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You’ve decided you want to get a job. Now what do you need to do to land that job? First of all, you will need to complete a job application. The job application process is the first important step at finding the job that matches your interests and skill levels.
First impressions are extremely important. That is why it is important that you dress appropriately when you pick up the application and when you return the application.
When asking for an application, make sure to be polite and courteous. Ask to speak to the manager and confidently introduce yourself to the manager by saying your first and last name. Inform the manager of the position that you are applying for and don’t forget to thank him or her for the application after you receive your application.
Some companies will ask you to complete the job application on site; others will allow you to bring the application home with you. In some cases, companies will want to interview you right away. Be prepared for an on-the-spot interview.
Job Application Basics
Employers rely on a job application to learn more information about you. Each application is different, but the type of information needed to complete the application is fairly standard.
At the minimum, you will need to provide potential employers with the following information:
- Personal History: Who you are, where you live, your contact information, etc.
- Education: Schools, training, certifications, licenses, and dates.
- Work Experience: Paid and volunteer with start and end dates of employment. You will need to provide names and addresses of previous employers. Don’t forget that babysitting, mowing the lawn, and other chores for neighbors are valid work experience. They help show that you’re responsible and willing to work so don’t forget to put those jobs down, as well.
- References: At least three people who know you and your work skills. References cannot be your mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, or other relatives.
Make sure to ask permission from your references prior to listing them on a job application. You will need to provide their pertinent information, such as their full name and address, telephone number, position, relationship to you, and how long you have known the person.
Teachers, neighbors, clergy (pastors, priests, rabbis, etc.) and anyone you’ve volunteered or worked for are good people to use for references.
- Resume: (if you have one, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. Most teenagers don’t.)
Job Application Pointers
When filling out a job application, be sure to take your time. Double check your spelling and grammar. It is helpful to keep a master application to assist you in completing other applications. Below are some additional steps to consider when beginning the job application process.
- Ask for Two Applications: Always ask for two applications. That way you can use one application as a rough draft and the second copy will serve as your final job application that you will turn in.
- Keep your Application Neat: Bring along a folder when you pick up your job applications. This will keep your job application neat and easy to read. You want to avoid folding or crumpling your application because that will only make your job application stand out for all the wrong reasons.
- Dress for Success: When you arrive at the job site, remember to dress for success. Wear clothes that will make a positive first impression. Jeans and a t-shirt are fine for meeting your friends, but wear a nice pair of khakis and a shirt (without any writing on it) that is tucked in when you meet with the interviewer.
- Communication is Key: Be polite and courteous when you meet with the person who is in charge of hiring. First impressions are very important, so make your first impression a positive one. Saying please and thank you will go a long way to helping you make that positive connection.
- Follow-up: Always follow up on all contacts that you make when applying for jobs. A good rule of thumb is to allow seven-14 days for a follow-up contact, unless the employer requested you to contact him/her sooner.
- Stay Motivated and Positive: Job hunting is not easy and requires persistence. Even if you don’t get the job, every application that you complete and every interview you attend gives you valuable experience and confidence to keep going.
Quick Tips for the Application Itself
- Read over the entire application.
- Read the instructions carefully.
- Take your time to accurately complete the entire application.
- Complete the application by printing your information and use ink (just use one color; preferably black ink).
- Fill in all the blanks and never leave an item blank. If it does not apply to you, enter “N/A” or write “non-applicable” in the blank.
- Spell everything correctly.
- When you put a start date, make sure you are available to start on that date. If you are currently employed, you should provide at least a two-week notice that you’re quitting to your current employer.
- Double check your application and have someone review your application prior to handing it in.
- Sign and date the application. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? You would be surprised by how many people forget to sign their job applications.
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Job Center of Wisconsin
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