It's an art to landing the perfect job, and it all starts with the application. It may seem excessive when you are already handing them your carefully crafted resume to fill out their application form, as well, but there is a reason for it.
What It Is
An application form is a standardised form used to aid in the selection of hiring new employees. It may include everything from past jobs and positions, as well as education and any other pertinent information.
The reason that an application is needed, even if you have a resume to hand them, is to keep the selection process simple for the employers. With a standard format to peruse, you can easily compare one potential employee to the next.
Ruling Out Candidates
With possible hundreds of applicants, the application is an opportunity for the employer to thin the stack of hopefuls vying for the position. Any instructions, like "use black ink" or "completely fill out" can be an easy way to see who does and does not follow directions. An old trick that employers use for applicants who do not come prepared with their own pen for filling out the application is for the employer to provide them with a red pen. Then any applications at the end of the day filled out in red ink get filled directly in the dustbin.
The application is the time that a potential employee can potentially stand out from the rest of the bunch. Before an interview, it is difficult to stand out when you are just one piece of paper in a full stack. Selling yourself in the most positive and competent light can aid in landing you an interview.
Online applications should be treated no differently than its tangible brethren. The more thorough it is filled out and personalised the experience, the better. Many times, the employer will ask you to comment on something specific in these online applications. This is simply a ruling out process for them, discarding any that do not follow the instructions.