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The Correct Wording for a Job Application

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The correct wording for a job application varies according to the kind of work the applicant plans to do. A more formal position generally requires greater formality of language, and an applicant can be less formal if the desired job is more casual. Other factors, such as how well you know the hiring director, can also play a role in correct job-application wording. Still, there are a few important rules everyone should follow.


Present yourself truthfully. Include all relevant experience, but do not exaggerate or fabricate any qualifications. Employers can tell if you are stretching the truth by calling references or your previous employers. If they decide you are not honest, you will not be hired. Place answers in their correct order. If an employer asks for your last name, then first name, follow those instructions.


Cut out unnecessary words from short-answer questions. Eliminate awkward phrasing and sentences that don't pertain directly to your application. Short-answer questions help you answer application questions directly, and your responses show you are straightforward and serious.


Apply for a specific position. Do not write that you are "open to anything" or that you desire "all" positions. A specific application shows that you have considered the company carefully and are a serious applicant. Employers want people who can focus their goals and make specific decisions about what they want.


Complete every question on an application, writing "N/A" where a question does not apply to you. Make sure you sign and date the application.


In all cases, select words that strengthen your self-presentation. Avoid hedging responses with "I think," "I feel," or "It seems to me." State your positive attributes directly; don't be humble. Say you have "significant" experience, not "some" experience. Phrase career transitions as positively as possible, using phrases such as "moved" and "sought additional responsibility" instead of "fired" or "laid off." Avoid words with negative connotations, such as "dislike" or "failed."

Avoid Buzzwords

Although you want to present yourself positively, overuse of buzzwords can hurt your chances. Words such as "interesting," "intensive," "powerful" and "in-depth" can sound disingenuous and fluffy if you don't back them up with specific examples. Only use buzzwords if you can name a specific reason why they will help your application.


Jeremy Fisk is a professional writer who has written for, "The New York Observer," Mediabistro and other publications. Fisk has published stories about media, finance and crime in both print and online media. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and English from Georgetown University.