The process of applying for a job has changed a lot over the past few years. For example, most applications must be completed online now instead of on paper. There are also many new ways to manage your personal information electronically (either on your computer or mobile device) that will make it much easier to reference.
In this tutorial, we'll discuss everything you need to complete a job application. This includes gathering your personal information, obtaining references, and finally, tips for completing a job application.
A job application is a tool that allows potential employers to learn more about your work experience, skills, background, and education. Because employers will use the application to assess your qualifications—and compare you to other applicants—it's important to make a good impression. You can start by organizing your information in advance, so you know you have everything you need.
Tips for organizing your information
- Write it down (or type it up)
As you begin putting your information together, plan to write it down in one place—like in a notebook or file folder—or take notes on your computer. Either way, we recommend downloading our Personal Information Worksheet, which gives you a list of everything you need, plus plenty of room to document it. If you want, you can even fill it out as you progress through this lesson.
Personal Information Worksheet:
- Keep an electronic copy
Let's imagine that you're applying for a job online. If you have your information saved in a Word or Google document, all you have to do is copy and paste it from one location to another, and you'll be done with your application in no time.
Storing your information in a Word or Google document can be a great time saver. It will also make it possible to update your information quickly and easily in the future, as well as print a hard copy whenever you need one. If you'd like to learn more about Google Documents, a free alternative to Microsoft Word), visit our Google Docs tutorial.
- Keep a hard copy
You might want to keep a hard copy of your information in addition to an electronic copy (or instead of an electronic copy, depending on your preferences). Keep it somewhere safe in a clearly labeled folder. You should also take a hard copy of your information to interviews, in case you have to fill out an application on site.
- Use your cell phone, smartphone, or tablet
If you need help keeping track of names, addresses, phone numbers, and other important details, store this information on your mobile device (in your contacts or address book), and you'll be able to access it whenever you need it. This is especially useful if you ever have to fill out an application in person.
You might want to try something like JibberJobber, a feature-rich app that can help you keep track of your business contacts and organize your job search, among other things. If you've compiled your information in a Google Document, you can even use the free Google Drive app to access your document on the go. Learn more about the app here:
Accuracy, correct spelling, and honesty are also important to keep in mind when gathering information. There's a good chance a hiring manager will conduct a background check on you during the application process to make sure you're telling the truth about your history. We'll take a closer look at the application process in Lesson 3 of this tutorial, Completing a Job Application.