Application Tips

The job application is designed to help the hiring manager spot your professional strengths and weaknesses quickly. Here are some tips for filling out a standard or online application:

  1. Put commonly requested information on a sample application form and carry it with you. Most applications request the same information (correct dates of employment, wage history, contact information, etc.).
  2. Request a spare copy when you pick up an application (one to practice on in pencil and one to submit in ink). Remember to dress appropriately to make a good first impression.
  3. Read the entire application and directions before you begin. Write as neatly as possible (no scribbles!). Printing is easier to read than cursive writing. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  4. Be truthful and don’t exaggerate or alter facts about your work history or education. If the hiring manager finds that you are not truthful, you likely will not get the job. Misrepresentation can also be sufficient grounds for dismissal.
  5. Have a list of your references (title, business address, phone number, and email address) and be sure you receive permission before listing them on an application.
  6. Answer every question on the application. Fill in any items that do not apply to you with “N/A”. If a question is confusing, ask for clarification. Answer questions about a criminal record with a “please see me” or “will discuss.”
  7. State the reason you left a prior place of employment as truthfully as possible (“company downsized;” “relocated to another city,” etc.). If you were fired from a job, write “please see me” or “will discuss” in the area requesting the reason why you left the job. Provide reasons for gaps in your employment history (returned to school, job re-training, family obligations, etc.).
  8. When asked salary or wage expectations, write “open” or “negotiable” in the blank rather than a specific amount that may be too high or too low for the position.
  9. Remember to carefully proofread, sign, and date the application.


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