A resume is not an application

Dear friend, as you put your best leg forward for that role and hope for a positive response, kindly note that your resume plays different roles as the application for the role. Both are unique and cannot be interchanged.

Your resume is a marketing document. It does the work of a complimentary card. It introduces you, what you do and how to contact you. Since recruiters are going through a lot of resumes, it is usually advisable to keep your resume concise and neat. This means some parts of your professional life are understandably omitted from the resume- especially when they don’t necessarily relate to the current role you are applying to.

What a resume does is give an overview, a highlight of events in your educational and career background, then how these can be channeled to be useful and productive to your prospective employer. Since you don’t want to bore the recruiter with too many details that a lengthy resume is likely to bear, it understandably does not capture the whole truth about the candidate.

An application, on the other hand, is a legally binding document. It is usually more detailed than the resume. It allows all information about the candidate as far as it is connected to his/her educational/career experience. Errors, omissions, or any form of misinformation in the resume may be forgiven. But any of the above in the actual application is deemed as intentionally trying to keep details away from the recruiter; which attracts a severe penalty. Little wonder in most cases, at the end of the application, the candidate is expected to sign that all information provided is correct to the best of his/her knowledge.

Take for example, while preparing your resume, you do not need to indicate your age, gender, marital status, race, sexual orientation, as a matter of fact, you probably may include just your degree level of education, and say your 2-3 previous job experiences. An application, on the other hand, may require all or some of the above stated, or even more. Not necessarily because they want to discriminate against you through those data and screen you out, but they might need it for their records.

In the application, you can indicate all your level of education gotten as well as all your job experience- including internships, voluntary roles, and student jobs experience. You may also be required to tell if you are an ex-convict or not, even if you are a veteran or not.

Lying in an application is an unforgivable offense. Depending on the gravity of the information included or withheld, it may attract litigation. When companies are doing their background check on candidates, they don’t do it based on the resume submitted. Rather, it is vis-à-vis the information provided in the application.

Some candidates say “after all, they have my resume, and it is detailed. Why are they still asking me to fill the application again?”. Except where stated otherwise, submitting a resume does not automatically equate to applying for the advertised role. The resume only introduces you, gives the recruiter a snippet of what to expect from you. While the actual application is you telling the recruiter that “I am willing and able to go through this selection process.” 

The resume and application are 2 different documents for 2 different purposes and this cannot be stressed enough. Neither can replace the other as their roles are unique. So, in a nutshell, the resume is a marketing document, while the application is a legally binding document. C’est finis.

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