So, you’re looking for a job, you’ve started researching where to apply for jobs, and your resume and cover letters are ready to go. Does this mean that you’re ready to start applying? Maybe, maybe not. Being prepared is essential to saving you time and energy, and helping you get as many applications out as quickly as possible.
Most job applications will ask for specific information, some will not. I have found that most companies want you to enter information into their format. Having this information readily available will expedite the applying process, especially when detailed information is requested. Here are some examples I have come across:
Many applications I have filled out ask for the details of my education. This includes:
- The school name
- Degree type
- Major (sometime even the minor)
- Dates attended
- And even my GPA for that program in some instances
I usually see requests for the details of my previous (and current) company, such as:
- Company name
- Phone number
- Supervisor’s name
- Supervisor’s phone number
- Dates employed
- Responsibilities (occasionally this space only allows for a couple of sentences)
- Beginning and ending wages, including bonuses or commissions (some ask for yearly wages and some ask for hourly wages)
- Reason for leaving
Gaps in Employment
Most companies I apply to specifically ask for an explanation of any gaps in employment. Even if this is due to unemployment, which many people have suffered from, I recommend listing something else that you were doing without saying ‘I was unemployed,’ such as: personal travel, family or home management, primary caregiver for terminally ill relative, etc. Just be honest whether you are asked to explain this on an application or in an interview.
Some companies will request references directly in the job application. The number of requested references varies by company, but my experience has been that three references are the norm. The information requested is usually not required, but can include:
- Reference name
- How you know that person
- How many years you have known each other
- Phone Number
- Email address
Letters of Recommendation
Some sites that allow an individual to create a profile for a job search will typically give a place where letters of recommendation, cover letters, and any other pertinent information can be uploaded and saved in the profile.
Gathering all of this information each time you are filling out an application can be daunting, and time consuming. Gathering this information ahead of time can save a great deal of time, especially when applying to several jobs. I have a saved draft in my email that includes all of this information in a list so I can copy and paste where I am able to, but above all so I can find the information quickly and easily.
This information can be listed like this as an example (repeat format for additional information in that category):
Bachelor of Science, Management
University of Phoenix
[Dates Attended] 1/1/2006 – 1/1/2008 (some applications request the exact date started and finished, some don’t)
123 Main St
[Direct Supervisor] Bob Dillon
[Bob’s Direct #] 455-555-5555
[Dates Employed] 1/1/2000 – 10/10/2010 (most applications request the exact date started and ended)
[Wages – Yearly] $24,000 / $49,000
[Wages – Hourly] $11.54 / $23.56
[Responsibilities – Shortened] Serviced 50 national accounts; assisted accounts with growing revenue by 78% through training and customer service; helped company grow account business by 30%.
[Reason for leaving] Laid off
Gaps in employment:
10/11/2010 – 1/15/2011 (some may request exact dates and some request only the month and year)
Family and home management
789 Main St.
Anywhere, CA 91111
[John Smith email]
[Years Known] 9
In regard to letters of recommendations, resumes, cover letters, list of references, examples of work, and any other documents that may pertinent to applying for the job of your dreams, I recommend having these saved in a file on your computer, in your Google Drive, or on a pin drive for easy access without having to search for them all over the place. Also, saving each document with an appropriate title will save a great deal of time when looking for one of these documents.