Career Action Center

Completing Job Applications

Your application is an advertisement of yourself and a sample of your work. A well-done application is the first step in securing meaningful employment. The following are some guidelines for an A+ application.

  • Save time and effort by preparing a fact sheet containing all the information needed to complete application forms (i.e. job history, supervisor’s name, phone numbers, salary information). Use your fact sheet as a reference whenever you need to complete an application form.
  • Before you start filling out an application, make a photocopy and use that as a draft.
  • Print or write neatly with a pen. Employers develop a first impression based on your application. Be sure it is neatly and completely filled out.
  • Attach your résumé to the application form and also complete the job history section. Avoid the temptation to write See attached résumé on the application. Most employers want to see your work history presented in their format. If there are gaps in the chronology of your work history, provide an explanation.
  • When describing responsibilities from past jobs, list the duties that are most relevant to the job you seek.
  • Include internships as part of your work experience.
  • Tell the truth. When you sign the application, you are affirming that everything on it is accurate.
  • Use positive language to describe the reason for leaving a position. Write statements such as Opportunity for Advancement rather than Didn’t like boss or No growth potential. If you were part of a layoff, use a phrase such as Company downsized.
  • Include volunteer and community service activities if they relate to your field or demonstrate skills such as leadership or organization. Leave off any organizations that indicate race, color, religion, etc.
  • The application may ask, Do you have any handicaps or health problems that may affect your ability to perform the job? List only those that would affect your ability to perform the job applied for.
  • When filling in the Salary Expected box, write in Will discuss or Negotiable.
  • Fill out the application completely. Insert N/A in blanks that are not applicable.
  • After you have completed the application, review it for accuracy.
  • Sign the application and keep a photocopy for your records.
  • Ask the employer for information about the application process. When will applicants be contacted for an interview? How will they be notified that a position has been filled?
  • Keep a record of where you have submitted applications. Mark your calendar with a date to follow-up and do so.