Job Applications: Accuracy is Crucial

Do you know how to fill out a job application?  Employment applications are not substitutes for a resume, but they are almost always required, regardless of the job opening. Completing a job application accurately is crucial to your job search. Many employers request an application for conformity reasons, and to obtain a signature from the applicant. Some employers require applications because they want certain information in a standard format.

Here are a few tips when filling out a job application:

  • Fill in all the blanks, and follow the instructions carefully. Many companies request that application forms be printed neatly (although typewritten is acceptable). Never leave an item blank. If it doesn’t apply to you, enter “N/A” or write “non-applicable” in the blank.  Use a blue or black ink pen to fill out the application.
  • Use your resume as a guide when completing this employment document. Make sure all the information is accurate and it agrees with the information presented in your resume.
  • Never leave an area blank by stating “See resume.” The employer has asked you to fill in the application form for a reason. Asking him or her to flip back and forth between your resume and the application form will only irritate the employer, and it will probably decrease your chances of getting an interview.
  • If you are asked to provide references, offer at least three. Be prepared to present all of the pertinent information about your references: full name; address; telephone number; position; relationship to you; and how long you have known the person. This is especially important when you are completing an application at the employer’s site; you don’t want to appear disorganized.  Be sure to spell everything correctly.
  • Before naming individuals as references, it makes good sense to discuss your intentions with them to make sure they are comfortable providing a reference. It also guarantees that they will be more prepared if an employer calls to ask about you.
  • Choose your references carefully. Select individuals who have known you for a significant period of time (at least a year or more) and are familiar with your skills and abilities, especially as they apply to the position or career you want. Remember that previous co-workers and supervisors make good references.
  • You may be asked when you can begin work. If you are currently  employed, allow enough time to give adequate notice to your current employer (at least two weeks). This shows professionalism and respect on your part. If you are willing to leave your current employer without adequate notice, your potential employer may be concerned that you would do the same to them.
  • Always include a copy of your resume with your application. Keep a copy of the job application for your records, and refer to it prior to your interview.

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