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Job Application Advice from an HR Pro

Many companies want job seekers to follow a simple formula: Fill out an online application and attach a current resume.

"Online or paper applications are official statements of interested in open positions," says Janet McCullough, corporate human resources manager for a telecommunications company in southern Minnesota.

Applications offer job seekers a way to present their qualifications along with their agreement that "all information presented in the application are honest and true statements," she says. "They may contain employer requirements for drug testing, criminal background checks and other pre-employment information," McCullough says.

Take time to fill out the applications and sign them, she suggests. "First impressions are important, and even online applications have the ability to make a good or not-so-good first impression," she says.

If the website allows you to attach a resume to you application, make sure your resume provides "not too little or too much detail." A good model is a one-page resume that captures key areas of education, experience, skills, and preferably, the three most recent employers.

"In today's market, I may receive a large number of job seekers, and I have only a short period of time to review and look for the key words I need to see to go to the next step in recruiting," says McCullough.

Her company's HR staff rarely looks through the pile of resumes they have collected over several months. Instead they look at who applied for the current opening. McCullough observes: "You need to check back at our website constantly to let us know you want to apply for new openings, or you can arrange for an automatic e-mail to be sent to you when a position in your interest area opens up - a tool many websites use."

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