Applying for a job is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so knowing how to properly complete a job application is an important skill to develop. Applications range from a one-page questionnaire to a 10-page form, but they always inquire about the applicants’ skills and qualifications related to the position. Hard skills are those learned through training and related directly to the work of the company; soft skills are personality traits such as the ability to be a team player and contribute to a positive work environment. Qualifications are the factors that determine if the candidate is a good fit for the job.
Research the job skills and qualifications requirements listed on the application, advertisement or the company’s website. If these are not available, ask to visit the company to get a sense of the work environment or talk with others who have held the same positions in that company or a similar one.
Make a list of the required “skills” listed on the job advertisement. Identify the hard and soft skills needed. Under each item, describe your skill in this area and provide a specific example for each one.
Follow the same process in identifying the “qualifications” for the position. Read the job advertisement; it will describe the nature of the work and the educational, training and/or work experience needed for the job. Under each item, list your qualifications and an example that matches the job description.
Evaluate your skills and qualifications. If you meet the minimum requirements or surpass them, complete the application process. Do not apply for a job if you know you do not have the skills and qualifications required. Save a copy of the application and your notes to use for a future job application.
Elaborate on your skills and qualifications a bit and include an example, but do not write a paragraph if only two sentences are requested.
Do not "fake it" on an application; the employer will recognize this in the interview stage and disqualify you. Fill out the application completely and legibly; do not skip any questions.