How to briefly describe yourself on a job application

Written by david thyberg
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How to briefly describe yourself on a job application
Many factors go into the hiring process. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

When completing a job application, candidates must effectively communicate their qualifications within a limited framework. Hiring managers scrutinise job applications to weed out unsuitable candidates and narrow down the field. In many instances, the quality of candidates' job application forms can determine whether or not they get hired. Successful applicants take care to describe themselves in succinct detail while highlighting the reasons that make them a good fit for the job.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Copies of any degrees or certifications
  • Contact information for references

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    Describing Your Qualifications

  1. 1

    Explain your formal education background. List the institutions you have attended and make note of any degrees or diplomas earned. Figure out which of your education credentials will be of the highest importance to the employer and put those first. For example, if you have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, it would be appropriate to mention this up front when applying for a legal assistant job in a law office. Similarly, an individual with a bachelor's degree in communications should list this credential when applying for a job in customer service.

  2. 2

    Report your past work experience. Focus on the jobs you had that relate in some way to the position you are applying for. Provide specific details whenever possible to showcase your competency in past positions of employment. Quantify your accomplishments and contributions. Give the hiring manager concrete performance numbers and clear descriptions of workplace duties and achievements to help demonstrate your value as a potential employee.

  3. 3

    Bring attention to any relevant skills that you have. Describe all special abilities that make you a good candidate for the job in question. List things like bilingual fluency, typing proficiency, database management, sales strategies, experience in public speaking, computer software programming knowledge or anything else that applies to you and shows off your strengths as they relate to the position.

  4. 4

    Describe any other intangible qualities or traits that set you apart as an ideal choice for the employer, in closing. Avoid using empty words and vague phrases such as "go-getter" or "hard-working," as CareerBuilder notes, that these kinds of descriptions are overused by applicants and often ignored by hiring managers. Instead, describe your positive personality traits as they relate to the job. For instance, applicants for sales and customer service representative positions would do well to express their outgoing nature and team attitude. Finish with a brief description of your goals and what you hope to achieve if you are hired for the position.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't bother listing qualifications or background information that has nothing to do with the job you are pursuing. Karen Burns of U.S.News stresses the importance of making it easy for employers to see the credentials they most care about while leaving out any filler that may distract them.
  • Be careful not to lie on your job application. It's all right to put a positive spin on your background, but avoid outright lies. Most employers check to verify the information provided by applicants. Getting caught in a lie on your application almost always results in serious consequences. Check for consistency and accuracy to avoid problems.

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