In a tough job market, people invest a lot of time and effort to create a quality resume. But many companies also request that a candidate complete a job application and submit it along with a resume. This helps them compare applicants by reviewing "apples to apples" information. It's important to spend time perfecting a job application before you hit the "submit" button. Here are some facts to guide you through the job application process.
Spelling and grammar count on a job application as much as they do on a resume. Do not type your information directly into a job site's application. Create the document in Microsoft Word or another program that has spell check, so you can check for errors. Once you are sure the spelling and grammar are correct, you can do a simple cut and paste and place the information into the job application.
Review the job ad for keywords and then use those keywords in your application. For instance, if you see an ad on a job board for a learning center director, and the description states that the candidate will be "planning and developing programs for students and staff," make sure you use keywords like "planning programs" in the application. A job application is another chance to sell your skills, so make sure you list the qualifications that relate to the job for which you are applying.
Convey a Positive Attitude
Insert phrases that show hiring managers and recruiters you are a positive, can-do person. State things like, "I can add value to your organization" or, "based on my education and experience, I can help to solve your company's problems." Make sure your job application shows you would be an outstanding asset to an organization, because you are a motivated, positive person.
List Experience and Education Chronologically
In the spaces provided for Work Experience and Education, start with your most recent job and your most recent educational institution and move backward. Answer all questions fully with accurate dates, names, addresses and other pertinent information.
Some job applications ask you to list other skills and certifications that you have that will help you do the job. List these chronologically as well. If you have a Microsoft or A+ Certification, or if you are proficient at Adobe Creative Suite, list that information in the "Other Skills" section of the job application.
Make sure your job application includes three solid professional references, such as former professors or colleagues. Use professional email addresses as opposed to personal email addresses wherever you can.
Based in Richmond, Va., Susan Ayers is a senior learning associate for a financial organization. She previously developed web-based training for Circuit City and spent a number of years creating eLearning courses for a not-for-profit law enforcement organization. Ayers graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a master's in education from St. Joseph's College.