Documents You Need When Applying For A Job

When it comes to landing your dream job, the first step is the application process. To ensure your application stands out, you need to gather the necessary supporting documents. 

These documents provide crucial information about your qualifications and work experience. They help recruiters assess your suitability for the position by comparing your credentials to the job requirements. Don’t miss out on an opportunity due to an incomplete application.

Understanding Supporting Documents

In a competitive job market with numerous candidates, submitting supporting documents is essential. These documents offer a comprehensive overview of your relevant qualifications and work experience. Recruiters rely on them to determine the best candidates for the job.

Documents You Need When Applying for a Job

Although the required documents may vary depending on the job, there are two essential ones you should always have:

Curriculum Vitae (CV):

Also known as a resume, your CV is a summary of your work experience, qualifications, skills, and contact details. It serves as your first impression on recruiters, so make sure it’s well-crafted and up-to-date.

Cover Letter:

A cover letter allows you to highlight your skills and experiences in more detail. It’s an opportunity to explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job and how your experience aligns with the position.

Additional Documents Employers Might Request

To make a positive impression, avoid overwhelming recruiters with excessive documents. However, keep the following documents on hand in case they are requested:


Your formal qualifications demonstrate your training and expertise. Even if you’ve mentioned them in your CV, employers may ask for supporting documentation, especially if you’re a recent graduate.

Matric Certificate:

For most job applications, a matric certificate is a basic requirement. Keep a copy readily available to prove your completion of secondary education.

Job Reference List:

A job reference list includes the names, positions, and contact details of your previous employers. It provides valuable insights into your work ethic and skills.

Letter of Recommendation:

A letter of recommendation can be particularly beneficial for graduates, individuals with limited experience, or volunteers. It serves as a testimonial from a previous employer or lecturer, endorsing your suitability for the job.

Job-Specific Documents for Specialized Roles

Certain careers and industries may require additional documents. Consider including the following if applicable:


A portfolio is crucial for creative careers such as photography, content writing, fashion modelling, and graphic design. It showcases your best work and demonstrates your capabilities.

Driver’s License:

While not all jobs require a driver’s license, certain positions, such as driving roles, do. Ensure your license is relevant to the job requirements.

Documents Required for International Job Applications

If you’re applying for a job abroad, you may need additional certifications along with the aforementioned documents. It’s essential to check with the employer for specific requirements. Common documents include:

Valid Passport:

To travel abroad, you need a passport for identification and to legally enter another country. Ensure your passport is valid and up to date.

Work Visa:

For working in a foreign country, you’ll typically require a work visa. Different types of visas exist, such as tourist, study, and work visas. Make sure your work visa is valid for the intended duration of your employment.

By preparing these essential documents, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the job application process effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

While it’s important to tailor your CV to the job requirements, including all your qualifications can demonstrate your diverse skill set and commitment to personal development. However, prioritize relevant qualifications and highlight them prominently to make a stronger impact.

Yes, there are general guidelines for CV formatting. Use a clear and professional font, organize sections logically, and ensure consistent formatting throughout. Keep your CV concise, ideally within two pages, and use bullet points to highlight key information for easy readability.

It’s generally advisable to customize your cover letter for each job application. Tailoring your cover letter allows you to address specific job requirements, highlight relevant experiences, and demonstrate a genuine interest in the position and company.

If you lack work experience, focus on highlighting your transferable skills gained through education, volunteering, internships, or extracurricular activities. 

Consider including academic projects or personal initiatives that showcase your abilities. For references, you can ask professors, mentors, or community leaders who know you well and can vouch for your character and potential.

In most cases, digital submissions are preferred. Check the job application instructions or the company’s website for specific guidelines. 

Typically, you’ll be asked to submit your documents electronically via email or an online application portal. However, if a company specifically requests hard copies, ensure they are neatly printed and appropriately packaged for mailing.

Author: Megan Dreyer
Date Published: June 8, 2023