How to Complete a Job Application Form

Photo Courtesy: damircudic/iStock

When you’re in the market for a new job, there’s a lot to think about. There’s excitement over the prospect of embarking on a new life path, of course, but you’ll also need to prepare a few things before you’re even called in for an interview. Aside from submitting a resume and cover letter, you’ll also likely need to fill out a job application so your prospective employer can assess your experience and decide if they want to interview you.

If you’re applying to several jobs at the same time, filling out applications can start to feel a little tedious. But your application actually presents a key opportunity to help you stand out to a prospective employer — and it can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get an interview. Check out some of the basics of completing a job application form to learn what to expect during the application process.

What Is the Purpose of an Application for Employment?

The point of a job application is to help an employer find the right candidates to interview for an open job position at a business. It includes basic information about you, including your name and other personal information. An application also normally asks you to list details about your education, previous jobs you’ve held and skills you have that are relevant to the open job. You might also need to provide contact information for people who can serve as references in verifying you were employed at previous workplaces or that you’ve demonstrated the skills you’re claiming to possess.

Job applications differ from employer to employer, but they typically ask for most of these details. All of this information about your qualifications helps an employer determine whether you’re a good candidate for the job and should move to the next stage of the hiring process.

Are Employment Applications Required by Law?

While employment applications aren’t required by law, it’s always a good idea to submit one if an employer requests one. You might be tempted to send over just your resume and a cover letter, but it’s important to follow the employer’s instructions. If they ask for you to fill out an application, you make a better impression on them submitting one versus refusing to fill one out.


While applications aren’t required by law, there are certain types of questions you’re not obligated to answer. If an employer asks questions about things like your race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability status, age or marital status, you do not need to answer them. These are protected classes, and employers shouldn’t factor in information about them when deciding whether to hire you.

How to Successfully Complete a Job Application Form

Filling out a job application probably isn’t the most exciting part of the hiring process. But there are a few tips that will make the task easier and help you end up with a document that represents you, your skills and your experience well.


Make sure you have all the relevant information on hand before you fill out the application. This includes details about your employment history, including the dates you worked in previous positions and the responsibilities you held in each job. Verify your references’ contact details ahead of time, too.

Follow instructions closely when you’re filling out and submitting your application. If you neglect to do so, an employer might determine you’re not a good candidate because you didn’t follow directions. Some online systems also automatically reject applications without certain details — keep this in mind if you’re filling out an online application.