Career and Job Search Guide

Different Ways to Apply for A Job

Employers learn about job candidates in a variety of ways. Pay special attention to application instructions when reviewing job ads and include any requested documents in your application.

Listed below are some of the documents an employer may request, along with preparation tips.

Some companies will only accept applications submitted electronically while other companies only review completed applications. Certain companies will not take phone calls about openings, and some employers will request work samples or references. You can disqualify yourself for review if you do not follow the application instructions.

Common job application methods include:
  • Job applications Many companies have a standardized form they require all job applicants to complete. They use standardized applications to collect the same information about each applicant. Follow all the instructions in an application and fill it out completely and neatly.
  • Printed cover letters and resumes. Many companies request candidates to mail cover letters and resumes. Conduct some research and learn how to make your resume stand out.
  • Electronic cover letters and resumes. Some companies will only accept resumes and cover letters electronically. These companies utilize software that electronically scans resumes and cover letters for minimum experience requirements and key skills. You need to understand how to place keywords in your resumes and cover letters. Additionally, you may be required to e-mail copies of your resume and other documents to the company.
  • Letters of reference. Letters of reference are letters written by previous managers, co-workers, or teachers detailing your qualifications and work habits. Some employers will not write letters of reference because of possible liabilities. If you have proven to be a good employee and a hard worker, it never hurts to request a letter of reference.
  • Portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of personalized documents that demonstrate your skills and experience. A portfolio could include a resume, school transcripts, letters of reference, information about awards, or work samples. Your goal is to clearly demonstrate to potential employers that your education, skills, and previous experience qualify you for the position. You need to show the company that your services would benefit them.