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Applications and Resumes

Most employers require job applicants to submit a resume and application form. Because the information on each document usually overlaps, providing both documents can feel unnecessary. However, differences between the two exist and employers have reasons for requiring both.

As a military spouse who has moved from duty station to duty station, you've probably completed your fair share of job application packages. Learn about the differences between an application and resume and the importance of each one to your application package.

Applications

Most employers require job candidates to complete an application form. Asking all candidates to complete a standardized form helps employers easily measure candidates against one another. Think of comparing applications as comparing apples to apples, while comparing resumes is more like comparing apples to oranges.

Resumes

If you've provided most of the information on your resume in your application, what's the point of having a resume? Your resume is really your chance to shine. Get noticed by putting together an eye-catching resume that highlights your strengths.

You can choose a resume format that works best for your experience. Two common resume formats are chronological and functional. If you aren't familiar with these formats, check out the CareerOneStop Resume Guide. Unlike a job application, the information you address first on a resume is completely up to you.

Application forms typically require you to provide information that overlaps with information on your resume, such as:

  • Personal contact information
  • Employment history
  • Education

However, applications may require information you would not include on your resume, including:

  • Social security number
  • Supervisor contact information
  • References
  • Criminal history, if applicable
  • Self-identifying information (optional)

Applications also require a signature, certifying the information you provided is accurate.

Tips for completing applications and resumes

  • Maintain a basic, well-written resume. A well-written resume is recyclable. You can use it repeatedly, as long as you keep it up to date. You might tailor your resume to apply for a specific opportunity, but that generally involves tweaking rather than a complete overhaul.
  • Tailor your resume to your experience. If you've just finished school and don't have much work experience, you can highlight your education first. If you've had a lot of work experience, you don't have to lead off with your education. Resumes also allow you to provide employers with more detailed information about your qualifications. Applications often confine you to a limited amount of space.
  • Make a cheat sheet. Your cheat sheet should include contact information for your past supervisors and references. Having the information on hand keeps you from scrambling to find it at the last minute.
  • Write concise summaries of your responsibilities and accomplishments for each job you've held. You won't have to repeatedly pick apart your resume trying to decide what to exclude on application forms.
  • When filling the employment history section of an application, don't write 'See Resume.' Take the time to fill out the application form. This is where the job summaries you've written will come in handy.
  • Don't leave any required application fields blank. You don't want an employer to overlook you because your application form is incomplete.

Applications are standardized forms that allow employers to easily compare job candidates. Resumes are customizable and give job seekers their chance to stand out from the crowd. Now that you understand the purpose of applications and resumes, you're ready to get started. If you haven't created a resume, that should be your first step. Already have a resume prepared? Consider putting together a cheat sheet to simplify filling out application forms.

For more information on resumes, visit the Resume Toolkit section of the Employment Readiness lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to search for spouse education, training and career services at your local installation. Select ‘Program or Service’ from the drop-down menu, then select ‘Spouse Education, Training and Careers’ from the list. Enter your postal code and the radius you would like to search within and select ‘Search’ to find a program near you. Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to speak with a SECO career coach and get additional assistance with polishing your resume.

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