Application for employment

An application for employment, job application, or application form (often simply called an application) usually includes a form or collection of forms that an individual seeking employment, called an applicant, must fill out as part of the process of informing an employer of the applicant's availability and desire to be employed, and persuading the employer to offer the applicant employment.

A job application letter dated January 1, 1913
Rejection letter dated January 16, 1913[1]


From the employer's perspective, the application serves a number of purposes. These vary depending on the nature of the job and the preferences of the person responsible for hiring, as "each organization should have an application form that reflects its own environment".[2] At a minimum, an application usually requires the applicant to provide information sufficient to demonstrate that he or she is legally permitted to be employed. The typical application also requires the applicant to provide information regarding relevant skills, education, and experience (previous employment or volunteer work). The application itself is a minor test of the applicant's literacy, penmanship, and communication skills - a careless job applicant might disqualify themselves with a poorly filled-out application.

The application may also require the applicant to disclose any criminal record, and to provide information sufficient to enable the employer to conduct an appropriate background check. For a business that employs workers on a part-time basis, the application may inquire as to the applicant's specific times and days of availability, and preferences in this regard. It is important to note, however, that an employer may be prohibited from asking applicants about characteristics that are not relevant to the job, such as their political view or sexual orientation.[2][3]

For white collar jobs, particularly those requiring communication skills, the employer will typically require applicants to accompany the form with a cover letter and a résumé.[4] However, even employers who accept a cover letter and résumé will frequently also require the applicant to complete a form application, as the other documents may neglect to mention details of importance to the employers.[5][6] In some instances, an application is effectively used to dissuade "walk-in" applicants, serving as a barrier between the applicant and a job interview with the person with the authority to hire.[7]

For many businesses, applications for employment can be filled out online, and do not have to be submitted in person. However, it is still recommended that applicants bring a printed copy of their application to an interview.[8]

Application blanks are the second most common hiring instrument next to personal interviews.[9] Companies will occasionally use two types of application blanks, short and long. They both help companies with initial screening and the longer form can be used for other purposes as well. The answers that applicants choose to submit are helpful to the company because they can become an interview question for that applicant at a future date.

Application blanks can either be done by hand or electronically, depending on the company. When submitting an application blank typically companies will ask you attach a one-page cover letter as well as a resume. Applicants tend to make the mistake of sharing too much information with the company and their application will be immediately overlooked. Offering too much information gives the company a bigger opportunity to find something they do not like. Please ask or find a copy of the job ad before applying for a job to make sure you list your key skills and expertise that matches the job you are applying for first on your job application, resume and cover letter to help you not list too much information. Companies are not allowed to ask certain questions in person or on an application such as age, health status, religion, marital status, about children, race, height, weight, or whom you live with♮. ♮

Application sections

Applications usually ask the applicant at the minimum for their name, phone number, and address. In addition, applications also ask for previous employment information, educational background, emergency contacts, references, as well as any special skills the applicant might have.

The three categories application fields are very useful for discovering are; physical characteristics, experience, and socio-environmental factors.

Physical characteristics

If the company has a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) to ask regarding a physical condition, they may ask questions about it, for example:

The job requires a lot of physical labor. Do you have any physical problems that may interfere with this job?


Experience requirements can be separated into two groups on an application, work experience and educational background. Educational background is important to companies because by evaluating applicants' performance in school tells them what their personality is like as well as their intelligence. Work experience is important to companies because it will inform the company if the applicant meets their requirements. Companies are usually interested when applicants were unemployed and when/why the applicant left their previous job.

Socio-environmental qualifications

Companies are interested in the applicant's social environment because it can inform them of their personality, interests, and qualities. If they are extremely active within an organization, that may demonstrate their ability to communicate well with others. Being in management may demonstrate their leadership ability as well as their determination and so on.


Customs vary internationally when it comes to the inclusion or non-inclusion of a photograph of the applicant. In the English-speaking countries, notably the United States, this is not customary, and books or websites giving recommendations about how to design an application typically advise against it unless explicitly requested by the employer.[10] In other countries, for instance Germany, the inclusion of a photograph of the applicant is still common, and many employers would consider an application incomplete without it.

Applications in other non-English speaking European countries


The job application procedures in Austria are very similar to those in Germany. However, there is more emphasis on academic degrees in Austria than in Germany. Otherwise, the general rules of the German Bewerbung also apply to job applications in Austria.[11]


In France, the 2006 Equal Opportunities Act requires companies with more than 50 employees to request an anonymous application (CV anonyme).


The job application is called Bewerbung in Germany and usually consists of three parts, such as the Anschreiben, the Lebenslauf and the Zeugnisse. Anschreiben is the German word for Cover Letter and aims at the same goal: convincing the employer to submit an invitation for a job interview.[12] It is essential to work with the paper size DIN A4 and to stay with a length of one single page. The Anschreiben must be signed by hand and accompanied by a Lebenslauf, the Curriculum Vitae, and Zeugnisse as copies of relevant reference documents. The Lebenslauf is of an anti-chronological structure and should give information on work experience, education and professional training as well as on applicant's skills. In Germany, the Lebenslauf – respectively the Curriculum Vitae – usually includes a photograph called Bewerbungsfoto. Some employers, mainly governmental organisations, deliberately neglect the photograph to ensure a higher degree of objectivity in the course of assessment procedures. A length of two pages is to be aimed at when generating the Lebenslauf. In general, there are two options of submitting a job application in Germany: a job application folder (Bewerbungsmappe) or online (Onlinebewerbung). According to a study,[13] the Onlinebewerbung was more favored in Germany than the Bewerbungsmappe by 2012. Presumably, this development will persist.


The CV is the most important part of the application and should not be longer than two to three pages. It is divided into three areas:

in chronological order

in anti-chronological order

The application letter (La Lettera di accompagnamento al curriculum) will be taken relatively short, polite and formal in Italian applications. Long versions and extensively explained motivations, as well as photos and copies of certificates shall be presented only at the interview.


In Spain, the application consists of two parts: the cover letter (Carta de Candidatura) and the CV. No work or training certificates are attached. The cover letter should contain information on the motivation and drafted shortly. The CV should be structured in a tabular form. In Spain, multiple job interviews in the same company are common.


  1. Ruminski, Clayton. "Manuscripts and Archives: Early Twentieth Century Job Applications - A Personal Affair". Hagley Museum.
  2. 1 2 Diane Arthur, Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees (1998), p. 111.
  3. Donald H. Weiss, Fair, Square & Legal: Safe Hiring, Managing & Firing Practices to Keep You and Your Company Out of Court (2004), p. 45.
  4. Sandra Bunting, The Interviewer's Handbook: Successful Interviewing Techniques for the Workplace (2005), p. 82.
  5. Diane Arthur, Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees (1998), p. 168.
  6. Joe Kennedy, The Small Business Owner's Manual (2005), p. 122.
  7. Diane Arthur, Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees (1998), p. 59.
  8. A C "Buddy" Krizan, Patricia Merrier, Joyce P. Logan, Business Communication (2010), p. 551.
  9. Johnson, Tarun. "Role of Application Blank in the Selection Process". GradsUp.
  10., accessed 28 December 2013.
  11. "Bewerben in Österreich". Berufsstart (German). Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  12. "Applying in Germany, Bewerbung: Anschreiben and Lebenslauf". T. Tauber (German). Retrieved 2015-01-30.
  13. "Internet überholt die Bewerbungsmappe auf Papier". BITKOM (German). Retrieved 2015-01-30.

External links

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