List of Questions Asked on a Job Application
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Job Application Tips
List of Questions Asked on a Job Application
Tips for Effectively Answering Questions on an Application for Employment
Depending on the position, job applications take many different forms and include a wide range of questions. Employers will often use an application for part-time, entry-level, and blue collar jobs as a way to whittle down those candidates they want to interview.
For more professional jobs, an application may be required in addition to a resume and cover letter. Having every candidate complete a job application provides the employer with consistent information for each person in the applicant pool. Signing the application, either by pen or online, attests that all the information provided by the applicant is truthful . When companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS), that means an automated system is in place.
When you’re applying for a job in-person, bring a list of your employment details with you . It will be much easier to complete the application if you have the information with you, and don’t have to rely on memory. For online job applications, have a copy of your resume available so you can copy and paste information directly into the employer’s application form.
List of Questions Asked on a Job Application
Below is a list of some of the types of information which you may need to supply, though not all of this will be required for every application.
- Name, address, telephone number, email
- Desired job
- Desired salary
- Previous jobs including titles, duties, employers, locations, and dates of employment
- Salary history (including current salary and previous salaries)
- Names of previous supervisors
- Permission to contact your current employer
- Reasons for leaving prior jobs
- Educational background including majors, degrees, schools, locations, dates of attendance/graduation, GPA, honors, awards
- Extracurricular activities
- Military experience
- Volunteer work
- Specific skills related to the job
- Essay with topics such as why you’re interested in, or qualified for, the job
- How you learned about the job
- Employees you know at the company
- References (typically three references with their contact information)
- Whether you have access to an automobile for work purposes
- Driving record
- Whether you have the authorization to work in the US
- Times and days available to work
- Start and end dates you’re available for seasonal and temporary jobs
- Social Security Number (only legally required in some states, you may want to say “will furnish prior to employment offer” or “please contact me to discuss”)
- Have you been convicted of a crime and, if so, what crime and when ( only legal in some states )
- Certification that all the information you have supplied is accurate
Tips for Applying for a Job
Bring the necessary information or have it ready to input online. That includes your resume details, identification (including a social security card and driver’s license), proof of citizenship, and contact information for previous employers.
Follow instructions precisely. Read and review the entire application first before you fill it out, and then do so legibly. Consider the application as a reflection of your work ethic. Don’t leave any questions blank (write “N/A” for answers that aren’t applicable) and don’t write “see resume” instead of answering a question. For online applications, check for typos before you submit it.
Shape your answers to fit the job. Avoid writing a laundry list of your education and experience. Instead, offer details about skills and accomplishments rather than a list of duties. To substantiate your experience, draw on your school work, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work . Try to craft an application that sets you apart and details why you’re not only qualified but bring uniqueness to the role.
List references. Provide professional references , if you have them. If you don’t have a long work history, include character references in addition to (or instead of) past employers. If your work history is more robust, choose references who can attest to your skills and accomplishments relevant to the position.
Avoid specifying salary requirements. Employers often use this question to screen applications, and you don’t want to be ruled out before getting an interview. The best answer is “negotiable” or “open.”
Review Examples: Job Application Form Samples
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Get Tips for Writing a Job Application Letter and a Sample
The Top Job Application Mistakes You Should Avoid
Kiosk Job Applications Made Simple
Use This Example to Write Your Own Job Application Letter
Follow-Up Letter Sample for a Job Application
Here Is Overview of Guidelines of What Is Included in Job Postings
Tips for Matching Your Qualifications to a Job
Resume Tips for Municipal Job Seekers
Tips for Deciding Whether to Apply for a Job
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- How to write a cover letter
How to write a cover letter
Always include a cover letter when sending your CV out to employers. A good cover letter should make an employer interested enough to read your application thoroughly, and call you for an interview. Here are some tips to help you.
What’s on this page?
- What information to include in your cover letter
- Do your skills and experience match the job requirements?
- Why do you want this job?
- What your cover letter should look like
What information to include in your cover letter
Your cover letter should give an employer an idea of who you are, and explain what skills you could bring to the job.
You should also explain to an employer why you are interested in their business, and the particular role. Showing a genuine interest helps you stand out among other candidates, so it is important to tailor your cover letters so they relate specifically to each job application.
Do your skills and experience match the job requirements?
To get an employer interested, you need to explain how your skills, attributes and achievements match those needed in the job vacancy.
You can use information about your work history, including voluntary work, life experience, education and training and, if relevant, personal activities.
- Explain why you are the best person for the company and how your skills will meet the company’s needs. Link your experience, skills and qualifications to what the employer has asked for, and show that you meet the job requirements.
- Use two or three key examples to demonstrate your suitability for the job.
- Promote yourself – explain how you can contribute to the company. Focus on what you have to offer, rather than what you want.
- Research the company and show your knowledge by sharing any recommendations you have. For example: “With 10 years of retail management experience and a record of rapid advancement, I have found at least three ways to increase sales at your Wellington outlet.”
Why do you want this job?
Ways to demonstrate your interest in the job could include:
- showing how motivated and enthusiastic you are, and how you can fit into the organisation
- discussing your personal qualities and why the position interests you
- mentioning any personal interests or activities that are relevant to the company and the work it does
- commenting on something positive about the company and letting them know why you would want to work there. For example, you could refer to the company’s reputation, management philosophy, product quality, or other factors that impress you.
What your cover letter should look like
Your cover letter may be the first contact you have with a prospective employer, so it is important to make a good impression. If your cover letter makes a poor impression, your CV may not be read.
How to structure your cover letter
- Cover letters are usually no more than one page long.
- Address your letter to the relevant person, rather than starting with “Dear Sir/Madam”. If you are not sure who to address your letter to, contact the employer and ask.
- Your letter should start by stating where you heard about the job. This directly relates your application to a position they have advertised. If no specific opening has been advertised be sure to state what your job objective is.
- End by saying you look forward to an interview, and that you are willing to provide further information.
How to word your cover letter
- Be professional, warm and friendly.
- Make the letter interesting to read, but short and to the point. Do not repeat everything you say in your CV.
- Be enthusiastic and assertive but not pushy. Do not beg for a position.
- Use simple, natural language, avoiding clichés and expressions like “aforementioned”.
- Use positive words and phrases such as “I have” or “I can”.
- You can put your key points in a bulleted list, or in a comparison list-style in which you directly compare your specific experiences and accomplishments with the company’s stated needs.
- Don’t use words that weaken your message or give the impression that you lack confidence – for example, “fairly experienced” or “some knowledge”.
- Do not start every sentence or paragraph with “I”.
How to present your cover letter
- Use clean, white, A4-sized paper and keep it neat. Don’t send cover letters that are photocopied or marked.
- Use an easily read font (or tidy handwriting if you are asked to supply a handwritten letter). Examples include Calibri, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial and Times New Roman.
- Leave plenty of space around the edges of the page and clear space between each paragraph or section.
How to make sure you send out the best cover letters you can
- Write a rough draft first so you can get your thoughts in order.
- Remember that whoever reads your cover letter will consider it an example of your writing skills. Make sure there are no grammatical mistakes and that the spelling is perfect.
- Always get another person to read your letter before sending it to an employer.
- Keep copies of all letters sent – when you get an interview it is very useful to know what you have written. It also makes the next letter easier to write.
Cover letter example
- Cover Letter – Example (Word – 48KB)
- Cover Letter – Example (RTF – 48KB)
Cover letter template
- Cover Letter – Template (Word – 45KB)
- Cover Letter – Template (RTF – 45KB)
Find out more
Careers New Zealand website
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Updated 18 Jul 2018
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How to Write a Cover Letter: 31 Tips You Need to Know
The Muse Editor
Ah, the dreaded cover letter. Every time you sit down to write one, you probably browse cover letter examples online, get overwhelmed, and think something to the effect of: Does anyone really read these? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could just let my resume speak for itself?
First off: Yes, we can assure you that cover letters do, in fact, get read. In fact, to some hiring managers, they’re the most important part of your application. And yes, while it would be easier to let your resume speak for itself, if that was the case you’d completely miss the opportunity to tell prospective employers who you are, showcase why they should hire you, and stand out above all the other candidates.
Ready to get started? To make sure your cover letter is in amazing shape (and is as painless as possible to write), we’ve compiled our 31 best cover letter tips of all time into one place.
Read on—then get cover letter writing.
1. Don’t Regurgitate Your Resume
Instead of just repeating yourself (“I was in charge of reviewing invoice disputes”), use your cover letter to describe additional details that you weren’t able to squeeze onto the single page of your resume: “By resolving invoice disputes, I gained a deep analytical knowledge—but more importantly, I learned how to interact calmly and diplomatically with angry customers.” A cover letter gives you the freedom to use full sentences—instead of bullet points—so use them to expand upon your resume points and tell the story of why you’re the perfect fit for the company.
2. Think Not What the Company Can Do for You
A common cover letter mistake? Talking about how great the position would be for you and your resume. Frankly, hiring managers are aware of that—what they really want to know is what you’re going to bring to the position and company. On that note:
3. Clearly Show What You’re Capable Of
Beyond explaining what you’ve done in the past, show hiring managers what you can do in the future. “Determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things,” says Jenny Foss , job search expert and founder of JobJenny.com . “Consider crafting a section within the letter that begins with, ‘Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role.’ And then expound upon your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for that role.”
4. Showcase Your Skills
When you know you have the potential to do the job—but your past experience doesn’t totally sell you as the perfect one for the position—try focusing on your skills, instead. Here’s a template that helps you do just that.
5. …Not Necessarily Your Education
Many new grads make the mistake of over-focusing on their educational backgrounds. At the end of the day, what hiring managers care about most is your work experience (and yes, that can be volunteer or internship experience, too)—and what you can walk through the door and deliver on Day 1.
6. Don’t Apologize for Skills You Don’t Have
When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s common for job seekers to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience with marketing…” or “While I only have work experience doing administrative tasks…” But why apologize? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, try to focus on the skills you do have, says career expert Lily Zhang . “Stay positive, focus on your strengths, and immediately launch into your transferable skills and infectious enthusiasm for the position.”
7. Highlight the Right Experiences
Not sure what skills and experiences you should be featuring? Drop the text of the job description into a word cloud tool like Wordle , and see what stands out. That’s what the hiring manager is looking for most.
8. Tell a Story
What brings you to this company? Did you used to sing along to all of its commercials as a kid? Did the product make some incredible difference in your life? Do you sometimes pull into the parking lot and daydream about what it would feel like to work there? Stories bring your background and experiences to life, so feel free to tell them. (Just, you know, keep them short and to the point.)
9. Use a Few Numbers
When it comes to the job search, numbers often speak louder than words. “Offer stats to illustrate your impact on companies or associations you’ve worked for in the past,” suggests career expert and founder of ProfessionGal Megan Broussard . “Employers love to see numbers—it shows them that you speak their language and that you understand what they’re looking for in an employee: results.”
10. Consider Testimonials
If you have great feedback from old co-workers, bosses, or clients, don’t be afraid to use it! A seamless way to integrate a positive quote from a previous manager or client is to use it as evidence of your passion for your area of expertise. For example, “I have developed a keen interest in data science during my years working various political campaigns (as my past supervisor once said, I love Excel more than anyone she knows).”
11. Cut the Formality
“Don’t be overly formal (‘I wish to convey my interest in filling the open position at your fine establishment’),” writes career expert Mark Slack . “It makes you seem insincere and even robotic, not anything like the friendly, approachable, and awesome-to-work-with person you are.
12. Think Custom, Not Canned
Most companies want to see that you’re truly excited about the position and company, which means creating a custom letter for each position you apply for. “When a recruiter reads, ‘Dear Hiring Manager, I am so excited to apply for the open position at your company, where I hope to utilize my skills to progress in my career,’ he or she immediately recognizes it for what it is—a stock cover letter that you’ve mass-distributed to every place in town,” says Muse career expert Katie Douthwaite . And then probably throws it in the trash.
13. Start With a Template
That said, there’s nothing that says you can’t get a little help. Our easy, downloadable cover letter guide will walk you through, step-by-step, how to create a cover letter that rocks.
14. …Or Some Inspiration
Having trouble getting started? Check out 31 examples of how to start your cover letter in an engaging, attention-grabbing way or these eight examples of awesome cover letters that actually worked.
15. Be Open to Other Formats
If you’re applying to a more traditional company, then the tried-and-true three-to-five-paragraph format probably makes sense. However, if you’re gunning for a more creative or startup job—or need to explain to the hiring manager, say, how your career has taken you from teaching to business development, a different approach could be appropriate. Here at The Muse, we’ve seen cover letters use bullet points, tell stories, or showcase videos to (successfully) get their point across. This professional even turned hers into a BuzzFeed-style list!
16. But Don’t Go Too Far
Just—don’t. Keep it professional.
17. Consider Adding a Headline
One formatting idea from The Undercover Recruiter ? Add an eye-catching headline to your letter, like “3 Reasons I’m an Excellent Fit for the Marketing Manager Position.” Again, no one says you have to follow the tried-and-true format, and this can be an easy way to catch the hiring manager’s eye quickly.
18. Be Real
“Honest, genuine writing always goes much, much further than sticking to every dumb rule you’ve ever read in stale, outdated career guides and college textbooks,” explains Foss .
19. …And Normal
We can’t tell you how many cover letters we’ve seen from people who are “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” Downplay the adverbs a bit, and just write like a normal person.
20. Cut the Fluff
Avoid, at all costs, describing yourself as a “team player” or a “people person,” says Broussard . “Instead, show off your skills with descriptive statements like ‘I’m an expert communicator with experience bringing together diverse departments to develop a cohesive program.’ It’s longer—but it’s also stronger.”
21. Write in the Company’s “Voice”
Cover letters are a great way to show that you understand the environment and culture of the company and industry and prove that you’ve got what they are looking for. So, always keep in mind who will be reading your cover letter, and tailor it to what you know will get them excited. Spending five or 10 minutes reading over the company website before you get started can be a great way to get in the right mindset—you’ll get a sense for the company’s tone, language, and culture, which are all things you’ll want to mirror as you’re writing.
22. Boost Your Confidence Before Writing
Writing guru Alexandra Franzen offers a simple mind trick that will dramatically change the way you write cover letters: Pretend. “Pretend that the person you’re writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you’re writing to already believes that you’re worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you’re writing to doesn’t need a big sales pitch,” she explains. Then, write. Your words will come out so much easier. (Here’s more on how to do it .)
23. Have Some Fun With It
News flash: Cover letter writing doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, there are plenty of ways to spice it up! Hoping for a job at a startup? Making your cover letter more creative—whether you use a spunkier tone, play with the format, or make it more visual—will likely improve your chances of getting a call back. Applying for a corporate position? Stick with the traditional format, but make it more conversational, or include a story about how you first came in contact with the company or how much you love it. Much more fun, right? (Here are a few other ways to make cover letter writing suck less .)
24. Don’t Let Your Fear of Bragging Get in the Way
If you tend to have a hard time writing about yourself, here’s a quick trick: Imagine you’re someone else writing a letter about yourself. Think from the perspective of a friend, mentor, or previous employer—someone who would only sing your praises—and then write the letter from her point of view. If it helps, you can even write the letter in third person (i.e. “Erin would be a great fit for this position because…”). Just make sure you’re very careful about going back through and changing it to first person when you’re done!
25. Have Someone Gut Check It
Have a friend take a look at your cover letter, and ask him or her two questions: Does this sell me as the best person for the job? and Does it get you excited? If the answer to either is “no,” or even slight hesitation, go back for another pass.
26. Keep it Short and Sweet
There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, for resumes and cover letters alike, don’t go over a page. “According to the Orange County Resume Survey, almost 70% of employers either want a half page cover letter (250 words) or ‘the shorter the better,’ approach,” writes Slack .
27. Don’t Start With Your Name
Because, well, the hiring manager can see it already on your resume. Get right to the point with what you can bring to the job.
28. But Do Include the Hiring Manager’s Name
Use the person’s first and last name, including a “Mr.” or “Ms.” (e.g., Mr. Jack Smith). Never use “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear or Sir or Madam”—nothing could be more generic (not to mention archaic). For more on addressing it correctly, read these cover letter rules .
29. Unless You Don’t Know It
OK, sometimes, even after hours of online searching ( try these tips ), you still might not be able to definitively figure out who exactly the hiring manager for the position you’re applying for is. If you can only find a list of executives and you’re not completely confident who the hiring manager is, use the head of the department for the position you’re applying for. If you really don’t have a name to use, try to still be as specific as possible in your greeting. Consider using “Senior Analyst Hiring Manager” or “Research Manager Search Committee”—something that shows that you’ve written this letter with a particular audience in mind.
We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check, but here’s an even better step: Check out how the wording sounds to others using Hemingway . Drop your text onto the page, and the color-coded app will give your writing a once-over. Is a sentence too wordy, overly complex, or totally unreadable? It’ll be highlighted in red until you revise it. Tend to overuse the passive voice? Every instance of it will show up in green. The site will even recommend when you can use shorter or simpler words (Why take up precious resume space with “utilize” when you can say “use?”).
31. But Care Most About Standing Out
Perhaps the best piece of cover letter wisdom we can offer you comes from Foss : The most memorable cover letters are written by people who care less about the rules and more about standing out to the hiring manager. “Next time you sit down to write a cover letter, vow to not get uptight about all the tiny little ‘rules’ you’ve picked up along the way,” she writes. “Instead, buck convention. Be memorable. Nail the stuff that will make you a true standout.”
Candidate Experience: Application Under Review
Resumes & Cover Letters
man checking his phone courtesy xavierarnau/Getty Images.
The Muse is your ultimate career destination that offers exciting job opportunities , expert advice , a peek behind the scenes into fantastic companies , and access to amazing career coaches and career-boosting courses . Learn more , contact us , and find us on Facebook , Twitter , and LinkedIn .
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