How do i fill out a job application professionally?

Job seekers are usually required to complete several employment applications during their career searches. However, many of these career seekers complete their application incompletely, incorrectly, or unprofessionally. Employers and human resource professionals agree that well-prepared applications are taken more seriously than poorly written submissions. There are three stages to properly completing an employment application. These stages include preparation, completion, and pre-submission.


Organize your employment information before completing the job application. Write or type the names of your former employers, supervisors, dates of employment, and your job titles. You should also gather the names and addresses of any colleges and universities you’ve attended and the complete contact information for your personal and professional references.

Gather information about any professional licenses you may hold, including license numbers and effective dates. You may also want to compile a list of completion dates for any completed professional coursework that may be relevant to the application. Organizing this information prior to completing the application will help you to complete it more quickly and with fewer mistakes.

Completing the Application

Read the instructions provided by the employer, and follow them closely. For instance, if the hiring manager requests that you avoid using abbreviations, then you should heed this request. Fill out the application completely without skipping questions. Employers often disqualify applicants who submit incomplete applications. Write legibly and use clear, concise language. Avoid industry jargon and buzzwords and choose terms that a layperson might understand.

When explaining your past duties, avoid generic job descriptions. Instead, use dollar amounts and percentages to explain past accomplishments. For example, a sales manager should not write that he or she “sold goods, provided customer service, and provided sales reports to management.” Instead, one should write that he or she “regularly expanded the number of profitable prospects, maintained a conversion rate of X percent, exceeded the prescribed sales goal by X percent, and resolved complex customer relations matters autonomously.” One should avoid statements that blur time lines, and should focus on specific dates and times. For instance, a good statement might read that applicant “increased department’s profitability by 30% within 12 months.”

Complete paper applications with black or blue ink. Never write in the margins of an application, use highlighters, or cross out fields that you don’t plan to complete. If a question does not apply to you, then write “N/A” (not applicable) in the answer field. If you must include additional notes, then do so by attaching a well-written note on letter head with your signature and contact information. This note should not be more than five to seven brief sentences.

Before Submission

Proofread your application by reading the information aloud. Doing so will help you to recognize any spelling and grammatical errors that you may have overlooked when filling in the form. Double-check the application to make sure you haven’t skipped any questions. Allow someone else to proofread the application as well. Ask them to comment on the legibility, grammar, and overall information you’ve provided. Ask if there are any unclear areas that may need to be tweaked. Be sure that the information on your application is consistent with your resume. Submit the application by following the directions given by the employer. Failure to do so could result in your disqualification.


USA Jobs: Resume and Application Tips

New Jersey Civil Commission: Tips and Techniques

QuintCareers: Guide to Successfully Completing…