An employer’s first impression of an applicant is his or her job application. From the pool of applications, hiring managers choose which candidates they will interview for possible employment. Making an employment application stand out from the pack is essential. Not only does it showcase a candidate’s education, skills, and background, but it also gives the reader insight into one’s attention to detail and communication skills.
Obtain the Job Application
Begin the application process by printing an application form from the employer’s website or asking for one in person from the physical location of the business. If the application is printed at home, make sure it is on clean white paper and all pages print correctly. For in person requests, be aware that job seekers are assessed from the moment the employer realizes their intentions.
When entering a business to ask for a job application, clothing should be modest and clean. Enter the establishment alone and politely ask for an application. This behavior suggests professionalism and confidence.
Fill out a Rough Draft of the Employment Application
Use another sheet of paper to practice answers to each question. This ensures that mistakes can be corrected and changes made without making a mess of the actual application.
Don’t leave gaps in employment history. For periods of time without regular employment, consider using volunteer work, summer jobs, “full-time student,” “stay at home mom,” or other truthful reasons to fill that time.
For open response items, try to decide what the employer is trying to find out. Focus on how the reply can display attributes that will be a perfect match for the company. Finally, have someone with good grammar and punctuation skills proofread the response.
Transfer Answers to the Employment Application
Be sure to fill out every section and question completely and neatly in black or blue ink. Printing is the best option to ensure the reader can understand every answer. However, some applications specifically ask for cursive handwriting on essay sections, so always read and follow instructions specific to each application.
Once the job application is finished, review it again to make sure no mistakes were made and every portion is complete. Even one blank answer might be enough to keep an applicant from getting an interview. If a mistake is found, use correcting fluid to cover the error and replace it with the correct information.
Return the Application to the Employer
Make sure not to roll or crumple the application, as it looks unprofessional. Again, be sure to dress neatly and enter alone. Ask for someone who can accept the application, and smile and thank them as they take it. Politely inquire about how job applications will be handled (what day they will be reviewed, how and if candidates will be notified of a decision, etc).
The Hard Part for Job Seekers: Waiting for a Response to a Job Application
Sometimes the hardest part of filling out an application is just waiting to hear from the employer. Remember that there may be dozens or hundreds of applications for the employer to review. Many will fail to follow the instructions above and will be immediately discarded.
Upon notification that the position has been filled, thank the employer and ask to be kept on file for future openings. In case of no contact, the act of following up on an employment application in person or by phone suggests an applicant is serious about the job and still interested. Sometimes these employers will keep application information on file as well.
Taking special care when obtaining, completing, and returning employment applications is a little extra effort, but can be rewarding in the end. Job interviews inevitably go to those who portray themselves well on job applications. Make sure each one demonstrates qualities that will be recognized as valuable by any potential employer.