Documents You May Need to Submit With a Job Application

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When you're applying for a job, an employer may want more information than a copy of your resume and cover letter. The company may request what is known as "supporting documentation" with a job application.

What is Supporting Documentation?

Supporting documentation for a job application may include a resume, a cover letter, transcripts, writing samples, Veterans' Preference documents, portfolios, certifications, a reference list, letters of recommendation, and other supporting documentation as specified in the job posting.

Why Do Employers Request Supporting Documentation?

Getting supporting documentation from candidates helps companies evaluate applications. For many employers, a resume (or a resume and cover letter) provides all the information necessary. Other employers need more information.

This is either to get a full picture of you as a candidate, or to provide confirmation of claims made in your resume. For instance, requiring a transcript as supporting documentation allows employers to confirm that you graduated, as well as your GPA.

It can also be a bit of a test for whether or not applicants can follow instructions. If a job posting mentions that candidates must submit a list of references, hiring managers can sort all applicants who did not submit references into the "no" pile.

How to Submit Supporting Documentation

For employers, gathering up all this information at one time, whether its during the application process or after an initial interview, is a huge convenience.

It allows them to have all the pertinent information about candidates on hand, and cut follow up emails and phone calls to request more documents.

Applicants may find collecting and submitting documents to be less of a convenience, and more of a hassle. Some documents may require a bit of digging to locate: Where is your Project Management Professional Certification, and who can you call to get a copy if you can't find your own?

Other documentation may require a bit of work to assemble: For instance, if you're submitting a list of references, you'll need to inform them that someone from the company may be in touch shortly.

Once you have all the supporting documentation gathered up, follow the employer's instructions as to how to submit it. Employers may ask for you to upload files or attach them in an email. If employers request specific file formats (PDFs, for instance), make sure to follow those instructions.

As well, carefully label all files, including your name and details on what is in the document. Your references, for example, could be named "Sarah-Wong-References" or "Sarah Wong References." Avoid just naming them "references" since hiring managers tend to have a lot of files, and won't be able to easily identify your documentation. Follow a consistent naming pattern across all documents.

Bringing Documentation to a Job Interview

If the company requests that supporting documentation be brought to the interview, bring a photocopy of each of the requested documents with you to leave for the hiring manager.

The employer may request originals of some documents, like transcripts. If that's the case, request them ahead of time from the institution where you received them.

 List of Supporting Documents

The following is a list of supporting documents that may be required to be submitted with an employment application.

Suggested Reading: What is the Difference Between a Resume and Cover Letter

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