Include Required Attachments with Job Applications

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Sometimes an organization’s job application does not capture all the information a hiring manager needs to make decisions on who to screen out of the hiring process. When these instances arise, managers ask applicants to submit additional materials with the completed job application.

Exactly what managers want as supporting materials depends on the job posting. Some of the common items managers ask for are resumes, cover letters, professional references, writing samples and college transcripts.

Differentiating Between Optional and Required Attachments

Sometimes hiring managers make it optional for applicants to submit these materials, and other times submission is mandatory. When they are optional, applicants make educated guesses about whether it is advantageous for them to include the attachments. When attachments are required, applicants must submit them or risk being screened out of the hiring process.

A hiring manager has a specific reason for requesting each attachment he or she expects applicants to submit. As an applicant, you should use the information in the job posting and anything else you know about the manager and organization to figure out why the manager asks for each attachment. Many times, this helps you put the attachments in the best possible light.

Unfortunately, not all attachments can be customized. For instance, your college transcript cannot be changed to fit the job.

Your transcript is what it is. However, most other attachments have at least some degree of customization possible. For example, writing samples can be taken from past work or can be wholly created for the application materials. Which way you choose to go depends on what you have ready to go and on how receptive the hiring manager might be to something created just for the hiring process.

Some managers prefer something out of past work experience because they believe this better shows what an applicant will do in the new job.

Why You Shouldn't Omit "Required Attachments" With Your Job Application

Omitting required attachments with your job application is an easy way to get your application discarded. Here’s why. Managers want to have equitable information from each applicant in order to make fair decisions about which ones should continue in the process and which should no longer be considered. If an applicant does not include required attachments, the hiring manager does not have the information he or she needs to make fair decisions.

The fairest course of action at the point of discovering an applicant did not include required attachments is to exclude that applicant from the hiring process. It would be unfair to advance the forgetful applicant while excluding other applicants who followed the job posting’s instructions. Managers must be able to defend their hiring decisions to human resources staff, and it would be indefensible to progress an applicant who did not submit all the materials listed in the job posting.

Make sure you include all required attachments. Before submitting your application, read the job posting over once more to be certain you have followed all the application instructions.

The last thing you want to happen after working hard on putting together a good set of application materials is to have them excluded from the hiring process because they are incomplete.