Job Application Tips – Mistakes, Types, and Sections

JOB APPLICATION

If you’ve ever been job hunting, you’ve probably come across a ton of job application forms. Typically, employers require candidates to fill one employment form (or even several) along with their resume and cover letter. These forms collect consistent data from all candidates, determine if you can legally work with them, and are especially helpful in gathering comprehensive or specific information that’s usually not found in candidates’ CVs, resumes, or cover letters. We will discuss Job Application Tips here.

Many employers would pick job application forms over CVs and resumes because it makes it easier for them to compare and shortlist candidates. Employers majorly want to answer two questions when assessing candidates- Do you meet the criteria for the role? How well do you stand out among other candidates? Job application forms help them quickly answer these questions.

Job application forms collect details such as role-specific professional or educational experience, references, and employer information. However, for applicants, they’re more time-consuming than just sending out a CV, and there’s more room for mistakes, but it also allows you to tell the employer more about yourself. 

Some of the details can be pretty confusing, so we’ve written this article to provide you with some expert tips.

A Few Tips and Tricks Before You Begin

So, just thinking about filling out a job application form stresses you out because a lot of them are so long, right? Here are a few helpful tips to help you reduce this stress:

  • Don’t begin filling the application too close to the deadline to have enough time to complete it and avoid a rush.
  • Research the organization and the role you’re applying for.
  • Go through your application and check for spelling or grammatical errors before you submit it.
  • Always do multiple readings to check for clarity.
  • Give accurate and truthful information because inaccurate information can disqualify you from the hiring process.
  • Break the application process down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Contact your referees, request their permission, and contact details.

Common Mistakes Applicants Make | Job Application Tips

Mistakes are easily made, especially when you’re nervous, distracted, or in a rush. Here are some common mistakes applicants make which you should try to avoid:

  • Not following the application instructions.
  • Leaving unexplained gaps in your employment history.
  • Making spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  • Applying after the deadline.

Types of Job Applications

There are multiple ways for an applicant to fill a job application, and the type he/ she is required to complete depends on the employer. Here are a few of them:
  1. Online Job Applications. The majority of employment application forms are now completed by applicants online. These are usually completed on the employer’s website or job boards such as Glassdoor or Monster.com.
  2. Physical Job Applications. Some companies require candidates to fill a paper job application in person. While the process may not be as long or complicated as online applications, candidates should prepare for the possibility of an on-the-spot interview.
  3. Email Job Applications: If you’re sending your application via email, your job application is your cover letter, and it should let the recipient know the role you’re applying for, your qualifications for the position, what you’ll be adding to the company, and any other information that may have been requested in the application instructions.

Common Sections In A Job Application

While each company’s job application process is different, you’re likely to find these sections in most applications:

  1. Personal Information – This section is usually pretty straight-forward. It typically requests these details:
  • Name
  • Physical address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Eligibility to work in the United States
  1. Education and Experience – Typically, you’ll be required to fill in your: 
  • High school qualifications up to your college degree and above (with dates).
  • Certifications and qualifications.
  • Awards (if any).
  • Skills.
  • Activities, hobbies, and interests that are relevant to the role.
  1. Employment history – You’ll be required to include details of your work history from your current or most recent job and work backward. The details could include:
  • Employer name. The employer name on a job application refers to the name of the organization you worked/ are working for. Some applicants fill in the name of a manager, but this is incorrect as there’s usually a different option to fill in a manager or supervisor’s details.
  • Employer address. The physical address of the organization, not an individual.
  • Employer phone number.
  • Employer email.
  • Supervisor/ Manager. The name of the individual who was/is your supervisor or manager at the organization.
  • Start/end of employment. The day, month, and year.
  • Position and responsibilities. Your job title and the role you played.
  • Starting salary. The salary you earned at the start of your employment with the organization.
  • Current/ ending salary. The salary you currently earn/ earned at the termination of your employment.
  • Why did you/ do you want to leave?
  1. References – Most organizations request one or two references. Others could even ask for more. Ideally, one of your references should be from your current or previous employer, and the other could be a colleague or someone else that is a great character reference.
  1. Supporting statement – This is a personal statement highlighting why you’re applying for the role and your experiences or qualifications that make you a great candidate.  You should pay a lot of attention to this section because it allows you to show why your current or previous work experiences make you suitable for the role.  Briefly mention how the role would be a great career move because it strongly fits your long-term goals. You’re basically showing them that you could be a valuable asset to the organization.
  1. Competency questions – Employers create work-based scenarios to understand you would handle such situations if you’re faced with them. It’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate practical skills and knowledge drawn from your experiences. These questions can be tricky, so you should do some research and get familiar with competency questions before starting the application process.

At the end of the application, you’ll probably be required to certify that the information you’ve provided is accurate, and then you’ll be allowed to submit your application!

Also read By calling out my multiple professional identities in my job applications, I have become a stronger applicant: Sarabeth Berk, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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