Starting a New Job? Be Prepared to Fill Out These 5 Forms

If you’re starting a new job, you’ve probably already completed your fair share of paperwork. From the job application to the offer letter and everything in between, there’s a lot of filling in the blanks.

Unfortunately, it’s not over. As you might have experienced before, day one of a new job includes completing even more forms.

Remember that they’re no less important. They could determine the size and delivery of your paycheck, for example.

5 forms to complete when starting a new job

You might be wondering why you need to be prepared for your new-hire paperwork. Although a human resources (HR) representative is likely to walk you through these on your first day, it can be helpful to study them in advance. As a result, you’ll complete them correctly and efficiently.

There’s also a practical benefit. This list of five forms will also highlight what to bring with you into the office, such as forms of identification.

1. I-9 documents

Your employer is obligated to have you sign the federal government’s Employment Eligibility Verification form. Also known as the I-9 Form, it proves you’re eligible to work in the U.S.

You’ll complete the first of three pages of I-9 documents by filling in personal information, such as your citizenship status. Your employer’s HR representative will complete the second page after reviewing your forms of identification.

The I-9 Form calls for you to present one or two forms of ID. Typical forms you can provide include:

  • U.S. passport
  • Permanent resident card
  • Driver’s license
  • State, school, or military ID
  • Voter’s registration card

2. W-4 form

Completing the IRS’ Form W-4 helps your employer determine how much of your paycheck to withhold for federal income taxes. The Personal Allowances Worksheet included on the first page will determine the withholding amount for you.

Simply put: The more allowances or exemptions you claim, the less will be withheld from your paycheck. An example of an allowance is claiming dependents on your tax return.

Form W-4

Image credit: IRS

Besides the worksheet, you could use the IRS’ withholding calculator to determine your preferred amount of allowances.

You might prefer withholding even more from your paycheck than is needed. This could help you score a big tax refund at the end of the year. Alternatively, you could have your employer withhold less from your paycheck if you’d rather take a tax hit later on.

Don’t worry if you change your mind. You can adjust your withholdings at any time as you prepare for tax season.

Unlike Form W-4, you don’t have to worry about your W-2 form until tax season. Your employer will complete a W-2 form for every employee, regardless of their elected allowances.

3. Direct deposit form

Once your employer confirms how much you’ll be paid via the Form W-4, it will help you decide how you’d like to be paid.

Unless you prefer the old-fashioned paper paycheck, you’ll likely complete a direct deposit form when starting a new job. This will automatically send your earnings into the bank account or accounts of your choice at the end of each pay period.

You’ll need to gather two pieces of information to set up a direct deposit: the account number and routing number for any checking or savings account receiving these transfers. You can find both numbers on the bottom of your checks or by logging into your bank’s website.

direct deposit form

Image credit: Bank of America

Your employer’s direct deposit form will also ask what percentage of your paycheck you’d like sent to each account. You might put 50 percent into your checking account for recurring expenses like rent and 50 percent into a savings account that’s used less often.

Think about your short-term expenses and long-term savings goals when choosing your paycheck distribution.

4. Benefits enrollment

You won’t be expected — and might not even be eligible to — enroll in company benefits when starting a new job. But it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the forms you’ll receive on day one.

Your HR representative will likely walk you through your company-provided health insurance options, for example. You’ll be given information about each plan (if there are multiple plans) and their premiums.

There will be an application where you’ll note your choice of coverage. The application will call for basic personal information. It will also allow you to note whether dependent family members will be included in your policy.

Starting a new job is seen as a qualifying event that allows you to switch health plans. It’s important to learn the language of health insurance to make the best possible choice for coverage.

If your company has other perks that require enrollment, you can expect to fill out forms for those as well. Say your new employer offers 401(k) matching, for example. You might be wondering what to do with an older 401(k). If you choose to roll it over to your new company’s account, there will be more paperwork to complete.

5. Company-specific paperwork

Beyond forms coming from the government or your company’s vendors, you can also expect to be handed company-specific paperwork. You might be expected to read and sign the following documents:

  • Non-disclosure agreement: As a legal contract, an NDA ensures the company’s privacy, even after you quit working there. If you work for a high-tech startup, for example, they might be concerned that you’ll take their competitive edge with you when you exit.
  • Compliance: The HR department may also request that you review the company’s employee handbook. It could outline employer policies and ask you to agree to follow them.
  • Expenses: You might be able to request a reimbursement for pre-employment expenses. That will teach you how to expense recurring and one-off costs.

It’s possible that your first day could include other company-specific forms, such as one that provides emergency contact information.

Starting a new job on the right foot

No matter your job title or the company you work for, you were hired to do something other than push papers around. But taking first-day forms seriously will get you off on the right foot with your HR department. Your direct deposit form and I-9 documents might seem unimportant, but they can also affect your wallet and your ability to start work.

Completing the forms efficiently will also allow you to move forward. You can focus on the things that are a little more fun — like requesting time off or finding your new favorite place nearby to eat lunch.

Then, you can focus on your actual job description and ace your first 90 days in your new role.

The article Starting a New Job? Be Prepared to Fill Out These 5 Forms originally appeared on

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5 Ways Your Social Media Profiles Can Help You Get Into College

Everything from your Facebook account to your Google search results is fair game when you apply for work.

But what about applying for admission to a university?

About 40 percent of admissions departments check social media to learn about candidates, according to a survey of 365 colleges performed by Kaplan Test Prep in 2016.

On the bright side, half of those departments said their search had a positive impact on the students’ applications.

5 ways to use your social media profiles to your advantage

When applying to colleges or graduate schools, your first reaction might be to check your privacy settings on popular platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

Although that’s a safe choice, your social media profiles can also be vehicles to tell a positive story to admissions officers. You control what they see, after all, even if you don’t control their ultimate decision.

1. Match your profiles to your applications

Your college application, with well-written essays and killer letters of recommendation, should present you in the best possible light. There’s no reason why your tweets shouldn’t too. And there are ways to do that beyond posting with perfect spelling and grammar.

If you wrote a college essay about helping your younger siblings through tough times, for example, an admissions officer might look for pictures of them on your Facebook profile. Similarly, your online profiles can be good places to post photos of your successes, such as receiving academic awards or playing for your high school’s sports teams.

It might be wise to look back at your past photos on these platforms too. You might find one or two that would make an admissions officer question whether you’re the same applicant who nailed their paper application.

2. Show your interest in schools

Liking and following the social media profiles of your preferred schools is a smart move. Take it a step further by finding appropriate ways to engage with the schools on these platforms. You might comment on a school’s post, or tag the school during your college visit.

Be wary of going all out for your “reach” school on social media if you’re still being considered by others. The admissions officer of your “target” school could be put off. You also wouldn’t want to poke fun at your “safety” school. You’d be better served needling their rival.

You can also demonstrate your interest in a major. If you’re being considered by a university’s college of business, for example, they might like to know that you follow top financial experts online.

3. Post about your passions

Your college essay is one way to tell schools about your deepest desires and strongest passions. But your social media profiles can also be a vehicle to show off your interest in, well, whatever it is that interests you. You might be one of the following, to name a few examples:

  • An aspiring science major who tweets the latest news from NASA
  • A teen journalist linking to their latest blog post
  • A musician posting a video of their weekend concert

Relishing in your favorite pastime online gives schools another window into who you are beyond your grades.

Although it’s great to post and comment about your interests, be wary of offending someone else’s views in the process. Although college campuses are ripe for debate, think twice about sharing strong opinions with a public audience.

One test to avoid overstepping: Would you share this opinion during an in-person sit-down with the admissions officer? If not, you have your answer.

This goes for posts or comments you might make within seemingly private groups on social media platforms. In 2017, Harvard University rescinded admissions offers to at least 10 incoming freshmen when they were found to be sharing hateful memes via a private Facebook group chat.

To be on the safe side, consider avoiding posts that are meant to be funny but could be misunderstood. You could be punished by perception, not reality.

4. Share the highlights of your social life

There’s nothing wrong with most high school party pictures. They might actually help you. For one, admissions officers want to enroll well-rounded students who have social lives.

For another, the photos might show that you’re comfortable interacting with all different kinds of students. Admissions departments want their campuses to be full of different ideas from students of different backgrounds.

Positive impressions can be gleaned from your Instagram account and Facebook photo galleries. So don’t worry about having to hide them from school admissions departments.

On the flip side, be diligent about how you might appear in friend’s photos, especially on platforms that allow users to tag people without their consent. You wouldn’t want an admissions officer to find a particular image and get the wrong impression.

5. Keep posting after you apply

If you apply for college in January of your senior year of high school, it might be one to two months before an admissions officer has made a final decision. This would be the period, between January and March, where your social media profiles might be reviewed.

If it strengthens your case for admission, use this time to be your own advocate online. Connect the dots for an admissions officer who might be on the fence. If you focused your application essay on a senior project, for example, post updates about its progress.

You might also use your profiles to document your search for college scholarships. Posting about applications and awards could show colleges that you’re serious about finding your way to campus.

If you haven’t yet applied to schools, consider including links to, say, a LinkedIn profile in your college application. This way, you can also point admissions departments toward the social media platform of your choice.

Be aware that your school might also be among the 200-plus to use a social media-like mobile app called ZeeMee that connects schools with their potential students. It could be one more way to share your story.

Use social media to your benefit

When you read that prospective Harvard students were told they were no longer welcome in the class of 2021, your gut reaction might be to shut down all your social media accounts. Less dramatically, you might opt for restricting public access to the accounts.

Depending on your situation, those might be the wisest steps to take. But consider that you’re in control of your narrative.

If you close your accounts, you lose one way to make your case to get into a particular college.

So, instead, turn your social media feeds into a positive thing for admissions officers to look at. Afterall, it might just push you over the top and help you get accepted.

The article “5 Ways Your Social Media Profiles Can Help You Get Into College” originally appeared on

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