teen filling out job application

Get ready to make a good impression

Whether you’re completing a job application online or on paper, it pays to be prepared. Make sure to pull together all the information you need before you start completing the application. If you’re filling out the application in person, bring along all the information you may need. Here’s a checklist to help you prepare.

Application checklist

  • Submit the application online on your own time or ask to take the paper application home so you aren’t rushed and can make your application look as good as possible.
    • Ask the employer for two paper applications and use one as practice before completing the application you give to the employer.
  • If you're submitting a resume with the application, make sure that work experience, education and other information on your resume matches the information you enter on the application.
  • Use black or blue ink if completing a paper application.
  • Spell all words correctly.
  • Avoid abbreviations.
  • Use correction fluid or tape sparingly to fix any errors neatly on a paper application.
  • Note current contact information for yourself; this usually means a phone number and an email address.
    • Use a professional-sounding email address (YourName@email.com, for example) not a current employer’s email address or one that uses your nickname
    • Make sure your voicemail is professional and appropriate-sounding—be sure to check your voicemail regularly after submitting the application.
  • Answer all application questions completely and accurately. Complete all information fields on the application; if a field doesn’t apply to you, write in N/A—don’t just leave it blank.
  • Outline your work history with position title, dates of service and correct name and contact information for previous employer(s).
  • Answer “reason you left previous position” accurately and appropriately; you need to be truthful, but you shouldn’t go into detail or make negative comments about your former employer.
  • Emphasize technical skills developed at previous work experiences that match up with the required skills of the position you’re applying for.
  • Stress soft skills like punctuality, having a positive attitude and communicating well with fellow employees and customers.
  • Use references from teachers or other school leaders, former employers or other professional references, not family members or friends.
  • Inform references that you are applying for positions and that they may receive a reference call.
  • Proofread your application thoroughly before you submit it.
  • Sign and date a paper application before handing it in OR make sure you receive confirmation that an electronic application was successfully submitted.