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Filling Out Paper Job Applications: Unwritten Etiquette Rules for Requesting and Submitting

March 15th, 2011 · Leave A Comment

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paper job applicationSo you are walking around the mall and that now hiring sign in the store window catches your eye. You decide to apply for the job and are handed a paper application. Despite seeming like you stepped back into the past, paper applications are still common and used by many employers. Although there are no set written rules in terms of etiquette when applying for jobs, please keep these helpful dos and don’ts in mind.

DO request and submit your application when the establishment isn’t overrun with customers. Basically, you don’t want to interrupt an employee or a store manager while in the middle of an important task if you can help it. So lets say that you want to apply for a job as a waitress at a local restaurant. Times to avoid asking for a job application or submitting one include during the busy breakfast, lunch, or dinner rushes.

DON’T fill out the application where you will take up space. As a consumer, there is nothing worse than having to share the checkout counter with someone trying to fill out a job application. The store manager or cashier will also notice your lack of politeness when doing so as well. If applying for jobs at a local mall or shopping center, consider taking your application or a stack of them to the food court to fill out. If applying at a standalone establishment, consider filling out the job application in your car. When completed, walk in to submit your application.

DO politely ask to see the manager. When doing so, it is important that you ask. Do not demand to see the manager, as if you were a disgruntled customer. That employee you ask is going to approach the manager, you want them to say “there is a person out front who would like to submit their application to you in person,” as opposed to saying “there is some rude person out front demanding to meet with you.”

DON’T get discouraged if you are unable to talk to the small business owner or hiring manager. As much as you want this face time and as much as you may want the job, it is important to remember that hiring is likely not their only daily task. If a manager is busy, consider waiting a bit, returning later, or just submit your application to the employee you are speaking with (they will then turn it into the manager).

DO use your time wisely if you do get face time with the small business owner or hiring manager. This is your chance to shine. Although not a job interview, it is your chance to attach a person (a face) to the printed paper job application. On that same note, you want to be careful how you proceed. Mention you are excited to apply for the job and can’t wait to hear back from them. Don’t stand there and expect or demand to have a job interview right away or get an answer as to whether or not you have the job.

DON’T forget to be polite and professional the entire time. When asking for a paper job application (even from a part-time, minimum wage employee), be nice, polite, and professional. That person, regardless of who they are, may be your future coworker. Although not a job interview as you are just going to submit or turn in a job application, treat it as one. Always dress professional and act professional as well.

Good luck!

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Tags: Job Applications