What are the Best Tips for Filling out an Application for Employment?

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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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The best tips for filling out an application for employment include being careful to answer all questions clearly and accurately. A job application is an opportunity to create a positive first impression with legible, easy-to-understand responses that succinctly highlight the applicant’s accomplishments. Gathering all pertinent information ahead of time regarding names, dates, and addresses of previous employers and educational institutions is a necessary step for providing accurate answers. Specific types of questions should be answered carefully, such as those about salary needs or reasons for leaving a job.

First impressions are very important, and an application for employment is often an employer’s first encounter with a job applicant. An application that is filled out neatly and completely conveys the applicant’s true interest in the position. Applications that are scribbled, hard to read, or missing information create extra work for an employer who has to repeat the request for the information.

Gathering all necessary information ahead of time regarding work experience and educational accomplishments is an important step prior to filling out an application. Information pertaining to the names, dates, and addresses of employers and schools is commonly requested on job applications. Having these details available will make for a thorough and accurate application.


In addition to answering all questions clearly and succinctly, thought must be given in advance to specific types of questions. An application for employment is intended to give employers a quick view into the applicant’s history, accomplishments, and character. Questions about reasons for leaving a prior job should never be answered in ways that disparage prior employers. Salary questions should be answered in ways that leave room for negotiation.

In almost all cases, an application for employment will request the names, titles, and phone numbers of references. Some employers ask only for professional references. Others ask for the names of personal references in addition to professional contacts. The best references are those that have experience with, and an appreciation for, the skills and characteristics of the applicant. It is important to contact all references in advance to ask for permission to list their names and to notify them of the possibility that they may be contacted by the prospective employer.

An application for employment will also request a signature and date at the bottom of the form. The signature line is typically preceded by wording asking the applicant to attest to the truth of all answers given. This requirement is usually in place to protect the employer in the event that the applicant has given false answers, is not qualified for the job, and/or needs to be terminated after hiring.


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Post 3

@Mor - It's the application for employment that I always have trouble with, because I don't really have that many great qualities on paper. I don't have a degree or anything like that. But if I can manage to get into a interview, I almost always get the job, because they can tell I'm going to be a good worker and get on with everyone.

Post 2

@clintflint - Tell the truth, but not the whole truth. I mean, when they ask you things like "what's your worst quality" you don't want to say something like "I'm really lazy and hard to get along with" even if it is true. You have to say something like "Sometimes I'm too much of a stickler for detail" or "I can try too hard to please everyone".

An application for employment is just like a first date. People expect you to be at your best. If you give them your average, they'll just think your average is your best and that's not going to end up being a ringing endorsement.

Don't lie, but don't let it all hang out either.

Post 1

I remember one of my friends telling me how he managed to fail a job application by lying. He had to take a personality test and one of the questions was something like "have you ever told a lie?" and he was trying to answer the way they would want him to, so he answered "no."

Unfortunately, the answer they were looking for was "yes" because everyone has told a lie at some point in their life.

So, I would be cautious about trying to say what you think they want to hear. It's much easier to just tell the truth.

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