Complete your application successfully using these job application tips and the practical application checklist.

Applying to jobs can become repetitive and time-consuming. Avoid sabotaging your chances of job search success because you did not focus fully on completing your job application properly.

Many employers use job applications to screen potential employees and decide on the next step in the hiring process. You may be required to fill out a job application when you apply for a job opportunity or when you get called for an interview.

This practical application checklist will help you get it right each and every time you complete a job application.

Employers use applications as a means of getting standard information from each candidate that may or may not be on their resumes. The job application is a key tool in your job search process – make it work for you.

10 Top Job Application Tips

1. Have the right documents with you

You need a copy of your latest resume, your job reference list, the job posting or description, your social security card, addresses and contact numbers of previous employers and salary details to complete the job application properly.

2. Read the instructions carefully

Almost half of all job applicants don’t follow the directions. Take the time to read all the instructions and review the full application before you start to fill it out. This prevents repeating information or putting it in the wrong place.

Following directions is a fundamental skill employers look for, by following the application directions carefully you are immediately demonstrating this job skill.

3. Write legibly and check details for accuracy

Complete the application neatly and legibly. Check that you have written down the right contact numbers and email address. Use correct spacing and capitalization.

4. Make sure your employment history is correct

Check the names of your former employers, their addresses, your dates of employment and other employment details are all correct.

5. Fill in all the details

When asked for information, such as employment history, do not write “refer to resume”, this comes across as lazy. Complete the details on the application as requested. Make sure the information you provide in your job application is consistent with the information in your resume.

Take time to answer the questions, ensuring you are giving the right information while demonstrating why you are a good match for the job opportunity.

6. Write your qualifications out in full

Describe your qualifications fully. Don’t assume the employer knows what an acronym stands for.

7. Don’t leave out questions


Complete all the required sections or your application may be rejected. If a question does not apply to you, respond with “not applicable”.

Always stick with the truth – you will have to defend your answers in the interview. By signing the job application you are verifying the information is accurate.


8. Avoid specifying salary requirements


Avoid stating a specific salary requirement, rather give a range or write “open”or “negotiable”. This can then be addressed in the interview more fully. How to answer the salary question.

9. Provide references if requested

Have your reference list ready to include in your application. Find out more about how to select your references and how to ask someone to be a reference for you.

10. Check your application for mistakes

Essential job application tips include proofreading your job application carefully a couple of times before you submit it. Spelling and other mistakes are likely to sabotage your chances.

If you are completing an online application make sure to print out a copy so you know what information the employer has in the interview and for future reference.

Job application tips to take note of include spending time and taking care whatever the type of job application you are completing – whether it is a simple one-page application or a long and complex application.


Top job application tips for completing online applications

Complete your online job application offline first!

This is advised for a number of reasons:

  • you could lose connectivity during the process
  • you may have to complete it all in one go if there is no “save and return” button  which means that if you need details that you don’t have to hand it is difficult to continue
  • you could submit in error before you are ready
  • your logged-in session may time out before you are finished

Copy and paste the application template into Word or similar. Complete it, print it and check it, then transfer the details to the online job application. It is easier to check spelling and other errors on a printed page rather than on a screen.

This way you can be sure you have completed all the details required, you have attached all necessary documentation and your application is error-free before you hit the submit button.

If there is a word count stipulated on the form do not exceed it. Prepare your answer in Word first, check the word count and transfer the information to the online application.

This all takes time but it is far more productive to complete a number of targeted job applications properly than to fire off a large number of poorly completed applications.


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