Completing Your First Job Application

By Shannon Phillips, Employment and Training Specialist at Cortland Works Career Center

For most job seekers, the job application is the first impression you make upon an employer. Whether the application is in person or online, there are a few general tips you need to follow.

  1. Provide complete information – Read the entire application before you start writing. Make sure you’re writing in the right place. Do not leave areas blank if you can help it. Have a list of previous jobs, the dates you worked there, the manager who supervised you, the rate you were payed, and the relevant details of the work you performed. Prepare a list of references, their relation to you, and their contact information. Fill in all the fields you can.
  2. Be honest about why you left previous jobs, but not too honest. The appropriate answers for why you left are quit, fired, lack of work (laid off or let go because they didn’t have enough for you to do), medical, or business closed. The employer does not need a detailed explanation of the personal reasons why you left. Keep it simple. If you aren’t sure what to say, come see me at Cortland Works Career Center and I can help you plan your response.
  3. Use language correctly – Capitalize your name, your address, your city and state. Even if you are typing an application, this matters! You know the rules, the hiring manager knows the rules. Not following them is lazy and it makes you look dumb. Those qualities will not help you get a job.
  4. Any time you a job seeking, whether you’re visiting business to acquire a paper application, use the in-store application system, or coming into Cortland Works, dress like you’re going to an interview. If you ask for an application looking like you just rolled out of bed, that’s likely to be mentioned to a manager. For all you know, you may end up talking to the manager. Don’t miss a chance to make a great first impression!
  5. Follow all directions provided by the job advertisement or the person you speak to on site. If they tell you to come back at a certain time, go back at that time. If they tell you to call and follow up, do it. If they tell you not to call, they’ll be in touch, let two weeks pass before you call again. Following directions is essential at any job. If you cannot follow directions during the application process, employers will doubt your ability to do so on the job.

Job seeking is a tedious process. You will fill out the same information over and over on applications. You will write and rewrite information you have on your resume. It doesn’t matter how annoying it is, and it is annoying, you have to do it if you want a job. If you need assistance completing job applications, please visit Cortland Works Career Center Monday – Friday between 8:30 and 4:30.

Author: Noyze Staff

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