

Click on the word document link below. This will bring you to a blank application document that you can print and fill out. Have a friend or FSET case manager look this over for errors. Once it has been checked and is error free you can utilize it to help fill out applications for businesses in which you are applying for. You no longer have to remember dates, look up phone numbers, or think of new ways to describe job duties. The information is already filled out for you to copy onto a new application.



Job Application.pdf



Address: Wood County Human Services - River Block

111 W. Jackson St., 2nd Floor, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495  

Phone: +1 (715) 421-8608 8


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