Career Action Center

Application Guidelines

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:

  • Read application completely before filling it out, including the small print.
  • If you’re applying at a company that will use the same application for different positions, fill out application completely, leaving the area regarding the position title blank. Make copies of the filled out application and fill in the blank area for each position for which you’d like to apply.
  • Fill it out accurately and neatly. Avoid errors in punctuation, spelling and grammar. Never leave any blanks. Insert N/A in areas that are not applicable.
  • Type or print neatly - use black ink.
  • Always carry pens, pencils and paper. Some companies screen out applications for which they have to provide extra materials.
  • Sign your name legibly.
  • When you have completed the application, read it over for errors. Seek a second opinion. Make a copy for your records.
  • If more space is needed for information, attach a separate sheet of paper.
  • If you make a minor error, you may erase or use white-out. If you make many errors, request another application and start over.
  • Attach your resume to the application before submitting.
  • Provide at least two phone numbers where you can be reached or where messages can be taken.
  • Include volunteer jobs, outside activities, internships, etc., which relate to the job you are applying for.
  • Review your application before your interview - you will discuss it during your interview.
  • Be prepared to complete the application. Have references, education, and employment history, dates, addresses, telephone numbers, etc., written out ahead of time so that you just have to transfer this information from your notes to the application form.
  • When turning in the application, have a recipient read it over. Be sure to ask questions at this time: What is the complete application process? When will applicants be contacted for an interview? How will applicants be notified when the position has been filled? (etc.)
  • Make follow-up contacts - let it be known that you are interested and available.

Application Impressions from the Interviewer

Many impressions and pre-judgements will be made about you from the information you submit on an application:

  • A complete and tidy form will tell the employer you are careful, conscientious and detail-oriented. An untidy form will surely tell them the opposite.
  • Respond thoughtfully to form questions which seem rather vague. It is your chance to demonstrate maturity, interest and communications skills.
  • All those little jobs you held so long ago, that seem unimportant now, do belong on the application. The impression given shows you have a history of industriousness, self-reliance, and ability to work with other people.
  • Be careful to not leave unexplained gaps in the chronology of your background. The interviewer/reader cannot help but wonder if you are hiding something - or are perhaps too lazy to detail the whole background.
  • The chronology says whether you are vocationally stable and progressing in that line of work or if you are a job-hopper, floating from place to place. If your work history is erratic, find a way to explain it on the form.
  • The section on the application for interest and hobbies gives a quick picture of your aptitudes, perhaps even some skill or talent for which the employer will have a use. But, don’t fake it, if they care it will undoubtedly come up in the interview.