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“Phone Extension” on a Job Application — Meaning & Context

“Phone Extension” on a Job Application — Meaning & Context

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Filling out a job application can be stressful for many different reasons.

First, you might be worried about making a mistake on it or whether or not you will get the job.

Then there are the questions on it that aren’t clear or the use of words or phrases that you don’t recognize.

This might be the case if you are asked for something like a unique identifier on a job application or for a “phone extension.”

What does that mean? Here’s a hint: It doesn’t have anything to do with an extension cord!

We’ll help you understand the meaning of “phone extension” on a job application in the article below.

What is a “phone extension” on a job application?

“Phone extension” refers to a short number added to a regular phone number that will direct a call to a specific desk or employee in an organization. On a job application, this is asking for that specific number if it is available.

Phone extensions in a nutshell

Conceptualizing a “phone extension” can be a little bit confusing if all you have ever really used is a mobile phone.

However, think about a business. There is often just one phone number for a business or for a particular department.

That doesn’t mean that only one person works in that business or department or that everyone shares the same phone.

Instead, in addition to the ten-digit phone number, each person’s phone may have an addition number assigned to it. This is the extension.

An extension is much shorter than a regular phone number. It is usually just one, two or three digits long.

Within the company, people can call one another by simply picking up their phone and dialing the extension.

From outside the company, people who call may get a recording that asks them to dial the extension if they know it.

This could potentially reduce the time that the person is put on hold since they can go directly to whoever they are calling.

They might also get a receptionist if they dial the main number. A receptionist’s phone usually has access to all the extensions in the office, and they can connect the call directly to the person even if the caller does not know the exact extension.

Extensions used to refer to a physical phone system that had different branches, and while this can still be the case, virtual phone systems today can also have extensions.

Where does “phone extension” appear on a job application?

Noticing where “phone extension” appears can also give you a clue as to what this phrase is asking you for.

You’ll notice it in the same place that you are asked for a contact phone number.

This could be your own phone number. The company might want this if they tend to call people to make job offers instead of contacting them by mail or email.

Being offered a job on the spot like this can actually be a little nerve-wracking, so if you are asked for this information on a job application, you may want to read up on how to ask for time to consider a job offer over the phone just in case you find yourself in this position.

Asking for the extension could also be part of requesting contact information for a reference or a former employer.

What if you don’t know the phone extension to include on an application?

What if you don't know the phone extension to include on an application

If you are filling out an application and you come across this question but you only know the phone number and not the extension, don’t panic. You can leave it blank.

The extension is a piece of useful information, but it’s not always necessary.

If a caller can get through to the right person by giving their name or the department, that is enough information.

There should be another space where you can include this information.

You can also leave this space blank if there is not an extension.

Finally, within some companies, extensions are mostly for internal use or for people to only give out to family members and close associates. This can protect people from having to field calls all day from the general public.

If this is the case, you can also leave the “extension” field blank.