Tips for completing a job application

When applying for a job, you may be asked to complete a paper or online job application. This is a standard form that summarizes your work history, eligibility and education. You’ll likely complete a job application when applying for part-time jobs.

Listed below are typical sections you might see on a job application, along with tips for providing the information. It’s helpful to have everything gathered in a document beforehand (dates of employment, contact information, salary, etc.) so you’ll have it easily available when completing your application.

Personal information – Full name, address, phone number/email, felony convictions

  • Provide your complete name.
  • Don’t forget apartment numbers, city/state and zip code.
  • Provide a professional/appropriate email address and make sure the voice mail message for your listed phone number is appropriate.
  • If you have a felony conviction you must say so. You’ll have space to list the nature of the conviction. Consider writing “will discuss at interview” in the box. Another option is to attach a document to the application that briefly and clearly explains the facts of the conviction and focuses on your positive qualifications for the job.

Job information – Position you’re applying for, work availability, salary requirements.

  • List the specific job you’re applying for.
  • Be honest about your availability. If you can’t work weekends, don’t check “yes.”
  • Research salary ranges for the position to which you’re applying so your stated requirements won’t be too low or too high.

Education – Name/location of schools attended, degree/diploma, graduation date

  • Start with the most recent school, including those you’re currently attending.
  • List “Diploma” for high school section (or GED).
  • State the type of degree(s) you are pursuing or have earned (AAS, AS/AA, BA/BS, etc.)
  • Include month and year of completed and pending graduation dates.

Employment History – Company contact information, supervisor’s name, dates of employment, salary, reason for leaving

  • Even if the company no longer exists, provide as much contact information as you can (former location for example).
  • Include the month and year for your dates of employment.
  • List your hourly wage or annual salary.
  • Be honest about your reason for leaving. If there were extenuating circumstances, write “See attached” in the space provided and attach a document that briefly explains the reason.

References – Contact information of at least three people who can serve as an employment reference

  • Locate references ahead of time and confirm their willingness to serve as your reference.
  • Use professional references only, not family members.

Some final tips before completing and submitting your job application:

  • Use a black or blue pen for paper applications (not pencil or other colored pens).
  • Write clearly and legibly. Proofread for errors. Consider using correction fluid (Wite-Out) to paint over mistakes on a paper application. If there are numerous mistakes, ask for or download a new form.
  • Type any documents of explanation that you plan to attach to the application.
  • Be honest about all information you submit on the application. With background checks and interviews, any hidden truths will eventually surface.
  • Submit a resume with your application. It shows a level of professionalism that employers appreciate.