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You’ve completed your resume and wrote a compelling cover letter with attention to detail and information that you are sure will demonstrate your unique skills and qualifications. So why do some employers require you to also fill out an application? Some companies use applications as a way to standardize what information they gather on prospective employees. And many use applications as a way to gather the necessary information to narrow down the number of applicants they move to the next level of consideration. For these reasons, it’s important that you treat the application process with as much care as you do your resume and cover letter. Here are some best practices:

  1. Read and follow the directions provided on the application.
  2. Write legibly if you are not completing the application online.
  3. Fill in all the blanks and include N/A when “not applicable” instead of leaving a line on the application blank.
  4. Never falsify information. Honesty is always the best policy.
  5. Customize your answers for the position you are seeking and keep answers positive.
  6. When completing a paper application, make sure you fill out the entire form. When you have completed the front page, turn the application over to ensure there isn’t more information to be filled out on the back side.
  7. Ensure the information you provide on the application is consistent with your resume.
  8. Do not provide detailed requests regarding salary expectations.
  9. Have a list handy of people who have agreed to serve as references and make sure you have their most up-to-date contact information. You should inform your references that you have listed them on the application so they are prepared if they receive a call from the company’s hiring staff.
  10. PROOFREAD and submit your application online or hand it directly to a hiring manager or human resources staff member.

There is never a good time to use short cuts when applying for employment. Keep in mind that the answers you provide on the application will serve as your “first impression” and may pave the way to the next step in the hiring process.


By Timea Jones