A job application is the most comprehensive tool used by employers when evaluating potential employees. Unlike resumes and cover letters – which can be cleverly crafted and skillfully structured to the applicant’s advantage – a job application minimizes any chances for fluff and embellishment, focusing instead on fundamental and factual information to provide a transparent picture of the job applicant. Consider each of the seven parts of a job application thoughtfully and accurately to present a thorough and honest composite to potential employers.
The personal information on a job application includes your name, address, phone numbers (home, work, cell) and email address. This section also includes your date of birth and social security number. Although it is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of age, many applicants leave the birth date information blank believing it could be used to disqualify them. However, it’s worth noting that the school attendance dates (listed in the education section) can also reveal an applicant’s age.
The position section refers to your desired job or position. In addition to the position title, list the desired salary requirements, the earliest date you could begin working for the company and any qualifications you have for the position in question. Some employers also ask if you have ever worked at the company before or are related to anyone employed there.
The education section asks you to provide the names, addresses, years attended, graduation dates and areas of study for colleges and universities, trade schools and high schools attended. There is also a subsection for listing school accomplishments, activities and honors. Some employers also request your grade point average.
Applicants chronicle their employment history in this section which includes each employer’s name, address, phone number and supervisor’s name (some employers also request permission to contact supervisors). In addition, the work history chronicles how long you worked for each company, starting and ending salaries and the reason you left each employer.
In the references section, you provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who can vouch for your character and work performance. Some applicants list personal friends with whom they have no working relationship, but since friends can be biased, you should list only people who can credibly attest to work skills, performance and other job-related information.
Most job applications include a miscellaneous section that covers a range of subjects which may include questions about your military status; queries about your citizenship status and documentation; arrests, conviction and other criminal information; and driver’s license data. The miscellaneous section also requests voluntary information like your race, ethnicity and gender.
The final part of the job application is the certification. In this section, you attest to the truthfulness of the information provided in the application and acknowledge that, if you are hired, falsifying information is grounds for termination. You also consent to a background check. The final step is to sign and date the application.