Depending on the company and the position, the application may be required as part of the initial submission, as an additional step after you have submitted your cover letter and resume, or after the company considers you a serious candidate.
Some employers use an online application system, others may use a hard copy or emailed application. Some organizations use an online application rather than a resume, so your application must be concise and persuasive – just like your resume. Allow the employer to see how your skills and experience will benefit their organization.
Follow these tips for completing an application:
- Read and follow instructions carefully. For hard copy applications, complete the application as neatly as possible.
- Keep your application consistent with your resume. Tailor your answers to the job you are seeking. Do not provide negative information, but answer questions truthfully. Copy and paste from your resume where applicable.
- Constantly save your information when completing an online application. To protect your data, organizations may build a time-out feature into their online application system. Anything that is not saved before the system times out, may be lost.
- Do not leave blank spaces. Employers have you complete an application for various reasons including background checks, to find out information you may leave off your resume, and to compare the same information from all job applicants. If there are questions that do not apply to you, respond with “N/A” or “not applicable.” Avoid writing “see resume” on the application.
- Do your salary research. Another reason employers may have you fill out an application is to find out your salary requirements. You can be eliminated from consideration based on your answer. It’s okay to say “open” or “negotiable.” If those are not options, provide a salary range based on your research for the position and company. If online, you may have to pick from a drop-down menu. Some online applications require a numerical input before allowing you to continue.
- Be prepared to provide references. If an application requests references, provide clear contact information.
- Proofread your application before submitting it.