Create a Successful Job Application

Does the thought of filling out a job application make you want to raid the freezer for chocolate ice cream? Job applications create anxiety because it is often unclear how to fill them out. Read the following 10 tips in order to eliminate the guesswork and produce a brilliant job application.

  • Be cautious: Get two applications. Read every question while you are in the office to see if there are any tricky ones. If you are not sure how to answer a question, ask the person at the front desk to explain anything that doesn’t make sense. Ask if you can fill it out at home if you are pressured for time.
  • Be thorough: Employers really need the information that they are requesting. Write an answer to every nit picky question with specific and complete phrases. For many entry level positions, employers value job applications more than your resume.
  • Hit the mark: Target your application(s) toward each job. Feature your skills that match those outlined in the employer’s job description. (Employers will usually have a job description available and its okay to ask for one). If you can’t get a specific job title, then list an area of work such as “warehouse” or “retail sales.” Employers find the phrase “anything available” annoying, so don’t use it.
  • Be a star: Include every experience you have that relates to the position. If you need more space write “see attached” in the job description box and continue your experience on another sheet of paper.
  • Be prepared: Bring your master application, resume, ID, references, and a good pen when you think that you may be filling out a job application. (Extra tip! Beware of old ballpoint pens as they tend to leave ink blobs on the page.)
  • Be true: It’s easy to exaggerate when you want to impress someone. Avoid the temptation to fudge qualifications or dates. Then you can sign and date it with ease at the end.
  • Be accessible: Give them current information so they can easily contact you. If you give the employer a message number, make sure all of the people that could answer are expecting employers to call and will answer appropriately.
  • Be neat: Type out your prepared responses to the questions if you have less than great handwriting. Make sure your application stays in tip-top shape. Keep it clear of food and drink. Consider investing in a good notebook or folder where you can keep your applications dry and unfolded.
  • Be discreet: If it is not explicitly requested, leave out information that would give the employer any reason to doubt your ability to do the job. Also, don’t write the salary or wage you need on the application. Write “prevailing wage” or “open for discussion” instead.
  • Finally, have a friend proofread your application before you prepare your final draft.