Use Our Tips For Job Applications That Impress

Completing applications is an important job search activity. For some employers, it is the first step of the process, while others require it only once you've been invited to interview. Employers will make judgements about you based on the neatness, completeness, and accuracy of your application, so they need to be filled out with care. This can be difficult if you feel rushed or don't know some of the answers.

Using a master job application can help. A master job application is a blank form that you complete BEFORE your first interview, and refer to when filling out real ones.


While employer applications generally have many common features, there will also be differences. It's important, therefore, to think of your master job application as a starting point, and to pay close attention when copying information from it.

Here are some more tips to keep in mind as you complete the master and employer job applications:

  • Neatly print your answers using a black pen. It's wise to have two matching pens with you in case one runs out of ink.

  • Review the whole application first. Make note of any instructions such as "office use only" and "do not write below this line," and be sure to leave those sections blank.

  • Read each question carefully before you try to answer it. If you are not sure what something means, ask for an explanation.

  • Remember that the master job application may not be an exact match to the employer's application. For example, while the master job application asks for last name then first name, the employer's application may ask for first name then last name.

  • Write "open" or "negotiable" when asked for desired salary or wages.

  • If asked when you are available to begin work, write "immediately" if you can start right away. Otherwise, show a specific date. If you are presently employed, it is expected that you will give two weeks notice.

  • Describe three or four key tasks of each past job you have held. List them in order of importance. Use action words such as "coordinated," "supervised," "created," and "analyzed."

  • Answer all questions fully, including the employment history section. Do not simply write "see resume."

  • Make sure that all information provided on the application, including dates and job titles, is the same as your resume.

  • Complete the entire application. Do not leave anything blank (unless instructed to do so). If a question does not apply to you, write "N/A" (Not Applicable) so that the employer knows that you did not overlook it.

  • Be completely honest. Many employers do reference and background checks, so the information you provide can easily be checked.

  • Carefully read the section above the signature to make sure that you fully understand the conditions to which you are agreeing. For example, signing the application may indicate permission to contact the references that you listed and/or to conduct a background check.

  • Proofread your master application and employer-specific applications for completeness, accuracy, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Think about having a friend or relative proofread your master application before you begin using it as a model for real ones.

  • Sign and date the application.

A job application is not just a formality. In addition to summarizing your qualifications, it shows your writing skills, attention to detail, and ability to follow instructions. As one of the first examples of your work seen by the employer, the quality of your completed application sends a strong message about what can be expected of you in your job. It's very important that you spend the time and effort needed to present yourself in the best possible light.

Receive email notifications when new posts are added: