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Tips for Completing Application Forms from Employers 


Some employers might require their candidates to complete a job application form instead of submitting a resume. Typically, they find it easier to review applicants’ qualifications if everyone has completed the same form. Job application forms are also used by employers to source their talent better and faster. 

As a job candidate, if you are asked to fill an application form by a recruiter, it is important to make sure that you completed the form correctly. Here are some simplified tips for filling out a job application form professionally. 


  • Take copies of your resume and list of references with you when you are applying for work. Therefore, when you have to fill out an application, you can copy names, addresses, telephone numbers, and start/finish dates instead of relying on your memory.

  • Ask for two copies of the application form and, if possible, take them home. Then you can take as much time as you need to fill out the form neatly and correctly. Use the second copy if you need to redo the application to improve it. 

  • Bring your own good quality pens in case you cannot take the form home. Using erasable pens makes correcting errors much easier and neater. 

See also: 3 Basic Ways to Learn about Work Options 

Filling the form

  • Read the instructions on application forms carefully. If a question does not apply to you, put a dash in the blank or write N/A for “not applicable”. 

  • Be honest. It is almost impossible to repair the damage if you are caught in a lie. If your response to a question might be seen as a reason not to interview you, you can write, “will explain in the interview” or counterbalance the negative aspects of your answer with more positive information. Attach a sheet of paper if you need more room. 

  • Be specific about the type of job you are applying for. Ask the person who gives you the application form about the correct position title for the type of work you want. 

  • List your most recent employer first and work back when you are completing the work experience section of the form. Include start and finish dates, names of companies, job titles and responsibilities, as well as positive contributions you made while you were working there. 

  • Write positively such as “leaving to pursue other opportunities” in a “reason for leaving past employment” section. 

  • In the education and training area, provide specific information such as dates you attended, names of schools, certifications or diplomas you have earned. If you have taken training courses or have earned special awards related to the role you are applying for, list them as well. 

  • Fill in the additional comments section if there is one. It is a place where you can expand on the unique combination of skills and interests you would bring to the work environment. 

  • Don’t put down an expected salary figure unless you are sure of the standard salary range for this type of work. State that you are “open to negotiation”. 

Follow up 

  • Deliver clean, crisp-looking form. Do not fold the application form many times or let it get dog-eared. 

  • If you can show samples of your work, bring a portfolio with you. But don’t attach copies of your marks, performance appraisals or letters of recommendation to your application form unless you are asked to do so. All of your important qualifications should be outlined in the application form. 

  • Make personal contact with the employer, if possible, when you deliver the application form. Be businesslike and ready to answer any questions the employer might have. You might also ask the range of time employers will get back to you. And don’t forget to say thank you.

Next also: Networking and Informational Interview Ethics for Job Seekers 

Next read: 5 Signs You are Writing a Bad Resume