Filling out a job application form.

When filling a position, employers use standard application forms to gather basic information about the candidates for every job. Applications may ask for much of the information you’ve included on your resume, but both are usually required in the hiring process. Most of the information you will need to fill out on an application can be found on your Personal Data Sheet and in your resume.

Seek Information

You will first want to find out how the employer usually handles—or prefers to handle—applications. Are the applications available online, by mail, or will you need to go into the office to pick one up? Do they accept applications only on certain days of the week or month or during certain hours? Do they prefer that candidates fill out the application at the office? Is it possible (or required) to complete and submit the application online?

When/If You Visit

When going to a potential employer’s office to pick up or drop off an application, have a plan to deal with situations such as:

  1. needing assistance traveling to, and orienting within, the location
  2. needing assistance filling out a printed application
  3. reading any documents you may be required to review or sign

When you visit, your goal is to be as independent as possible and to make it evident to the business or employer that you are capable of handling any tasks while you are there. It can be tough to negotiate new locations with confidence; it may take some practice. If you need assistance, advise your helper to allow you to address any issues or questions that arise.

Be prepared to explain why you are using assistance. It’s important to be direct, but polite. If using portable assistive technology will let you accomplish tasks independently, use it. Technology can be an interest grabber and create an opportunity to educate. People are often curious about and impressed by the effective use of technology, and some may feel that your use of technology demonstrates that you are competent and will be able to accomplish job duties.

Practice First

Ideally you will be able to get a copy of the application form before you need to submit it so you can practice filling it out. Everyone makes mistakes when filling out applications due to small print, strange formats, and unfamiliar phrasing used by each business. Make a copy of the application and practice filling it out prior to filling out the version you intend to turn in. When you are filling in your final application, be calm, take your time, and be prepared. If you are filling out a paper application, you will need to print legibly or have someone print legibly for you.

Keep a Record

Create a record system or journal to list your application submissions. Keep track of whom you contact on what date; when you picked up applications; when you turned in applications; when you followed up with employers; initial contact with employer; method of contact; contact information; whom you interacted with at the employer; and any other information you think is important.

Review Samples

Review the sample application included in this section and familiarize yourself with the kinds of information you’ll need to provide.

Next: Assignment: The Application  Previous: The Application

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