job application tips

Job Applications and Freelancers

Does anyone have advice on how a freelancer should handle a conventional job application form? I recently filled out an online application and it was a frustrating experience.

The application asked to list my last employer first. But I currently have three employers if you consider them that. I’m not a salaried or hourly worker, what people call a W-2 employee. Rather, like most freelancers, I work as an independent contractor. A 1099 employee. There was no way to state this.

There was also no way to put down that I sometimes work by the job and not by the hour. Magazine articles? They take a tremendous amount of time  to complete (like conventional projects for an employer) yet there was no category for them. There are no supervisor names, position titles, or dates of employment for a magazine article written on spec. (internal link) Yet every box I left unfilled generated a red asterisk, demanding I go back and fill something in.

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I suppose a cover letter would help but with this application there was only a resume asked for. I was completely limited to their checkboxes and pull down choices. And when I did submit a resume it was stripped of all formatting and links, as if the text was about to be entered into a giant database, to be accessed only through keywords. Good grief. I can only hope the employer uses the original Word doc.

There was no way to anticipate these problems. There was a progress bar indicating four or five steps but no detail about them. No way to find out what each step entailed until each step was completed. And after I put in a goodly amount of time I was loathe to cancel the application process. No e-mail address to query. Anyone have advice?

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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