Product Category Icon

Resources for Preparing a Job Application

Present yourself in a professional manner when applying for new jobs. Our customizable templates ensure your resume and cover letters are clear and effective.

Essential templates for your job search

These templates can help you apply for and secure a job. If you are switching jobs, we can even help you create a Resignation Letter.

Category Featured Contract Icon

Step 1

Resignation Letter

A Resignation Letter provides legal notice to your employer of your departure from the company.

Category Featured Contract Icon

Step 2

Cover Letter

A Cover Letter is used to inform potential employers of the position you are applying for and why your application is worth consideration.

Category Featured Contract Icon

Step 3


A Resume Builder is a tool that generates a custom, formatted resume based on the information you enter about your past work experience, skills, educa...

Last updated January 29, 2024

Written by

Reviewed by


Fact checked by

Whether it’s finding your first job or changing careers, it can be overwhelming to get the search started. There may be many aspects of the job hunt that are out of your hands, but there’s one thing you can control, and that’s the quality of your application.

Read this guide to learn the secrets of crafting a job application that shows employers your value as a potential employee. We’ll cover the core documents you’ll need, plus tips for writing, submitting, and following up on an application.

What is a job application?

A job application is a group of documents you compile to send to a potential employer, giving insight into your abilities through your education, training, work experience, and skills. The documents you generally send during the application process are:

Sometimes, an employer may require an application form in addition to your documents. These forms help them gather more relevant information on you as a candidate that might not always be prominent on a Resume. Questions they may ask through application forms may also be industry-specific and can include: 

  • Why are you leaving, or why did you leave your current position?
  • Give an example of a time you demonstrated leadership abilities.
  • What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
  • What is your availability for shifts?
  • What is your greatest strength?

The most important thing to remember when applying for work is to customize your documents for every application. Employers receive hundreds of job applications online. So, sending generic applications won’t help you stand out. Answering the questions in a relevant way to the position can help you during the first steps of applying for a job. 

Now that you know the basics of what's included in a job application, let's talk a bit about how Canadian laws ensure all applicants are treated equally.

Laws that protect job applicants in Canada

When companies search for new employees, they must give equal opportunity to all applicants by following anti-discrimination laws. This means employers cannot request information protected under equal rights legislation during the hiring process.

Many businesses are classified as private companies, meaning the laws they follow are under provincial legislation. However, federally regulated companies (e.g., banks, air transportation, postal and courier services, broadcasting, etc.) must adhere to the Employment Equity Act. As such, they have to give equal opportunities to women, Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. Furthermore, federally regulated companies must follow the Canadian Human Rights Act. 

Employers are prohibited by law to ask for any information that could be considered discriminatory when determining a successful candidate, such as:

  • Sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
  • Race, nationality, or ethnic origin
  • Genetic characteristics
  • Marital or family status
  • Gender or sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Age

If you come across an application or interview that asks you for protected information or seems to be discriminating, you can take the following actions:

  • Write not applicable on the form in response to questions that are asking for protected information
  • Tactfully let the employer know you believe that is inappropriate (e.g., politely ask how the question is relevant to the position)
  • Answer the question that may be underlying in their request without disclosing any protected details (e.g., if they ask about your home life or kids, you can answer with what your availability is and your focus on a given job)
  • Make a complaint to your provincial or the federal Human Rights Commission
  • Speak to an attorney if you’re unsure if any further action needs to be taken

With these laws in mind, you're set to start preparing your own applications. So, let's dive into some essential tips for preparing an effective job application.

7 Tips for prepping your application

Remember these tips when you’re preparing your documents and filling out application forms, and you’re sure to make a good impression. 

1. Research the company.

Knowing more about the company will help you understand what they’re looking for in a candidate. You can also learn about the company culture and the environment you’ll be working in.

2. Have all your information and documents ready.

Having your Resume, Reference List, and any relevant additions like a portfolio on hand will make finding key details for online or paper forms easier. It’ll help you complete your application more efficiently when looking for dates, skills, or other relevant details.

3. Keep everything up to date.

Resumes, Cover Letters, and online profiles must reflect who you are as a candidate right now, so keep everything updated.

4. Only apply if you are qualified for the position

Successful candidates meet the qualifications that the job demands. Don’t waste time going through an application process if, ultimately, you’re unable to perform as expected.

With that being said, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that you think might be out of your reach. Interestingly, A Gender Insights Report by LinkedIn discovered that women tend to apply for fewer jobs than men because they feel they don’t meet 100% of the criteria. However, it’s important to recognize your transferable skills and ability to learn new things. 

5. Customize your documents.

Use LawDepot to easily tailor your application documents to each job. Our templates ensure you won’t miss any key details, while also helping you avoid unnecessary jargon and be concise. When answering our questionnaires, remember that clear, straightforward answers are best.

6. Take your time

Ensure you answer every question on the application form and hit all the key points relevant to the position. When asked industry-specific questions, emphasize your applicable experience, knowledge, and skills. 

7. Proofread. 

Be sure everything is correct, including the spelling of company and employer names on all your forms and documents. 

Creating your Resume for a job application

Whether you're a student, a freelancing professional, or someone who's switching careers, your Resume is a key document you must include in your applications. It's the first impression of what skills and experience you have to offer as a potential employee.

The terms CV (curriculum vitae) and Resume are commonly interchangeable in Canada. Resume is most common for job positions where CV is academically focused. 

To help you with your applications, LawDepot’s Resume Builder is available for you to create a customizable Resume with an easy-to-use questionnaire. We’ll only prompt you to include the essential information to create a strong Resume, including:

  • Your name and contact details
  • Work experience
  • Achievements
  • Education
  • Skills

Be selective about the personal information you include in your Resume. If you can, avoid details that might put you at risk of discrimination (e.g., age, marital status, etc.) and only include what’s relevant to the position (e.g., hobbies and interests that demonstrate transferable skills).

Employers are not legally allowed to ask for any distinguishing, personal information that can be used for proscribed discrimination. 

Customizing your Resume for an application

Employers receive hundreds of applications, and they may only scan each submission. So, you’ll want your Resume to stand out. 

Once you create a strong Resume, you can easily customize the details for each job you apply for. Scan the job posting for skills and requirements that you possess. Then, add these keywords to your Resume to show the hiring manager that you have the qualifications they’re looking for. 

For example, imagine a job posting for a childcare position that includes responsibilities such as schedule planning and other administrative tasks. Of course, an applicant should list their experience in child care. However, a successful applicant might also include certificates showing they’ve completed training in administrative software, such as Microsoft Office Suite. This would demonstrate their ability to take on the extra responsibilities listed in the job posting. 

Hard skills versus soft skills

Your skills are what employers are looking at before bringing you into an interview. To assist in the search, recruiters may use application scanning software that searches for keywordsincluding skills, to find their next employee. So, when writing your Resume, you’ll want to think about which skills are transferable and applicable to the position you’re applying for. 

An aspect of Resume writing that you should always note is how to distinguish hard and soft skills.

Skill Definition Example
Hard Skills Hard skills come from your work experience, education, and training. Many hard skills are industry-specific.
  • Trade specialties (plumbing, electrical work, construction etc.)
  • Marketing strategies
  • Graphic design
  • Programming
Soft Skills Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills employers find valuable in employees. Determining your soft skills requires a more self-analytical approach.
  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Creativity

Still unsure of what you can bring to a position? In that case, the Canadian government has tools for assessing your current skills and understanding how you can continue to grow your abilities in the workplace.

Create and edit your Resume with LawDepot!

Writing a Cover Letter for a job application

Your Cover Letter is another essential element of your application. It’s a short document that complements your Resume by highlighting your experiences and personal skills in more detail. 

Like your Resume, a Cover Letter is not one-size-fits-all. It’s crucial to edit the letter so that it speaks specifically to each position you apply for. When writing your Cover Letter, key things to remember are:

  • Research the company and hiring manager. Addressing your letter to them is a more personal touch. In your research, you may find an interesting fact about the company that you can comment on in your Cover Letter. This will show you’re genuinely interested in the role. 
  • Discuss relevant experience and personal attributes. If the job posting highlights educational requirements or desirable traits, provide examples of you demonstrating these qualities in the past. For example, if the listing stresses the importance of client communication, you can exemplify your customer service skills by discussing a time you went above and beyond to assist a client.
  • Keep it to three paragraphs. Being concise allows employers to read what’s important immediately and save time. 
  • Close with a positive call to action. This is a proactive approach because it encourages the hiring manager to take a specific next step, showing your enthusiasm to move forward with an interview or discussion. For example, “I'm happy to provide more details upon request,” or “I look forward to discussing the position further.”

A quick example to consider when implementing your own experience into a Cover Letter is if you’re applying for a position as an electrician. Yes, you will need to have the training for the position, but an employer may also be looking for excellent customer service abilities. You can take the chance to highlight your certifications and how you’ve grown in your profession, but also include examples of where you successfully went the extra mile for a client and the positive impact that had on their experience.

No matter what career path or position you’re applying for, LawDepot’s Cover Letter template lets you quickly create a customized letter to complement your Resume.

Creating a Reference List

A Reference List is a document that compiles the names and contact information of the people providing a reference for you. A reference is someone who can verify your skills and experience to a potential employer to validate your qualifications for a job. 

Generally, a hiring manager or HR requests references after an initial interview. So, asking your references for their permission and having them prepared is crucial when you are applying for jobs. 

Who can be a reference?

A reference should be someone who knows you professionally or academically. For example, it’d be appropriate to ask the following types of people for a reference:

  • HR team member
  • Supervisor
  • Colleague
  • Professor
  • Manager
  • Teacher
  • Mentor
  • Client

Needing a professional reference is why following company protocols and writing a professional Resignation Letter is essential when you leave your current employer. You want them to provide a glowing reference to a potential new boss. Family, friends, elders, coaches, etc. will work for personal references if you’re starting out in the workforce. However, you should aim to keep using professional references when possible. 

To be polite and professional, always ask permission to use someone as a reference out of respect for their time and privacy. If you know an employer will reach out, give your references a heads-up. That way, they can keep an eye out for emails or calls in the following days. And be sure to thank them after they’ve supplied your reference. 

If you want to help enhance your application at the start, ask for a Letter of Recommendation to accompany your Resume and Cover Letter. This reference letter showcases a candidate’s accomplishments, gives evidence of their competencies, and attests to their exceptional qualities and characteristics.

Easily compile your references with LawDepot's Reference List today!

Emailing your application

You’ve completed all the forms and have your documents ready to send, but you’ll find every employer has a preferred process when collecting applications. Some employers might ask you to submit your documents and responses through an online system. However, it’s common for most employers to ask you to submit all completed forms and documents via email. 

First, you’ll need to have a professional-looking email. If you don’t have one, keep it simple, such as your name (e.g. Avoid using your current work email provided by your employer as you won’t always have access to it. 

When emailing your application, you can keep a professional and enthusiastic tone by including:

  • A clear subject line (or the one they request you to add)
  • A warm, polite greeting
  • An introduction about yourself
  • The role you are applying for and why you’re interested in the role
  • Which documents you’re attaching
  • A small summary of your skills 
  • An appreciation for being considered

You can use your Cover Letter as inspiration when writing your email, but don’t just copy and paste it into the body of the email. Be more concise and summarize your qualities as a candidate in very brief points. Attach a PDF copy of your Cover Letter for their records and to facilitate an easy exchange between hiring managers.

What happens if you lie on your application?

Even though it isn’t necessarily illegal, lying on an application can lead to termination. 

In some cases, an employer may take steps to verify the information on your Resume. If they discover you lied, there may be harsh consequences (as was the case when a Canadian public servant committed fraud during an appointment process).

Understandably, you want to look your best, so it’s tempting to embellish a bit when applying for a position. Lying on your resume can be as small as exaggerating the time you spent at your last job to as big as lying about your education. However, it’s essential to be honest when applying for work and stick to the positions you qualify for.

How to get past application screening software

With the increasing number of applicants a company gets, many use screening software to help narrow down online applications. These software platforms are imperfect, meaning employers may overlook strong candidates if their application isn’t optimized for screening software. 

To help get past these potential screenings, you can customize your Resume and Cover Letter by:

  • Using keywords from the job posting in your work history and skills sections
  • Using a clear, legible format for your Resume
  • Avoiding images, tables, and boxes
  • Being concise and spelling out acronyms

Waiting to hear about an application

Sometimes, larger companies post their hiring process online to give you a rough idea of the process and what to expect at each step. Other times, it’s a waiting game, but there are things you can do to be proactive while you wait.

First, apply for more positions! Sometimes, job hunting becomes your full-time job, but the more you apply, the better your chances of finding the right position. 

Next, be sure you’re prepared for further steps a company may take by gathering your references (if you haven’t already done so).

Following up on an application

It’s good to show interest in a position, but before you follow up on an application, give it at least two weeks. An employer can receive countless applications and needs time to review them. 

You can follow up on your application via email or phone, but email is often preferred, as hiring managers can get busy. Showing up in person can seem pushy or intimidating, and it might also set you up for an awkward moment if they’ve already passed on your application. 

When following up via email, be polite, professional, and precise. The goal is to reiterate your interest in the position and why you’re a good fit. In your message, include:

  • A clear subject line
  • Your name
  • The job title you applied for
  • Your interest in the company and job
  • A brief summary of what you can bring to the position

Remember, signing off with a call to action encourages more discussion (e.g., I am available at your earliest convenience for an interview).

Finding job opportunities in Canada

The ability to connect with anyone at any time is more prominent today than ever. So, there are countless sources to research and apply for job opportunities. Nowadays, most advertised jobs are online, which can expand your opportunities to new locations, remote positions, and more.

Places you can find job postings online include:

Still, not all jobs are listed online or advertised to the public. To give you more opportunities to find a position, it’s important to:

In the end, by taking the time to write a strong, customized job application and implementing these best practices, you can trust that you have given yourself a strong chance at landing an interview. Good luck!

Join over 10 million people who use LawDepot

  • Trust List Image


    Create unlimited customized legal documents

  • Trust List Image


    Securely save your documents and access them any time

  • Trust List Image


    Call our free help center with technical support questions

Start for free

Table of Contents