Corporate Applications – Be Thorough and Accurate

Prior to interviewing junior military officers wanting to transition to corporate America, I review their application to partner with my firm, Cameron-Brooks, for their potential transtion. I review the entire application, including background information (military, education and personal) and goals. I study the application and use 100% of the information to develop the best advice in forming my strategy to help the ex-military officer reach long-range career goals. Approximately 10-15% of the time, I can accept the officer into our Development and Preparation Program©. I accept them when I know their goals are aligned with our companies and they have the proven track record of success our companies desire. The bar is very high. I am excited when I see a thorough application and disappointed when I see an incomplete or inaccurate application. Here are some tips on filling out an application.

1. Put forth the effort. I strongly encourage a JMO filling out any application to remember the effort placed in applying to their college or service academy where they were accepted. This was a four-year goal. Place as much effort into corporate applications. Your application is a reflection of your attitude and you as a person.

2. Put yourself into the role. When filling out an application, you are connecting your background with the company or position for which you are applying. You need to imagine yourself in the role when answering the questions. For example, the Cameron-Brooks application asks for hobbies. When filling out this portion, you would be wise to put those hobbies first that connect best to being a future business leader. Hobbies that I have seen recently that connect are reading, repairing cars (hands on and mechanical aptitude), investing, running marathons (competitive nature), volunteer leader for United Way Big Brothers (leadership and well-rounded). I think it’s good to list all of your hobbies, but list the most relevant first.

3. Provide as much information as possible – fill out the spaces in full. Every question on an application has a purpose even if you do not understand the reason for the question. Therefore, answer the question and fill out as much as possible. For example, our application asks for high school and college activities, and we provide a large block for that answer. Quite frequently, I see just a few activities listed. Yet, when I ask the person if that’s all they did during that time, they then provide me with more information. The JMO candidate didn’t fill it out all the way because they didn’t think I would have use for it. In reality, Cameron-Brooks client companies use the “whole person” concept to evaluate their future leaders so these answers are very valuable to us and our clients.

4. Ensure the application is accurate and complete – no misleading or false information. Inaccurate and incomplete applications will prevent you from reaching your desired goals. Yesterday, I ruled out a potentially high caliber applicant for an inaccurate application. How can I be confident this person will not deliver an inaccurate report to a company? We need leaders of the highest integrity in business. At Cameron-Brooks, we are doing our part to fix the issues that have caused many of the problems we are facing. Treat your application to a recruiter or headhunter with the same degree of seriousness as any report in the military. It will help you reach your goals.

5. Proofread the application. I often see applications with misspelled and missing words. This indicates one of two things, neither of which you want to indicate on an application. One is lack of detail orientation. This goes back to the previous point. The second is lack of intellect. You don’t want to in any way communicate this. Companies want leaders who are smart.

Remember, applications are your critical first impression. Put forth the effort, put yourself in the role, provide as much information as possible, ensure the application is accurate and complete and proofread the application. To learn more, refer to chapter two “The Crucial First Impression” of PCS to Corporate America, 3rd Edition.

Steve Sosland