Apply for Jobs

Employers ask about job seekers in several ways.  Pay close attention to what the employer wants from job seekers.  Make sure you send them the documents they request, which may include: a list of references, a writing sample, or a portfolio of work.  The most common documents requested are applications, resumes, and cover letters.

What to Put in Your Work Sample Portfolio
A portfolio of your work can show employers your accomplishments. You may include samples of work and school projects. You can put these samples in a binder. Some people like to put their samples online. You can bring your portfolio to job interviews.

What to Put in Your Portfolio
If you are a/an: You could include:
  • Photographs of your work
Chef or Baker
  • Photographs of food or meals you've made
  • Recipes you created
  • Letters of recommendation from past supervisors
Computer programmer
or multimedia specialist
  • Screenshots of your programs
  • Printout of the computer code you wrote
  • Letters of recommendation from past supervisors
Dancer, actor, or musician
  • Video of your performances
  • Audio recordings of your work
Fashion designer or tailor
  • Pictures of the clothing that you have produced
  • Wear your own creations on the job interview
Office support staff
  • Brochures for projects you helped plan
  • Reports
  • Newsletters you organized
  • Spreadsheets
  • Other examples of work that you completed
  • Letters of recommendation from past supervisors
Writer or journalist
  • Copies of published articles
  • Print-outs of your writing from websites
  • Video of your news stories

Resumes vs. Applications

Each potential employer will ask for different documents to apply for a job opening. Many times the employer will ask for both an application and a resume. Here is a description of the purpose of each document.

Resume Application
Your personal advertisement Your personal job history
Selective inclusion of information Factually accurate
OK to omit jobs or degrees Not OK to omit jobs or degrees
General or specific details Very specific
Serves your purpose Serves purpose of the employer

Job Applications

Employers often use a form to learn about each job seeker. This form is called an application. They compare the job seekers to determine who would be the best fit for the job opening. Use words from the job description to show that you are the candidate they have been searching for.

Job Application Tips

Make a rough draft. Get your references now.
Get a copy of an application (pdf) and fill in all of the fields. Make sure you know all of your past employers and the dates you worked. You’ll also need addresses and phone numbers of past employers. Get feedback on how you answer each question. Use your rough draft to fill in all of your applications. 

Follow the directions. Be honest.
Read the entire application before you start it. Pay close attention to what they ask of you. Do not write in sections where they say “do no write below this line." Also, do not write where they say “for office use only.”

Fill out applications neatly and completely, and use correct spelling and grammar.
Answer all of the questions. If one doesn’t apply to you, you can use “N/A.” This means “not applicable." This shows the employer that you did not overlook anything.  

Always list your "position desired."
This is your job search target or the title from a job lead. 

Give a range for your salary.
Employer may use this question to screen out applicants. Use a range or say “negotiable.” This leaves you room to negotiate a higher wage. 

Give positive reasons for leaving jobs.
Choose your words carefully with this question. Don't say "Fired," "Quit," "Illness," or "Personal Reasons." Instead, use reasons like: “voluntarily resigned”, “left employer voluntarily”, or “voluntarily quit.”


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