Steve Jobs: Apple founder and tech pioneer’s 1973 one-page job application sells for over £200,000 at auction

Jobs’ application is littered with spelling errors, but gives a fascinating insight into the life of one of history’s great tech pioneers

A job application written by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as a teenager has been sold for more than £200,000 by auctioneers Charterfields.

The one-page job application was filled out in 1973 when Jobs was 18, and was among the assets of London-based digital recruitment business, Sourcechain Technologies.

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Sold as part of a liquidation process on 24 March, the document first came into the possession of the company in 2018 when Sourcechain bought it for $179,000 (£134,000) in an effort to improve its Google search rankings.

Things could have been very different for the world had Jobs' been accepted into the role he was applying for (Photos: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Inquesta/Begbies Traynor/Charterfields)

The application was bought by tech entrepreneur Olly Joshi for £204,120 on behalf of a group of friends and fellow tech fans.

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Joshi described his purchase as “an incredible piece of history”, and said the application is “the only milestone document from this formative period in his life, and lays bare the birth of his direction and how he thought, on paper.

“It really makes you appreciate that any small deviation from the path he chose would have meant a very different world from the one that we exist in today,” he added. “It’s a crazy thought.”

It's not clear what role Jobs was applying for (Photo: Inquesta/Begbies Traynor/Charterfields)

Transportation is ‘possible, but not probobale’

Steven Wiseglass, one of Sourechain’s two joint liquidators, said that although the job application was “an unusual and quirky asset that would generate interest”, he was surprised by the large sum of money it fetched at auction.

“It sold for considerably more than the last time it was on the market,” he said, “so it is obviously regarded as something of great value.”

The application was made when Jobs had just dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and although it is unclear what role he was applying for, it does give clues as to his talents and future direction.

The document states his experience in “computers and calculators”, his abilities as an “electronic tech or design engineer.digital” [sic] and mentions Hewlett-Packard (Jobs had a summer job working on the tech giant’s production line at the age of 13).

Other interesting aspects of the application are that he notes he does not have a phone number and has a driving license but access to transportation is ”possible, but not probobale [sic].”

Had the application been successful, Jobs may not have taken what is recognised to have been his first role, as a technician at game start-up Atari in 1974, where he worked alongside Steve Wozniak before the pair left to set up Apple in 1976.

Kris Wigfield, another of Sourcechain’s joint liquidators, said knowing the “seismic impact” that Steve Jobs would go on to have with Steve Wozniak at Apple “makes this document very special indeed.”