A career planning and employment resource for people who are blind or partially sighted

Résumés and Applications Tip Sheet

Once you’ve found job leads, you’ll want to apply for open positions. How you present yourself on paper or virtually (in attachments to email or postings to job boards, for example) tells an employer a lot about you. The employer learns whether you follow instructions well, how well you articulate your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), what you know about the job opening and how well you match the employer’s idea of a “perfect worker” for the position.

The employer can also learn about your ability to express yourself well in writing – whether you use proper grammar, spell words correctly and easily get your points across. You’re trying to encourage an employer to offer you an interview by building “a paper trail”. The following tips can help you complete applications, résumés, CVs, or qualification briefs.

  • Compile your personal data on paper or in an electronic file.
    You will be asked for this personal information repeatedly during the job search process. Format the information clearly and logically so that you’ll be able to easily retrieve it and someone else can follow it, if you need sighted assistance to complete a hard copy application. Include anything you think might be asked for on an application, such as:
    • your full name as you want it to appear on applications
    • your complete address
    • all telephone numbers with country and area codes
    • your email address
    • your educational background (the names of schools or training programs you’ve attended, addresses and phone numbers for those programs, relevant classes or certificates/licenses, and contact people or offices with contact information)
    • your work background (where you’ve worked, what your job title was, for whom you worked and contact information, what your job duties were, what salary you received, the hours that you worked a week, the reason you left the job, etc.)
    • your special talents or abilities that are relevant to the job you’re applying for
  • Use your personal data compilation to complete online applications.

    Always save a copy of completed applications before you submit them – either print it or save it to a folder on your computer. If you have time and resources, have someone else review your applications before you submit them (be sure to share the job posting and job description with that person). If there is no one to help you, set aside time to review your application yourself before you submit it. It’s usually best to give yourself a few hours or a day between the time you complete an application and when you review it. If you don’t have the luxury of time, at least re-read what you’ve written on any application before submitting it; check for spelling, accuracy of the information you’ve shared, and details that identify you as an appropriate candidate for the open position.

  • Note: If you need someone with sight to assist you in completing applications (to act as a reader and/or scribe), print out your personal data and hand that off to the person helping you so that he or she can simply copy from your printed sheet to the application – that way you minimize the risk of any helper making errors on your application. Remember, no matter who technically completes the application, if you sign it - it’s yours - and you’ll be held accountable for whatever is on the application submitted.

  • Use your personal data to help you prepare a résumé or CV.

    If you’ve submitted an application, remember that the résumé or CV is a tool that you can take to your interview as a supplement to the application which reinforces your attributes (what makes you a good candidate for the job). If you’re using it to supplement an application, your résumé should be short (a page, front and back, at maximum) and shouldn’t duplicate what’s on your application. It should contain additional information that wasn’t requested on the application or synthesize the highlights from your personal data that you want to underscore for the employer.

  • If you’re submitting a résumé instead of an application, it should contain all of the information and details about your work and educational background that will be needed to convince an employer that you’re qualified for the position. And it will likely be longer than the one-page version.

    As with an application, you’ll want to review the job posting and job description to cull out key words that you can use in your résumé or CV that identify you as a worthy job candidate. Most résumés or CVs are presented chronologically – detailing your most recent work and educational credentials first and working back to the beginning of your career. Chronological résumés work well if you’ve had consistent and positive work experiences and relevant training.

    If you don’t have a consistent or positive work history, a qualifications brief may be better. This provides an employer with your information and highlights your knowledge, skills, and abilities without a chronological reporting on your work experience. With qualifications briefs, job candidates will provide examples for employers of how they have used their KSAs in life experiences or volunteer work.

For more information or examples of the items discussed on this tip sheet, please refer to the Preparing for Work Resources section.​​​