When you’re applying for a new job, an employer may want more information than just a copy of your CV and an impressive cover letter. They might request what is known as supporting documentation to complete your application. It is imperative to know what you should include and how to do this effectively so that you stay in the running for the role.
Supporting documents includes a CV, cover letter, educational transcripts, portfolios, all certifications, reference list, letters of recommendation, writing examples and anything else that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Don’t panic, these are not always a requirement and will obviously vary from school to school and what the employer lists as their requirements. Usually, they will specify but if something is ever unclear when it comes to supporting documentation, it is important to ask the HR manager or the recruitment company that you are working through.
Most of the time, a CV is sufficient for employers to get all the information that they need, supporting documents are merely a way to evaluate and vet applicants and get the full picture of the candidate’s suitability for a position. If employers require transcripts, for example, it is to verify that you actually did finish your matric or graduated from the university that is listed on your CV. Unfortunately, there are a lot of con artists out there and employers need to ensure that they hire the correct candidate for the role.
It might be a bit of admin to get all supporting documents together if the job application calls for it, but it is only of benefit to you as a candidate to have everything on hand and it also assists in cutting out back and forth phone calls and emails to request more documents. Transcripts etc. are usually sent directly from the school or university and all certification may be requested from them directly. Always ensure that you have permission from your list of references to actually use them and as a courtesy update, always let them know that companies might be in touch soon and that you are job hunting.
When you send documentation off to HR managers or employers, don’t just attach all of them to your email labelled ‘Documents’, make sure your name is included in the naming details and that each document is named accordingly to what it is. Consistency is key and believe it or not, how you manage your admin, shows a lot about your skills and work methodology. If you are requested to take documentation to your interview for example, make sure you have photocopies in a neat folder that you can leave with your potential employer. A helpful hint would be to create a digital folder of the relevant supporting documents on a cloud server such as Google Drive. You would be able to grant access to the potential employer without having to print all the documents. First impressions are always lasting and this also goes for your paperwork and digital portfolios!