What Is a Job Application Form? (With an Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 31, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated October 31, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When searching for a job, employers use various documents to find out more information about you and your qualifications. A job application form offers the opportunity to catch the hiring manager's attention and help them see why you're a good candidate for the role. By learning about job application forms, you can prepare your responses and position yourself as a more attractive candidate. In this article, we discuss what a job application form is, explain what you can expect to fill in on this form and review tips to make your job application effective and unique.

What is a job application form?

An application form for a job is a document employers use to gather information about you before making a hiring decision. Typically, you receive the same application form as other candidates. Job application forms generally include a wide range of questions about your personality, experience and job-related skills. While candidates typically use these documents to introduce themselves and show key competencies, employers review applicant forms to screen candidates for the next hiring phase.

Related: How to Fill Out an Application Form (With Tips for Success)

Types of job application forms

Depending on the employer's preference and job type, you may need to supplement your resume and cover letter with the following:

Online application

Employers may provide an application form on their website that candidates can fill out online. Many large organizations also have large databases built to contain various forms and applicant information. Alternatively, some job posting websites provide online application processes for employers.

Email application

Some employers may prefer email applications for open positions. Through an email thread—a list of email messages starting with the original email and all the successive messages—candidates respond to questions and attach a filled-out application form for the job along with their resume. Email application processes are common when applying for remote or freelance positions.

Read more: How to Write a Job Application Email (With Templates and Tips)

Paper application

While many organizations now prefer digital applications, some use paper applications as part of their hiring process. You typically print paper application forms or receive them from employers. Paper applications require you to apply in person and meet other employees or prospective employers. Paper applications are more commonly seen in small or bricks-and-motor businesses.

Related: How to Follow Up on a Job Application (With Email Template and Examples)

When to fill out a job application form

Consider filling out application forms after researching the organization and finding out more about its mission and work culture. Doing this helps you save time and effort by ensuring the position aligns with your career goals and the job genuinely interests you. Employers may make application forms available even if they are not looking to fill a position immediately.

For example, some organizations may keep application forms on their website to evaluate general interest in a role. Check to see whether the organization actively seeks to fill a position before completing the job application form. Alternatively, you can complete an application form to ask about working for a particular company in any capacity when a role becomes available.

Read more: What to Include in a Letter of Interest With Tips and Examples

What does a job application form typically include?

Job application forms typically include various sections for information, such as:

Contact information

Typically, the first section of a job application form is for you to enter your full name and address. Spaces to include other contact details, such as your city, province or territory, postal code and phone number may also be available. Ensure you enter your correct and current contact information, and research any information you're unsure of on the form.

Employment history and educational qualifications

Job application forms often include a section about your work history and educational background. In this section, you typically have spaces to cite previous places of employment, schools and positions held. You may also have a space to briefly describe your work history. For example, a job application form may require you to explain your duties related to being a team player in a previous position. Ensure you stick to the word count when asked for a description and use simple words.

Availability

The next section typically outlines when you're available to start working with an organization. Employers may use different formats for this section, but you often need to include your start date and start time for each day of the week. When filling this space, think of the earliest time you are available while accounting for previous commitments, such as leaving a position.

Read more: Show Hiring Managers That You're Ready to Work

References

Prepare a list of references to include in the final section of your job application form. While employers ask for varying numbers of references to confirm your qualifications, consider having at least three to five individuals ready. Also, ensure you give your references a heads-up before including their names and contact information in the application form.

Read more: Key Steps to Asking for a Reference

Competency-based questions and additional information

Competency-based questions are a common part of application forms. These questions help hiring managers gain more insights into how you handle work-related situations. Common examples of questions to expect include:

  • Briefly describe a time when you worked as part of a team.

  • Briefly describe a time you explained a technical concept to a non-technical audience.

Many applicant forms for jobs have a disclaimer or an overview of the organization's terms and conditions at the end of the page. You may need to confirm that you read the terms and agree to them. The organization may also require you to provide a physical or electronic signature to show that you filled the form correctly.

Tips to make your job application form stand out

Here are useful tips for leaving a good impression on hiring managers with your application form:

Review the job description

Make sure you read the job description to understand what skills, experience and other qualifications employers look for in a promising candidate. For example, reviewing a software engineering job description can help you identify useful software applications in the organization. Align your responses to the information in the job description and refer to the details you found as you fill out the form.

Read the instructions carefully

Before you start filling out a job application form, review the instructions. Doing this can help you identify information that can help your application. For example, employers may include instructions on including your signature, the documents you need to attach to the form or the deadline.

Ensure your responses accurately reflect your personality and qualifications

Try to provide sincere responses to each section on the job application form. Expressing your professional opinions and preferences can be a good approach to getting a hiring manager's attention. Also, make sure you show enthusiasm when filling out descriptive aspects of the form and explain why you want the job.

Review your application

Read every section of your application form to catch grammar and spelling errors. If you're not filling the form in person, you can ask a friend, family member, career coach or mentor to review it for you. Having someone else look at the information you included can help you identify what you missed.

Related: Why Quality Over Quantity Matters in Your Job Applications

Sample of a job application form

Here's an example of how to fill out the sections of a job application form:

Candidate's name and contact details

Please enter all information accurately

First name: Rachel

Last name: Baker

Middle initial: U.

Home address: 345 Orangeview Avenue

City: Calgary

Province/territory: Alberta

Postal code: A0A 1B1

Phone: 250-341-6643

Employment history

Start with the most recent position

Position/Job Title: Research associate
Company: Redview Science University
Supervisor/Manager: Dr. Victor Ekong
Manager phone: 253-958-5689

Position/Job Title: Research associate assistant
Company: Redview Science University
Supervisor/Manager: Dr. Chad Yung
Manager phone: 250-456-9768

Academic qualifications

Start with the most recent

School name: University of Redview
Degree: Master of Engineering Management
Starting year: 2019
Completion year: 2020

School name: University of Redview
Degree: Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering
Starting year: 2014
Completion year: 2018

Availability

Please list your available work hours

Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: Not available

References

Please list at least three references with the respective contact information

Reference 1

Name: Jason Chan
Phone: 333-343-4343

Reference 2

Name: Sarah Peter-Brickson
Phone: 222-445-4545

Reference 3

Name: Georgia Bergeron
Phone: 111-454-5454

Additional information
Briefly explain why you want this job.

This organization's mission of helping injured patients regain their ability to perform daily functions inspires me. I believe my research in the field would be valuable here. I'm eager to apply my research skills and experience to help people and this organization achieve its goals.

By keeping these tips in mind and tailoring your answers on the job application form to the work description and the company, you increase your chances of being asked to interview.

Please note that none of the companies, organizations or institutions mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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