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First Contact and Job Application Forms: Jobs for High School and College Students

July 23, 2013

Contacting potential job advertisers and completing job application forms for high school and college students

Whether you are a high school student or a college student looking for your first job or a graduate with previous work experience, job advertisers generally require all job applicants to contact them by phone or to apply for the job through an application form.

Contacting job advertisers by phone

If the job advertisement provides a contact name and phone number, it is a good idea to ring the advertiser. This allows you to introduce yourself and hopefully, make a good first impression, and to ask for more information about the job.

The more information you have, the more you can prepare yourself for the job interview. You can also tailor your job application cover letter and resume to the additional information you discovered and refer to the telephone discussion you had with the contact person.

If you reach a recording when you call, always leave a message for the person to call you back.

Advantages of job application forms

Many large organizations now use only online job application forms for their recruitment process. Application forms are used for a number of reasons:

  • Application forms may be processed in batches.
  • Standardized questions may be asked in application forms.
  • Application forms provide a means of comparing job applicants.
  • Finally, application forms may be stored in the organization’s database to be retrieved when necessary.

Content of job application forms

Job application forms usually cover the following types of questions:

  • Basic information about the job applicant such as name, address, contact number, email address, educational qualifications and the job position you are applying for.
  • Questions about your prior work or volunteer experience.
  • Competency or skills based questions.
  • Questions about the reasons for your interest in the organization.

These questions are fundamentally interview questions where you will be judged on the answers you give and it is therefore, very important that you write well and that your answers are grammatically correct and error-free.

Questions may be structured in the form of a multiple choice questionnaire or a space for your answer may be provided in the application form.

Tips for completing job application forms

  • Always READ the form carefully before completing it. Treat the job application form as if it is an examination paper you are sitting for in an exam.
  • Think about what the job advertiser is looking for based on your knowledge of the organization, information set out in the job advertisement and extra details you have gathered from speaking with the contact person of the advertiser.
  • Provide detailed, optimized and positive answers but do not overly exaggerate your skills or experience.
  • Provide answers that are specific. See our article on Describing Skills, Achievements and Experiences in Resumes. The article applies equally to descriptions of skills, achievements and experiences in an application form.
  • Always SAVE a copy of the application form for future reference.
  • If you are completing the form by hand, write your answers on a separate piece of paper before attempting to fill out the form.
  • Always CHECK what you have written and edit as necessary.

The best impression you can give the job advertiser is to provide a completed job application form that has followed instructions, answered all questions fully and is neat and legible.