Job Search 101: Filling Out the Application

image of an employment application
It may seem like the easiest part of the job hunt, but filling out the application isn’t really a no-brainer — particularly for those who are new to the profession or have been in their current position for so long that they can’t easily recall what is involved.

Here are seven tips you can use to get it right —

  1. Before you even think about filling out an application, experts recommend gathering all of the information you will need to fill in all the blanks — including three references you have already contacted to ask permission to use their names. Make sure you have all the contact information you’ll need for those references.
  2. If you have already prepared your resume (and you should have by now!), most of the data you’ll need for the application will likely be found on it. Use it when filling out the application. You want to be certain that the information you presented on your resume matches the information on the application to a tee.
  3. Before you enter the first data on the application, make sure you have carefully read the instructions. An application that doesn’t follow the instructions is likely to be cast aside before it’s even completely read.
  4. Think carefully about the words you use on the application, and whenever possible, target those words to the job in question. Many employers will scan applications for keywords pertaining to the specific position (think “supervised” for a managerial position, “ICU” for a critical care job, or “neonatal/pediatrics” for a position in a children’s hospital) and will only seriously consider applications containing those keywords.
  5. These days, many applications are available online. If you are downloading the application to fill out by hand, be sure to print a couple of copies, just in case you have to start over. Make sure your handwriting is impeccable as well. Finally, if you are filling it out online, double-check everything carefully before hitting the “submit” button. Misspelled words, poor grammar, and other mistakes can derail your hopes for an interview.
  6. If the employer allows it, upload a copy of your resume when submitting your application online.
  7. If you are going to mail or email your application, be sure to include your resume and a nice cover letter explaining who you are, the position you are seeking, and why you believe you will be a good fit for the job.

These simple steps can help ensure your application gets the attention it deserves.

Find more job search advice from the AARC here.

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