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Job application strategies

Job applications

Are you ready to apply for a job?

The job application is often your first step, although some employers prefer that you submit only a resume. Employers that require a job application do so to learn about your qualifications and compare you to other applicants.

Your application will likely be an employer’s first impression of you so it’s very important that you get it right. Employers may make assumptions about your work based on the quality of your application, so it must be completed neatly, fully and accurately.

If you are physically going to a worksite to pick up an application, you should take note of two things:

  1. You never know who you will meet and with whom you will be speaking, so you should treat the situation as a business appointment. Dress appropriately and conduct yourself professionally.
  2. Be prepared to complete the job application on the spot, as some employers may prefer or even require that. Be sure you have working pens on hand as well as all of the information you will need to complete the application, including details about your previous jobs.
  3. Also, ask for references before you fill out an application:
    • Talk with the individuals you wish to use as references, to make sure they are willing to provide a reference, are familiar with the job you are seeking, and are prepared to talk about your qualifications.
    • Ensure that you have current contact information for your references.
    • It is OK to include a personal or character reference – but don’t use a family member for this purpose.

After filling out an application

If the employer has had your application for one to two weeks and you have not been contacted, you should reach out to the employer via phone or e-mail.  You can express your interest in the position, inquire about the status of filling the job and, if you’re told it has been filled, to request that your application or resume be kept on file for future consideration.

Action Step

Once you’ve read about job application strategies and online applications, practice filling out this Sample Job Application.