A job application: everything you need to know

Finding a job

Let’s start at the very beginning. Before starting a job application, you’ll need to find a job you want to apply to. You may already have experience in a specific field and could be looking for the next step. On the other hand, maybe you’re a new graduate wanting to find a job related to your studies. Or perhaps you don’t know what kind of job you’re looking for. Either way, your best starting point is right here on Jobbird. We have all kinds of vacancies, ranging from part-time jobs for students to full-time opportunities for seasoned professionals.

If you know what you’re looking for, you can use the filters to narrow your search. That way, you’ll only have to scroll through the vacancies that fit your needs. Once you’ve found a few that you’re interested in, it’s time to get started on your job application.
 

Different types of job applications

Once you start applying to different jobs, you’ll see a few different types of job applications. First, the employer decides the way they want prospective applicants to apply. The most common ways to apply are online, via email, post or in person.

Online job application

Most job applications happen online nowadays. With online applications, you usually fill out a digital job application form. Then, you’ll fill in some information and answer potential questions that the employer may have added to the form. Sometimes, you can fill out an online job application directly from the site where you’ve found the vacancy, such as Jobbird or LinkedIn. Other times, you will be redirected to the employer’s page and can fill out the application there.

Job application per email

Sometimes, an employer will post a vacancy somewhere and will ask for job applications via email. There won’t be any forms for you to fill in or questions to answer in this case. Instead, you’ll send the employer a cover letter via email and attach your CV. When sending the email, make sure to use a professional email address and professional language.

Paper job application

Though you won’t come across it as often as an online application, some employers still prefer paper job applications. If you go into a shop or a restaurant and ask about a vacancy, you may be handed a paper job application form to fill in. When you return this form, make sure to attach a copy of your CV and a cover letter. You can mail the form, your CV and cover letter, or hand it in in person.

In-person job application

Rather than browsing for jobs online, you could just walk into your favourite shop or pub and ask if they have any jobs going. They may give you a form to fill out and return, or they may ask you a few interview questions on the spot. Usually, they’ll want to see a copy of your CV, so it would be wise to bring a physical copy with you beforehand.
 

5 things you need when applying for a job

Before we advise you on how to apply for a job (online or in-person), it’s important to remember that employers sometimes have their own methods of creating a job application. For example, some employers may ask questions about the job you are applying to, while others ask for specific information in your cover letter. Most job applications, however, are generally pretty straightforward. They consist of a few standard documents and pieces of information that you can (usually) enter into an online form. Want to know what you’ll need before you can get started on your job application? These are 5 things you (nearly) always need when applying for a job:

  1. Your personal information. This is probably the easiest part of any job application. When applying online, there will be a few fields in the job application form asking for your name and phone number. When applying in person, you’ll want to include this information on your CV as well as your cover letter.
  2. Your educational background. Most employers want to know about your educational level. Some jobs require a specific degree, while others just ask for a certain level of education. Of course, you’ll mention your educational background on your CV anyway, but often you’ll also need to fill this in on a form for an online job application.
  3. Any potential job experience. For most employers, your previous work experience is the most important part of your job application. Again, this can be found on your CV, but many employers also ask you to mention your most recent (or most relevant) job experiences, either in an online form or in your cover letter.
  4. A professional CV. Obviously, a job application is never complete without a CV. You can usually attach a digital version of your CV to your online job application, but you can also go the old fashioned route and hand-deliver or mail a physical copy. A CV contains everything an employer needs to know, such as your personal information, educational background, job experiences, and skills and competencies. Want to know how to write a professional CV? Check out our articles about making a CV.
  5. A cover letter. Though a cover letter may feel like a bit of an outdated practice, most employers still ask for one. Even if they don’t specifically ask for a cover letter, you may still want to write one. Though your CV already notes your skills and experiences, it lacks personality, and there is usually no room for you to express your interest in the position. A cover letter is an excellent way for you to show who you are and to explain why you want this job and why you’d be the perfect candidate. Want some tips for how to write a cover letter? Check out our articles about writing a cover letter.

 

How to write a supporting statement (or cover letter) for a job application

Most job applications will mention a supporting statement or cover letter, and even if they don’t, you may want to send one anyway. Sometimes there is a specific field (with a word limit) in the job application form for your supporting statement. Still, usually, this is something you type in a document and attach to your application.

First things first: what’s the difference between a supporting statement, a personal statement and a cover letter?

  • A personal statement is a short summary of your competencies and skills that you include in your CV.
  • A supporting statement is usually a part of the application form, where you’ll be asked to explain why you feel you’d be suitable for the role. Sometimes there is a word limit to supporting statements.
  • A cover letter is a formal business letter (or email) in which you highlight your skills and express your interest in the job. This is your way to explain why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Make sure your cover letter is not a repetition of your CV.

 
When filling out your job application, you may be asked for a supporting statement. The best thing to do is to open a separate document and type your answer there. That way, you can do a spelling and grammar check, and you can check your word count if there is a limit. You should display your enthusiasm for the job and highlight your skills and relevant experience in your answer. Make sure your supporting statement shows your personality and that it isn’t just a summary of your CV. This is your opportunity to show your personality and give a strong first impression.

Your cover letter is usually longer than a supporting statement and is a bit more formal. It includes your address as well as the employer’s and starts with a formal greeting. Want to know how to write a good cover letter to accompany your job application? Make sure to read our article about writing a cover letter to find out.
 

Job application form template example

Not sure what to expect from a job application form? We’ve got an example to give you an idea. This way you can think of what you’d answer, and once you’re ready to start applying, filling out the job application forms will be a piece of cake. Take a look at our article on job application forms for an example.

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