Important Sections To Fill Out On Your First Job Application
Last updated August 17, 2023
Filling out your first job application can be complicated. Some fields on the application - like your name and address - are pretty straightforward, but reading some of the legal requirements in the job application can be intimidating. In addition, most online applications don't let you save your progress, and many have time limits. Make sure you set aside at least 30 minutes, have your resume ready, and are prepared to complete the whole application in one session.
Some of the sections of a job application can be confusing, so here's how to navigate them:
Uploading a resume and the experience section
Before you upload and hit submit, make sure your resume contains keywords from the job description. Save your resume in a PDF format to keep your text and style formats intact. This uploaded file may also be used to populate fields in the experience section of the job application. If this is the case, make sure your experience is populated correctly, look out for spacing errors or misspelled words. If you need help starting a resume, be sure to use one of our free templates. To learn more about how to tailor your resume based on the job you’re applying for, check out our list of keywords and how they help you get a job. You can also send us your resume and we’ll review it for you within a week!
Submit a cover letter
The job application may allow you to upload a cover letter, as well. This may be optional, but submitting one will help you stand out! Your cover letter should be no longer than a page and it provides an introduction to the employer in your own voice. This is also your chance to show why you’re interested in the job. Need help, we’ve got you covered!
Choosing work availability
This is where you can set the times you can work. Read this part carefully because there can be many options. Keep an eye on the start and end times (A.M. versus P.M.) and include all possible times that you can work.
Answering the diversity survey
This short survey is required by the federal government and choosing to provide your ethnicity, race, and/or gender is optional. Your answers here will not be connected to your application. The employer can see overall responses from everyone applying, but cannot see responses connected to you directly.
Share your LinkedIn profile
Many job application portals will have a place for you to put a unique URL to your website or LinkedIn profile. Just like the cover letter, this may be optional, but it is highly recommended because it can show that you’re serious about your professional path.
Consenting to a background check
Companies can run different background checks and you will be asked to electronically sign an agreement of consent. The company you're applying to may ask consent to do the following:
- Employment Tax Survey or Work Opportunity Tax Credit – This is optional and helps employers identify candidates that - if hired - may give the employer a tax incentive (like veterans)
- Consumer Report – For many employers, this is a requirement for job applicants. This may also be called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and asks the job applicant (you) to consent to a background evaluation after a conditional job offer and/or during your employment (if hired)
It's important to be completely honest when consenting to a background check. Employers will see the results of your background check after it's complete, so honesty is the best policy.
Signing the job application
When you finish filling out the different fields and sections, you will be asked to confirm all the information you've provided is true and correct. Do not take this lightly! An employer can terminate (fire) you whenever misinformation is discovered. (Yes, even if you've completed orientation or have been working for months/years.)
Check your email (and spam folder)
After you've submitted your application, check your email to see if you've received confirmation that your application was received or to see if you were sent an assessment to complete. Depending on the position you've applied for, there may be an online assessment to fill out in order for your application to be processed.
Once you’ve confirmed that your application has been received, be sure to follow up with the hiring manager if you have their contact information. Sending an email or calling the employer to thank them for the opportunity and ask if there is a timeline for hearing back on the next steps shows that you’re motivated and confident!
Any questions? Click here to text one of our career advisors!