Job Application Rules

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A job application is a way for your prospective employer to view a full overview or profile of your work experience, education and skills. If you’re filling out your first set of job applications to find work, get familiar with a few key job application rules that may help your form stand out.

Writing Rules

  • When you fill out your job application, use a dark blue or black ink pen. Do not use a pencil or bright ink. Print your answers; do not write in cursive or script lettering because it’s more difficult to read. Follow proper spelling, grammar and capitalization rules. If a potential employer sees an application with bad spelling and grammar, he may simply toss it away and move onto the next applicant, regardless of your skills and experience.

Avoid Scratch Marks

  • If you make a mistake when filling out your job application, don’t scratch it out. Use white-out to correct the information. Instead of leaving spaces blank, enter “N/A” or “Not Applicable.” Take one or two extra applications with you to fill out in case of mistakes. Fill out the first application, make corrections, and then use a new blank application to enter the final answers. The cleanliness of the application is like making a first impression; a hiring manager is going to have an easier time reading a neatly filled application without a series of scratch marks throughout. A messy application is also a sign of disorganization.

Private Information

  • You’re not required to give your Social Security number (SSN) and driver’s license number on a job application. The only legitimate reason for putting an SSN at this stage is if the company wants to perform a background check, which is not very common. When you write this sensitive information on a job application and leave it with an employee at a company, you don’t know how the employee will handle and store that data. The privacy of your sensitive information is at risk. You can provide the SSN when the employer calls regarding your application. However, note that the employer can choose to discard applications that do not contain a Social Security number.

Call References Ahead of Time

  • Many job applications have a section that requests a listing of personal and professional references. Call each reference before listing her on your application to prepare her for calls. Explain the situation to the reference, including the job you’re applying for, and ask her to give you a solid recommendation for the position.

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