Developing a personal data sheet of basic information to support the job application process.

In the early stages of the employment process, most employers require a the same preliminary information from every applicant. It’s important to have this information readily available, accurate, and organized when applying for a job. A good way to ensure that you’re prepared is to develop a Personal Data Sheet that you can refer to whenever you need to fill out an application. Having this information organized in one place will help you complete job applications efficiently and meet important application deadlines. This information will also help you build your resume as you will need to include most of the same data on your resume.

While employers may ask for a different order or use different words to describe this information, they will almost certainly require data from the following seven categories:

Personal Information

The category includes your full name, current address, past addresses, current phone number(s), e-mail address, date of birth, place of birth, citizenship information, and parents’ or guardians’ names.

Education and Training

List the high school and college you attend or attended with the most recent first. Include the name, address, and phone number of the school and the years of your attendance at each. If you’ve graduated, include the year of your graduation and specify if you earned a diploma or degree. Include your G.P.A. and any honors you received at each school.

Employment History

In this section you should list the locations of previous employers starting with the most recent. For each position include the following: name of the business, address, phone number, your position and duties, your salary at hire (per hour, per month, or per year), salary at the end of employment, the dates of employment, your supervisor’s name and phone number, and the reason you left the job.

Keep in mind, employment history can tell an employer a few things about you. If you’re a recent graduate it’s understandable you may not have a long work history. If you’ve been out of school a while and don’t have a current work history, this may prompt some questions from a potential employer. If your work history has many different businesses listed, but you only spent a short period at each, a potential employer may wonder about your loyalty or the quality of your work. Because filling a position and training a new employee requires an investment of an employer’s time and effort, employers want to make sure that whoever they hire will stay in the position long enough to see a return on that investment.

In the employment history section of your personal data sheet, on any application, and during any interview, it’s important to carefully phrase your reason for leaving each job. You should never lie, but you should think about how you can phrase things so that you are seen in the best light possible. Never bad-mouth past employers, as the business world can be a small network, and information can be spread through friends and “friends of friends”. You could easily and quickly damage your reputation in your local community, making it even harder to get hired. As you’re developing your personal data sheet, try to think about your work history from the employer’s perspective and start to prepare answers for questions that may arise.

Community Service/Volunteer Work

Use this category to list any internships, community service, or volunteer work you have done. Include the name of the organization, the address, phone number, contact person (for verification of your hours), the number of hours you donated, the dates you volunteered, and the duties and skills you acquired or learned as a result of your donation of time.


Keep a detailed log of the awards you receive while you are in high school and/or college. Awards demonstrate examples of your value to an employer. Do not describe an award using abbreviations or jargon which may be unfamiliar to an employer.

Special Skills/Additional Certifications

It is essential for you to list any particular skills that may make you more valuable or qualified. If you were captain of the golf team for two years, you may want to list your leadership skills as an example. Additional examples of information you may want to include are your knowledge of foreign languages, computer programming languages, special certifications, or additional training. Keep in mind if you state you are proficient in using a software program, you are stating you are an expert and should be prepared to demonstrate your skill level to a potential employer if asked.


In this section include the name, job title, address, and preferred contact information of at least three people you’ve worked with or known well who can vouch for your work ethic and potential to be a valuable employee. Include your relationship to each of your references (supervisor, college professor, etc.) as well as the duration you have known your reference. Your references should be reputable and be able to express why you would be a good candidate for a job. It’s best for your references to be people with whom, or for whom, you have worked, volunteered, or done an internship. If you don’t have an employment history yet, teachers or professors you have worked with often can also be good references. Avoid providing family members or friends as references.

Note: Before including someone on this list, ask them if they would be willing to be an employment reference for you. If they are, ask for a written letter of recommendation (some employers will ask for such letters), preferably on business letterhead. Also ask them for their preferred method of contact and make sure that that method is what you include on your personal data sheet.

Next: Assignment: Personal Data Sheet  Previous: Creating a Personal Data Sheet

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