What Is a Job Application Form and Why Is It Important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 October 2022

Published 23 July 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.

Employers use job application forms to help discover new employees. The questions that these forms include can introduce an applicant and establish their work history. These forms can assist employers in identifying qualified applicants and can help them to narrow down the best applicants for a vacant position. In this article, we discuss application forms and some different types of application forms and provide an example of an application form.

Related: 10 Essential Tips for Applying for Jobs Successfully

What is a job application form?

A job or employment application form is an official form given to applicants asking a wide range of questions both about the individual and their skills related to the position. Forms are legally defensible and stand as a way for applicants to introduce themselves to employers. Businesses use these forms to find those best suited for open positions, sending a select few to the next phase of the hiring process.

Related: How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Example)

When to complete a job application form

Employers utilise application forms in conjunction with resumes to assist in filling vacant positions. Many employers make these forms available to applicants regardless of the availability of open positions. When this occurs, they're often determining general interest in the company and may keep certain names on file for future available positions.

It's a good idea to only complete job applications that fit your goals, interests, and skill set. Conducting research on the company prior to applying can help you determine the company culture, pay rates, and history. It's also a good idea to only apply to positions that are actively seeking applicants to fill vacant positions.

Related: Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips to Get the Job

Types of job applications

Even though many employers utilise online applications on their websites, there are a few additional types of forms used by companies to seek new employees. These types can vary between career fields and businesses, but all result in helping the employer discover new talent. There are three common application types, which include:

Online application

There are many companies that provide an online application form on their website that job seekers can complete. Some companies can have simple applications, while larger companies can have large databases built to contain the information collected from application forms. Additionally, some job board sites have their own application processes that allow employers to ask each applicant a few questions.

Related: 13 Actionable Steps on How to Apply For a Job Online

Email application

Some companies also have an established email application process that can be useful for remote positions or in other instances where an online application is not feasible. The email application process generally consists of an email chain where applicants answer questions, take tests, and complete forms. This process can act as a hybrid of a job application and an interview, where the applicant can complete many items that are generally included in the interview portion of the hiring process.

Read more: How To Write a Job Application Email

Physical application

Some companies use physical paper applications as a primary part of their hiring process, or they might use them as a backup to their online application efforts. They can be either offered as a printable form or handed out by employees within the facility. The unique benefit of presenting a physical copy of an application is that this can allow you to potentially meet with a hiring manager right away.

Related: Why Quality Over Quantity Matters in Your Job Applications

Common job application form questions

The job application is generally separated into a few different sections. This allows applicants to fully introduce themselves, their skills and qualifications to the business. Some of those sections include:

  • Personal contact information

  • Employment history

  • Education and experience

  • Availability

  • References

  • Additional information

Personal contact information

The first section of the job application gives space to list an applicant's full name, address, and any additional contact information. Additional information that can be a part of this section may include employment eligibility, employment certification or legal history. You may want to include your social media or portfolio links if they're relevant to the job you're applying for.

Employment history

This section allows applicants to detail their work history and show their experience and transferable skills. Some common items addressed in this area include business names, contact information, positions held and duties conducted. Depending on the industry or business, some information asked in this section can vary.

Whichever employment history format you may experience, it's important to have a description of your job history and manager contact information readily available. It's also a good idea to include specific details in this area and keep it brief. Additionally, some forms might ask if they can contact these past employers as a reference.

Read more: How To Obtain Your Employment History and Why It Matters

Education and experience

The education portion of the application process can allow you to highlight the schools you have attended, degrees obtained, and your graduation date. This can also give you the opportunity to expand on certifications you might have earned and specific skills or qualifications you have that can contribute to that new position. You might want to stand out more from other candidates by including awards and leadership positions you might have held to show the additional skills and abilities you have.

Availability

This next section may vary between jobs and companies, but usually includes an area to list your availability and start dates. Prepare to include exact start dates as well as specific availability periods for each day of the week you are available. When thinking of a start date, try to think of the earliest day on which you may have concluded or resolved your previous matters or commitments, such as leaving a current position.

Related: Show Hiring Managers That You're Ready to Work

References

The final section in most applications often includes an area to list your professional references. Many employers require a certain number of references to contact, so it's a good idea to prepare at least three to five individuals along with their contact information. It's also a good idea to ask or inform those individuals that you have listed them as a reference, so they are aware and can prepare.

Related: How To Ask for Job References (With a Template and Example)

Additional information

Many online and physical forms include a disclaimer section or a brief overview of terms and conditions. To complete the application, job seekers can confirm that they have read and understood the terms. Additionally, at the end of the application, provide either a physical signature or e-signature confirming they have listed the correct information to the best of their knowledge.

Tips before completing an application form

Before you start to fill out an application, it's a good idea to have a list of all the information you may need in order to apply. Have your work history and reference information readily available to make the application process more straightforward. This can also prevent you from having to seek out this information during the application process.

Related: The Essential Job Search Guide

Job applications and pre-employment testing

Some employers might ask you to complete a skills test to determine your knowledge of the position you are applying for. Companies may provide instructions on how to complete and submit this testing information as a part of the application process. You might consider taking practice skills tests to help you stay current in the industry or field you are applying for prior to completing pre-employment testing.

Related: What Are the Common Types of Career Aptitude Tests?

Job application form sample

Here's an example of the basic information that's commonly included in a job application:

Applicant Information
Please fill in your information as accurately as possible:

Full name: Ho Min Qi
Address:
123 Hill St. City/State: Singapore
Email:
ho.minqi@email.com Phone: +65 8000 0000

Employment History
Please start from your most recent position:

Position/Job Title: General Manager
Company: Mul's Company
Manager: Wong Soon Tuck
Contact Information: +65 9000 0000
May we contact this employer for references? Yes

Position/Job Title: Shift Supervisor
Company: Nelly's Beauty Corporation
Manager: Soh Bee Lay
Contact Information: +65 9111 1111
May we contact this employer for references? Yes

Position/Job Title: Team Lead
Company: Ho Chiah Food Pte Ltd
Manager: Doris Fernandez
Contact Information: +65 8888 8888
May we contact this employer for references? Yes

Availability
Please list your days and hours available:

Sunday: Not available
Monday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Tuesday: All hours
Wednesday: All hours
Thursday: All hours
Friday: All hours
Saturday: Not available

References
Please list at least three references with contact information:

Reference 1
Full Name: Low Boon Seng
Contact Information: +65 8222 2222

Reference 2
Full Name: Ahmad Fadzil
Contact Information: +65 9222 2222

Reference 3
Full Name: Balvinder Kaur
Contact Information: +65 8333 3333

Signature required
Please E-Sign and verify that all the above information is true and accurate:

E-Signature: Ho Min Qi Date: 01/20/2021

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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