The way your job application is filled out and then presented to the potential employer is the key point to whether or not you’ll get an interview. I’ve seen many applications get tossed in the garbage for simple, avoidable mistakes or errors the potential applicant made when turning in their job applications or resumes. To avoid having your job application shredded before it’s even looked at all the way through, here are some key tips to turn in the best application available so you get noticed and one step closer to being hired.
First of all, fill out the application all the way. I’ve seen many apps that are missing contact phone numbers, last names, or the contact information is filled out but there is no job history on the application at all. No n/a, no “I’m currently a student”, no “I’ve been a homemaker for 10 years”, nothing. If you have no job history, say so. Your potential employer does not want to see a blank page; rather, they’d like to see what you’ve been doing for the past forever. If you’re in High School, say so. In college, do the same. Never had a job before? State that, then go on to say what you are great at doing, such as forming a homework group for your kids, or that you volunteer at the animal shelter locally. Just because you have never had a paying job, or haven’t recently, does not mean you have no experience. A blank application is a tossed one.
Fill out the application in blue or black ink only, no red or pink or orange pen (it happens), and worst of all, pencil. Pencil fades and is hard to read. Also, don’t write in cursive, and don’t write swiftly so your app cannot be read. If your name is not legible when you turn your app in, guess what? It won’t be reviewed.
Also, use correct grammar when filling out a job application as well. If you can’t spell a word, get out your dictionary, and use the right word for describing what your job duties were at previous establishments. I saw a job application that recently stated they were a “shelf stalker” at a local grocery store. That app got a giggle, but no acknowledgment other than that. Use correct spelling and grammar to show your potential.
Trump up your job experience. If you were a waitress, say “waitstaff”, a shelf “stalker” (ha ha, I couldn’t help myself), say “Stocking Associate”, use the terms that your employer would say you were when you were working at your previous job. State all duties you performed so even small accomplishments show your experience to the fullest. So you were a cashier at Carl’s Jr. This means you have experience with large crowds, managing many customer needs at once, have experience with cash and til handling, know how to add and type, have multi-tasking abilities, work in a fast-paced environment, and know how to de-escalate customer complaints. Sounds a lot better than stating that you know how to run a cash register. Be detailed.
When you turn your application in, dress up in interview mode and wait your turn until the receiver of your application has a moment to talk to you. Don’t just plop your app on the counter and say “I just wanted to turn this in.” Wait until the area is clear of customers and the person available to take your application appears to be not busy. Then approach in a friendly manner and state that you’d like to turn this application in for such-and-such position, and ask if that position is available and is there a manager or supervisor you can talk to? Guess what? If the company you’re applying to is actively hiring, the person you hand it into will be more than happy to assist a person who looks eager and willing to work there. Dressing up also makes you look serious about your application and on the good chance you get an impromptu interview with the person hiring, you will make a great impression. I’ve seen people get hired on the spot for this go-to incentive. It works, and it’s impressive.
If you’ve filled out your application and you haven’t heard anything back yet, call or go into the establishment to check up on it. Very often, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Above all, don’t lie on your application. If you can’t work Sundays or are in school, say so on your application so you don’t waste your own time or anybody else’s in the interview. Be honest about the hours you can work, your experience, and your ability to learn, and make a great impression on getting the job you want.
If you have a resume to attach to your application, do so by stapling or paper clipping the resume to the back of the application. This way, they don’t become separated, and the application can be seen first, followed by your detailed resume for added impression.
Happy job hunting!