When you complete a job application, regardless of whether it is a paper application or an online job application, there is information you will need to provide to apply for the job and be considered for the position.
In addition to providing personal information, work history, education, qualifications, and skills, you will also be asked to attest to the fact that all the information you are giving is accurate.
Not telling the truth, fudging employment dates, leaving out information, and other inaccuracies on your application or resume can be grounds for not being hired or for being terminated in the future if the company finds out you misrepresented your background or lied.
Information Required to Complete a Job Application
The following is the information most employers require applicants to provide. It will be easier to quickly submit applications if you collect all the information you need in advance. Keep it on hand so you can quickly get your application in for jobs that are of interest.
- Address, city, state, ZIP code
- Phone number
- Email address
- Social Security number
- Are you eligible to work in the United States?
- If you are under age 18, do you have an employment certificate?
- Have you been convicted of a felony within the last five years? (Information about convictions varies based on state law.)
Education and Experience
- School(s) attended, degrees, graduation date
- Skills and qualifications
Employment History (Both Current and Prior Positions)
- Address, phone, email
- Job title and responsibilities
- Starting and ending dates of employment
- Reason for leaving
- Permission to contact your previous employer
Resume and Cover Letter
A resume is the summary of your job experience relevant to the field of work you wish to enter. It also highlights the achievements and skills that exhibit your qualifications for the job.
- How to create a resume: Starting from scratch? This guide will help you present your work experience, education, and skills to impress the hiring manager.
- Resume examples: Want to see how other candidates in your field have arranged their resumes? These examples will give you an idea of what works.
Don't have all the information you need? If you can't remember where you worked, or when you worked there, you can piece together your timeline by checking with the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, your state unemployment office, and prior employers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding your employment history.
Don’t give in to the temptation to guess about precise dates of employment and other details. If the employer runs a background check—and many do —any discrepancies can make you look dishonest, even if your intention wasn’t to mislead.
A cover letter is a document that provides information about yourself and your interest in applying for the job. The most effective cover letters detail skills and experience that are relevant to the potential job.
- What to include in a cover letter: A good cover letter is a complement to a resume, not a restatement of your experience. It’s also a sales pitch—crafted the right way, your cover letter will persuade the hiring manager to bring you in for an interview.
- Sample cover letters: If you’re staring at a blank page, unsure of how to begin your cover letter, these templates will help you get started.
Strong personal and professional references can help you beat out the competition and clinch a job offer. You don’t necessarily need to include references as part of your resume, but you should have several—usually at least three—prepared and ready to go when you apply. Each reference should include:
- Job title
- Address, phone, email
Preparing a list of references is essential before applying for a job. References will be able to attest to the skills and qualifications listed on your resume. Professional references include bosses, colleagues, customers, and co-workers. Personal references include friends, family, neighbors, and other people you know outside of work.
Here's information on how and who to ask for an employment reference.
Include when you could start the job and the days/hours you are available if it's a job with a flexible schedule.
- Days available
- Hours available
- Date you are available to start work
At the end of a job application there is usually a certification that you must sign and date:
I authorize the verification of the information listed above. I certify that the information contained in this employment application is accurate. I understand that false information may be grounds for not offering employment or for termination of employment at any point in the future.
By signing the certification, you are attesting to the truth of the information you have included on the job application. If the application is online, you will click a box to acknowledge that you are submitting complete and accurate information. That checked box will count as your signature.
Depending on the company, you may also need to submit a writing sample or other information with your application
Depending on the job you are applying for, you may be required to submit a writing sample with your job application. Writing-intensive jobs like those in media, public relations, research, and consulting often require writing samples from applicants. It’s important to match the sample to the job. For example, if you’re applying to manage a blog, a blog post would be an appropriate writing sample.
Sample Job Applications and Letters
Review sample job applications to give yourself an idea of what you are going to be asked. Print one or two out and complete them, so you know you have all the information ready to complete actual employment applications.
Need to mail a job application or follow-up on an application you have already submitted? Review the sample job application letters for examples of what to write and how to follow up.