Be Organized

Every time you fill out a job application, take along your “job kit.” The “job kit” should include a sample application, resume, cover letter, diplomas, certificates, picture identification, birth certificate, social security card, and letters of recommendation, work samples, and lists of references.

Be Neat

Use black ink (erasable black ink is acceptable). Make sure you sign and date the application.

Problem Questions

Don’t leave any question unanswered. If a question does not apply to you, write “N/A” or “does not apply.” In some cases a line in the answer area is acceptable.


Laws now limit types of questions that can be asked on applications. Even so, some employers still use old application forms. It is best to leave illegal questions unanswered. These questions include age, sex, religions, marital status, race, and handicapping conditions.

Arrest Record

Application can only ask if you have been convicted. If you are 18 and have had convictions removed from your record, answer NO to this question, all others have to answer YES.

Reason for Leaving Last Job

Never say “Fired.” Give neutral reasons such as “returned to school” or “change in career goal,” etc.

Work Experience

Always include volunteer and internship as work experience. Include dates, job description and job title, names of organizations and supervisors as you would and job or work experience.

Pay Desired

It is always best to say “open or negotiable.”

Position Desired

Always write the specific job you are applying for. If you cannot find out the specific job title, then list a general career field.

Here are some examples of RED LIGHT WORDS which may get you screened out on an application. TRY TO USE the GREEN LIGHT WORDS instead. However, ALWAYS be truthful. Don’t be dishonest.

RED LIGHT WORDS	                              GREEN LIGHT WORDS
1. Quit…	                                Resigned
2. Fired…	                                Discharged
3. Got into fight/boss disliked me…	        Personality conflict
4. Bad/unsafe working conditions…	        Personal considerations
5. Hours too long/too short…	                Not my type of work
6. Moved away…	                                Changed residence
7. Not enough money…	                        Financial considerations
8. Did you not like the work opportunity… 	Career change
9. No car/car broke down/ bus late…	        Transportation
10. No babysitter…	                        No child care

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