Every once in a while someone asks, “Do I always need a resume?” The reason they wonder is because there are many other ways that your information gets to potential employers. Between online profiles, electronic applications, and your personal website, there could be a point when resumes are no longer required, right?
Most of the time a resume is going to be the only way you stand out from the crowd to a potential employer. Many times you will be asked to bring a copy of your resume to an interview because that paper resume is going to be passed around in hiring discussions. Your resume is your chance to customize your sales pitch to the specific job description and give an impression that goes beyond the template of electronic data input. It’s true that there will be an occasional exception. When NOT to use a resume is a matter of knowing exactly why that resume is not needed.
A resume will not be needed if the company specifically tells you they don’t want one. Or, maybe you won’t need a resume if you are working for someone who knows you very well.
But here’s the reason it’s good to have a resume, even if a potential employer doesn’t want one: Your resume has all your information condensed into one place. This comes in handy when you are filling out the forms they are using instead of a resume. It’s just a lot easier to have your work history and dates written down instead of trying to accurately recall your hiring date for the job you had five years ago. I think you will always need a resume when you come in for an interview, even if you don’t give it to anyone.
Many companies require prospective employees to complete a job application form when you get to the interview. These documents are fairly easy to fill out, but there are some things you need to be aware of. The application has two common areas, your personal information, which is basically a repetition of your resume and questions that assist the interviewer in determining if you are a good fit for the position.
It may seem redundant to document your name, address, and employment history when it is already available on your resume, but it gives the employer additional insight. It allows the person you are interviewing with to compare the information you have stated on your resume with everything you state on your application. Any inconsistencies are subject to further investigation, either in an interview setting or with phone calls to past employers and/or educational institutions.
Be honest and concise when answering the questions. Answer specifically what was asked and do not offer additional information. One reason to steer clear from providing additional information is that employers are looking to see if you can follow directions. Another reason is that you don’t want to provide everything the employer is wanting to know about you at one time. Do not put “see resume” on the application because it shows you do not follow directions.
The purpose of a job application form is to identify the job for which you are applying and the salary you expect. One of the best ways to handle this question is to do your research on the company before you ever get to the interview. If you don’t have an ad to work from, find out what jobs are available before you walk in the door or send your resume in. Make phone calls.
The second question requires the same legwork as the first question. Know what the position typically pays. You should have a general idea what employers in your area and in your field are currently paying for employees who do the work you expect to do. In addition to this, think about what you are willing to accept as a minimum salary. Sometimes it’s good to list a range on the application rather than a specific figure.
Finally, consider what the opportunities are for advancement and what the benefits package involves. These are also major aspects of a career that cannot be overlooked. Although a benefits package doesn’t offer a dollar benefit that you can easily identify with, there is a significant amount of money the employer is paying for your insurance. A solid career advancement plan is simply delayed earnings potential.
Application forms are commonly used in many industries and companies ranging from very small family operations to large multi-million dollar corporations. Do what needs to be done in order to assure yourself an opportunity to get a face-to-face meeting. Get your foot in the door. Get the interview. It is worth filling out another piece of paper, no matter how closely it resembles your resume if it means you might get the perfect job.