Some employers do not require a resume or cover letter, simply a job application. Ask the potential employer what they require to apply for the position.
A good reference tool for completing job applications is the Pocket Resume that can be found on the Discover Arkansas website. On this single-page document, you can compile your contact information, education, background, employment history, references, skills and abilities, honors and awards, and leadership activities.
Tips for completing an application
- Never use abbreviations, slang or emoticons.
- Avoid stating “see resume.”
- Keep your Personal Data Record available to avoid making errors.
- For paper applications, print clearly in black ink.
- Complete the entire document, using “N/A” (not applicable) only when necessary.
- Avoid negative information, if possible. Be truthful and positive when sensitive information is unavoidable. Never give false information.
- If you have a felony criminal record, try to meet the employer before submitting your application. This provides a chance to sell your skills and enthusiasm before those who do the hiring learn about your offense. You might consider submitting a letter explaining the offense and describing how you worked to improve your life after your conviction.
- Due to limited space, showcase the skills and experience best suited to the job.
- Be sure to include the correct job title on the application.
- If you have gaps in your employment history, list positive ways you spent the time while unemployed.
- When asked about salary requirements, respond, “negotiable.”
Dealing with “Reasons for Leaving”
Explaining truthfully why you left an employer can be tough, considering that your application and resume could be rejected by a potential employer. When responding, remember to choose your words carefully.
Whether you were fired, laid off or quit a job, there are positive, more neutral ways to phrase your “reason for leaving.” Consider using one of the following:
- Involuntary separation
- Willing to discuss at interview
- Returned to school
- To learn new skills
- To find a job that more closely matched my skills
- Was not a good fit
- Voluntarily separated
- To focus on volunteer work
- To start my own business
- To raise my family
- To move to another area for family
- Lack of work
- Lack of operating funds
- Temporary employment
- Seasonal employment
- Company closed
- Plant closing company
- Downsizing or corporate merger