A job application is an official online or hard copy information form your potential employer asks you to fill out. This can happen before your first interview, after an offer is made, or any time during the process. Although it would be nice to think this means you are getting the job, it just means they are collecting information as part of their standard process in case you get the job!
The most important thing you need to know is that your application is a legal document – your written word declaring everything you said about you and your job history is true.
In contrast, a resume can leave things out. Or maybe organize and/or reemphasize them slightly (hopefully not to the point of lying) to maximize your chances of getting through the resume screener or automated screener to an actual interview.
But the application form is part of your official record with that company. And if they are interested, will probably be used to do a background check on you. If there are any discrepancies, critical omissions or actual lies, it can cost you the offer. Or even come back to bite you later if they hire you and find out.
So when you fill out your job application, do it carefully. And be as accurate as possible to the best of your ability. If it means going through old records to get it right, by all means do it!
NOTE: If you want to suggest changes to this or any other definition in our career dictionary, please feel free to add your suggestions in a comment.
[Updated in 2020]
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