Most employers require employment applications - paper or electronic. These are key screening devices that should represent your best effort to get your foot in the employer's door. Treat them as you would a first date - make a great first impression!

For more information, see my Resume, Application, and Letter Tips for People With Hot and Not-So-Hot Backgrounds.

The following tips should help you produce first-rate applications for getting interviews:

  1. Complete each section thoroughly. If something does not relate to you, write N/A (not applicable)
  2. Answer all questions completely - take time to do it right.
  3. Dress nicely for the application site - may get interviewed.
  4. Read the instructions carefully and follow completely.
  5. Use an erasable black pen to make clean changes.
  6. Write as neatly as possible - it reflects on you.
  7. Include all previous employers - no obvious time gaps.
  8. If you lack work experience, be creative in revealing your key abilities and transferable skills.
  9. Appear educated, even if you lack formal credentials.
  10. Select your references carefully - only positive ones.
  11. Handle red flag questions honestly and tactfully.
  12. Minimize abbreviations and jargon.
  13. Avoid vague statements - employers want details.
  14. Avoid revealing salary information if possible.
  15. Emphasize your motivated abilities and skills throughout.
  16. Remember to sign and date your application form.
  17. Re-read your answers - should be complete and error-free.
  18. Attach an achievement-oriented resume if appropriate.
  19. Ask about the selection process and hiring decision.
  20. Follow up your application with a telephone call.


SOURCE: Adapted from Ron Krannich, Ph.D., The Re-Entry Employment and Life Skills Pocket Guide (Manassas Park: Impact Publications), page 26. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Copying strictly forbidden.