Most employers will require you to complete an employment application, even if you have submitted a résumé. Take your application as seriously as your résumé.
Prepare your responses before you are given the application. Applications request the same basic information. Gather the information in advance and have it typed on one page. Once at the employer's office, you can copy the information rather than scramble and panic.
List the names, employers, titles, addresses, phone numbers, personal references, professional references and your former supervisors.
Review your salary history. List your prior positions along with the starting and ending salary for each. Make note of additional compensation such as bonuses or stock options for each position. List the names and locations of schools you have attended and subjects studied. Also prepare notes of any military service.
Employers will ask you to list duties and responsibilities for each of your positions. Rather than trying to remember and jotting down what first comes to mind, prepare four to five powerful phrases for each position. Use your resume as a resource.
Don't forget to include volunteer positions, and school jobs such as editing the newspaper and fundraising.
Be honest. Employers can verify the information on the application before or after they hire. Lying can result in disqualification or termination.
Completing the Application
Print clearly and neatly. Use capital and lowercase letters appropriately. Proper grammar and punctuation is important also.
Follow the instructions. Fill out every field that is required. Be careful not to write in areas marked, "Office Use Only." Ask for clarification if a question does not make sense.
Review the application carefully before turning it in. Proofread it twice - once from top to bottom and once from bottom to top.
Don't forget to sign and date the application in the appropriate place.
If you are completing an application just prior to an interview, arrive 15-20 minutes early so you can take your time to neatly fill in the form. Even if you have already mailed a résumé to this employer, attach your résumé to the application.
If you picked up an application and are submitting it in order to be considered for an interview, return the completed application quickly, within 24 hours if possible. Write a brief cover letter with your application, and attach a résumé. Place all three documents in a 9x12" envelope. Make sure you add enough postage. Whenever possible, deliver your application in person.