How to Correctly Fill Out a Job Application

Filling out a job application is an important step in the job search process.

Filling out a job application is an important step in the job search process.

If you've been looking for jobs for a while, you've probably filled out a lot of job applications and feel you already have the process down pat. But if you're just starting your search, or have been out of the loop for awhile, it doesn't hurt to refresh your memory on the do's and don'ts of applications. Forgetting a step, putting down the wrong information or not following the instructions can be the kiss of death for a job seeker, particularly in these days of electronic forms. A simple mistake might mean your form is never even processed by the system.

Gather all the information you need before you start to fill out a job application. You'll need your personal data, including your Social Security number, emergency contact information and, possibly, drivers license and insurance policy data. Ensure you have current company names and contact information for the places you've worked before, as well as details about your former supervisors. You also will need reference contact information, so talk to your references before you start to make sure that prospective employers may contact them.

Read the application all the way through before you start completing it. Most importantly, read the instructions thoroughly and follow them to the letter. Write or type all your entries neatly, legibly and without mistakes.

Finish the application. It's tough to convince a prospective employer you're great at handling detailed work when you skip over questions or forget to do the last page of the job application. After you think you're done, review it again to make sure you didn't inadvertently miss anything.

Include your current resume -- either a paper copy or electronic attachment -- if requested.

Proofread your application carefully before you submit it and correct any mistakes or typos you find. You also should keep a copy for yourself, as well as a record of the date it was submitted, in case questions arise about data it contains or whether it was submitted in time.

Tip

  • Unless the company specifically instructs applicants not to, it's acceptable to follow up with the hiring office or a contact listed on the website to find out whether your application was received. Allow at least a week from the date you submit it before contacting the company.
 

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images