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Application Guidelines

Completing the Application: Dos and Don’ts

Please review the following suggestions before you complete your next application. Taking the time to submit a complete and accurate application the first time will save you effort later.

  1. Be sure to complete ALL items on the application. (Unanswered questions make it appear that you are avoiding the question, that you are unable to answer, or that you are careless.) Do whatever research is necessary to give exactly the information that is asked for.
  2. Be sure to fill out the information regarding your permanent legal residence completely and accurately. Do not forget to include the length of time you have been a resident of Oswego County.
  3. Provide all the information asked about your education and training, especially that which relates to the examination or position for which you are applying. Include on-the-job, informal and self-acquired training, as well as training in formal courses or programs. Include, where relevant, all registrations, certification and licenses held (vehicle and professional) and whether they are temporary or permanent. If temporary, remember to record the term. Include the total credits earned if you have any college credits (get a copy of your transcript if you are unsure).
  4. One of the most important sections on the application is the work experience section. Provide the most complete and specific descriptions of duties that you can in the space provided. If there is inadequate space, continue on a separate sheet of paper. Work extra hard in writing the descriptions of those jobs that were similar to the one for which you are applying.
  5. The application asks for the month/year to month/year of employment and hours worked per week. You must enter the actual or average number of hours worked per week for each position held.
  6. Pay close attention to the minimum qualifications for each exam you are applying for. You must show that you meet these qualifications. Human Resources cannot assume anything; it must be clearly stated.
  7. You must complete all questions in the first section of page 4. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, please provide details on a separate piece of paper. Additionally, if you answer “yes” to “Have you ever been convicted of any crime (felony or misdemeanor)?”, you must submit a Certificate of Disposition (otherwise known as a Certificate of Conviction) from the sentencing court for each and every conviction, including in state and out of state convictions. You must also provide any applicable Certificate of Relief from Disability or Certificate of Good Conduct, if you qualify for the same, and wish to have it considered. The above documents must be provided as quickly as possible in order to complete your application. 
    • In order to obtain your Certificate(s) of Disposition (a/k/a Certificate(s) of Conviction), please contact the court clerk’s office where you were sentenced for information on obtaining the same. The Department of Corrections & Community Supervision (DOCCS) may be contacted for Certificates of Relief from Disability and an application downloaded here: Once you receive the documents, you should make a copy of the original and submit the copy to human resources for review.
    • You will not be disqualified from taking the exam if we do not receive your dispositional certificate prior to the exam, but your application status will remain conditional until the department can review the documentation. Also, you will not be deemed eligible for future appointments until we receive this information.  
  8. Be truthful on your application. Deliberately misleading or outright falsehoods are likely to be discovered and could lead to your disqualification for testing or an appointment.
  9. Don’t substitute a resume for any part of your application. A resume is not formatted to address the specific questions on the application form; for example:  supervisor’s name or hours per week worked. A resume does not expedite application review. However, you may attach your resume to the completed application.
  10. Remember to provide a phone number where you can be reached, or where a message can be taken for you. If you don’t have a phone, ask a friend, neighbor or relative if they will take a message and relay it to you. Many employers prefer to make interview appointments by phone.
  11. Avoid errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. If you’re not sure about the spelling of a word, or the use of a term or punctuation mark, check it out in a dictionary, English grammar book, or consult someone.
  12. Submit your application with any required fee on or before the closing date for filing to the location specified.
  13. You may wish to keep a photocopy of the application you submitted. This copy can be a model for future submissions. If you’re going to be interviewed for a job, review your application before the interview to refresh your memory. You will probably be discussing the things you reported on the application form.


The principal tool used in the screening, evaluation and selection of applicants is the application. You may disadvantage yourself because of the haste and carelessness with which you complete the application. Remember, your application says a lot about you!

 Commonly Held Misconceptions

A rejection letter from Human Resources for a Civil Service Examination is the end of the line.
  • When you get a letter from Civil Service saying it appears that you do not meet the minimum qualifications for the examination. This means that you may not have provided enough information on the application to determine that you meet the qualifications. Read the rejection letter closely, and then submit a letter providing the missing or unclear information. Civil Service will then be able to take a second look at your application and determine if you qualify.
 Deadlines don’t matter. Exceptions can always be made.
  • This is not true. When you apply to take an examination, take note of the closing date for filing. An application must be postmarked or in the possession of the Human Resources Department on the closing date for filing on the exam announcement.
How specific must I be on date of employment?
  • Be as specific as you can, you must state the month and year of your start and end dates. If you are currently employed, then state that in the space provided for the end date.
Are hours worked per week really important?
  • Yes, you must enter the actual or average number of hours worked per week for each position held.