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Division on a Job Application — Meaning & Context

Division on a Job Application — Meaning & Context

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No one really enjoys filling out job applications.

It’s a task that can be both tedious and stressful because you are asked for a lot of specific information and it can be easy to make small errors that could jeopardize your chances of getting called for an interview.

It doesn’t help that job applications often use language that you are unfamiliar with. This could be the case with the word we’ll discuss in today’s blog, “division.”

What does “division” mean on a job application?

On a job application, “division” refers to the different sectors of what is usually a large business. It is asking you what part of a company you worked for. Your answer might be descriptive, such as legal or research, or it could be the name of the division if it is different from the company name.

The meaning of the word “division”

One reason that Business English can be so confusing is that it often takes words that you may be familiar with in context and uses them in a new context where your understanding of them doesn’t make sense.

“Division” can be one of those words.

You are probably most familiar with it as a word that is used in math to describe something you commonly do with numbers along with adding, subtracting and multiplying them.

You are probably also familiar with it as a word that can describe a separation and sometimes a disagreement.

However, in the context of a job application, it will most likely appear in the part where you are listing your job experience.

Every application is different, but it will probably ask for information like the name of the company that you worked for, your job title and the division that you worked for.

Companies and divisions

Some companies are very large and operate in several different industries. This is especially true for large global companies.

For example, Thomson Reuters is a multinational company that has several divisions, including tax and accounting, legal and media.

If you worked for a large company like this in the accounting department and you were asked for “division” on your job application, you would simply write “Accounting” for division. 

However, some companies have different names for their divisions.

An imaginary example might be a big company called Smith Industries. There might be a banking division, known as Big Bucks Bank, and a consulting division, called Know-It-All Consultants, where you worked.

In this case, you might write the actual name of the division:

Know-It-All Consultants

What if I’m not asked for “division”?

If the application does not ask for a division, don’t worry about it! Many will not.

What is most important is that you are able to accurately convey what your previous jobs were.

This means that, for example, if you are asked for the company name and your title when you worked at Know-It-All Consultants, a division of Smith Industries, it’s generally fine to put either the division name or the main company name.

A good rule to follow if you aren’t sure is what you would have answered if people asked you where you worked.

Is a division the same as a department?

These two are not exactly the same thing.

Departments tend to be smaller and may operate within divisions even though they might have the same name.

For example, most companies above a certain size probably have an accounting department.

However, a large company could also have an entire accounting division, meaning a branch that operates with some degree of autonomy and has a number of departments within it, such as IT and human resources.

Make sure that you don’t confuse the two, but if you accidentally write the department that you worked in under “division” on the job application, this is generally not a serious error.

Your potential employer might not even notice it unless it is genuinely misleading in some way about where you used to work!