Employers use job applications as the first step in determining which potential new employees are a fit for a position and learning about them to decide who to interview. While every application is somewhat different, there are some basic items that you should have prepared in advance whenever you expect to fill out an application on the spot.

Contact Information

The first section of a job application will usually ask for your contact information, including your name, address, phone number and email address. If you've recently moved or changed phones, bring your information with you so you don't risk drawing a blank or writing incorrect information on the application. If you plan to move soon, list your current information. You can always update it when you fill out paperwork upon being hired.

Employment History

You'll also need to list your recent employment history on your application. If you have a résumé you can bring along a copy to submit or transfer the information onto the application. Most applications will only ask for a few recent positions, but they will also have space for the name and contact information for your supervisor. Gather this information, along with your formal job titles and a basic list of duties.

Salary Expectations

Many applications will ask for your desired salary. What you actually desire and what you can reasonably expect may be two different things. Note a salary that you think is fair based on your experience, how much you earned in your last job and how much responsibility you expect from the new position. Keep in mind that just as a low salary expectation may cause your employer to offer you too little, a high expectation may cause you to appear unrealistic. Don't write "any" or "as much as possible." Instead select a number, and if you're uncomfortable with it, ask about the starting salary and opportunities for raises or performance pay during an interview.

Position Applied For

It may seem obvious that an application will ask which position you're applying for, but if a business is going through a period of expansion or has multiple job openings, human resources staff will need to know which position to consider you for without reading further into your qualifications or personal information. A question about the position you're applying for, which may ask for "position sought," requires a short, accurate answer. Use the name of the position that you saw advertised. If you don't know the official title for the job, find a title that makes it obvious.


Applications often ask for your educational background. This is a place to list which schools you've attended and the degrees you've earned. If you're a student, the school you currently attend should take the first slot to show that you're still gaining new skills. As with your employment history, you can copy over information from your résumé to complete this part of the application.