What is the Difference Between an Application and a Resume?

Posted in Career Blog

There are so many different terms and nuances to be aware of when you are applying for different job positions. Whether you are new to the word of professional careers or have had one for 20 or 30 years; keeping on top of the latest lingo from the career industry and job market can be difficult. While new phrases come and go in every industry, for the job market, it can mean the difference between getting hired or not. This said, you have probably heard of the terms application and resume. Who hasn’t right? Chances are, if you haven’t done a lot of applying to jobs-as you are entry level in your field-you may not know the difference. Below, we discuss the application and the resume, and give insight into which might be used for what and in what capacity.
An application is a form that a job candidate fills out to apply for an open position with a particular company. The application asks all sorts of personal and career information-such as contact info, career positions held, responsibilities had, and sometimes social security numbers etc (for preliminary background checks). There are two main places in which you will find the presence of an application: for entry level job positions and online at large corporations. The first-the entry level position-often requests that you fill out their standardized application, because they know that you probably do not have a lot of career history information to fill a resume; and instead, want to evaluate you based upon their requirements and what they find significant for that position and that company. The second of these-the large online corporation-while offering this sort of format for entry level candidates; offer online applications for the main purpose of sifting through countless scores of applicants that probably contact them on a daily basis. Large corporations typically have a lot of interested applicants-when they are hiring and even when they are not. This said, it is much easier for a human resources department at one of these companies to review resumes in the same online format-to measure one against another as efficiently as possible.
A resume is a list of an applicant’s qualifications, career experience, and skills as it relates to their professional working history. There are a handful of professional formats that applicants use to demonstrate the most important skills and experience they can offer, as a means of concisely presenting to a possible employer what they can offer a position they are hiring for, that another applicant cannot. People send in resumes-accompanied by cover letters or letter of interest-by mail, email, and fax; and these documents act as the first impression that a possible employer gets of a candidate for a job-evaluating both the career history of the applicant, as well as the format of the resume. Resumes are used for entry level jobs; but are most often geared towards positions that require candidates with experience in the industry and/or position.
While it really depends on who you are applying to, many types of positions and companies that you might consider as requiring either a resume or application; may well surprise you, and ask for the other instead. Moreover, for large corporations, it is not uncommon that they require an applicant to not only fill out an online application; but also, upload a current copy of your resume and cover letter.

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