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Application Form Jobs

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Some employers ask for an application form instead of a CV. Application forms allow employers to compare candidates easily, as they are all answering the same questions. Many public sector organisations use application forms but some private sector ones do too.
It is good practise not to send an incomplete application form with your CV attached. If the employer has requested you complete a full application form then that’s what they want and that’s what you should do! By simply attaching your CV you are suggesting you could not be bothered to make the effort to out their application form and that you can’t follow simple instructions which does not make for a very good first impression.
  • Follow the instructions given on the application form. If you don’t, the employer will probably not even read it. If the instructions request that you write in black ink or in block capitals then do so!
  • Do not send a covering letter if there is a section on the application form where you can provide additional information such as why you want to work for them or what other skills you can bring to their organisation. If there isn’t an additional information section then you should really include a covering letter explaining why you want to work for them and what skills and experience you posses and which of those you feel will benefit their business.
  • Never use the original form straight away! Always photocopy the form and do practise runs. When you come to fill in the real version you will need to get it right first time as making mistakes, crossing out or using tippex are huge no no’s!
  • Always write neatly. If your handwriting is difficult to read you should use block capitals or just type if possible although a clever employer may see through this.
  • Always use black ink. Black ink is easier to read especially if the employer photocopies it.
  • Keep the original form neat and tidy! Don’t leave it lying around for people to spill food on or put coffee cups on. Keeping out the reach of children and pets is always a good idea.
  • Grammatical errors and spelling are some of the main reasons for applications being rejected. Ask someone to check over your TEST version (as above) before filling out the original and then get them to read it again before sending.
  • Remember to photocopy the form before you send it. For any interviews you will need it to remind yourself what you wrote
  • Use a large envelope will save you folding the form up and making it look untidy.
  • Make sure you get your work history and education dates correct as if these are checked later and come back different it won’t reflect well on you.
  • If the application form does not give you enough space to put all the relevant information into then continue on a separate piece of paper. Put your name on this sheet and attach it to the main form and add a reference at the top showing what part of the form it is relevant to
  • Always read the questions carefully. Make sure you understand exactly what the employer is asking you for. To get an idea you should refer back to the job description and candidate specification.
  • Make sure you answer all questions carefully.
  • Use examples of your work and personal history – this shows you have real working examples and that you can demonstrate to people.
  • Fill in every part of the form. If there is a section that doesn’t apply to you, write N/A (not applicable) in the box. At the very least this shows you have read and understood the question but it does not apply to your person or skills any and therefore you cannot provide an answer.
  • Use active language skills and try to use verbs rather than nouns. Short sentences and short words read better than long and drawn out waffling. Also avoid jargon or trying to be funny!
  • Always start with your most recent qualifications and work chronologically.
  • Make sure you include the grades you achieved if they where A-C. However if you didn’t get a particularly good grade and you are not asked specially for them you can just list them as subjects you passed.
  • List your jobs in date order, starting with your present or most recent job
  • Point out the main responsibilities you had in these roles and any significant achievements. It’s also pleasing to read power words like ‘overhauled’, ‘delivered’, ‘exceeded’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘implemented’, ‘instrumental’, ‘directed’ and ‘led the team’ or project managed’ .
  • If you’ve had a number of jobs or space is limited just summarise them briefly.
  • Choose activities that reflect your personality and show you’re interesting and capable.
  • Good examples of what to put in this section include membership of societies, social clubs, sports clubs; and voluntary work. Try to list interests that match the job you are applying for.
  • Don’t list over the top achievements especially if they are not true! No one likes a show off but a liar is even worse.
  • Don’t include things like political views or religious beliefs. You may be proud of your beliefs but the employer may not thinks much of them
Most application forms contain a section where you can include other relevant information to accompany your application. Read the instructions carefully on what they want from you and ask yourself it is they are looking for from your answers. Again always refer back to the job description and person specification about the job and ensure you address relevant points. A website about the employer is a sure way for you see what the working environment is like and what they expect from their employees.
  • Make sure your CV or application form is easy to read and well laid out.
  • Relevant additional skills and experience ( always include relevant examples)
  • What attracted you to this particular job (never just say “the money”).
  • What you are offering the employer in terms of skills and abilities.
  • What your long-term aims and career goals are.
  • Most application forms ask for two references to be made available. They might need to be employers, or one may need to be an academic or even a personal referee
  • Check with your referees first that it’s ok with them and let them know what job you are applying for and that someone may be contacting them
The law about criminal records is complicated and you should get advice from careers advisors or the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. If your convictions are not ‘spent’ you should disclose them. For more Ex-Offenders information click here
Yes is the short answer. Always be honest about health information. Employers are trying to find out if a medical check is necessary and if it is safe for you to the job. If you have any doubts about health questions speak to your G.P.
Organisations often ask you to tell them your ethnic origin. This should never be used for selection purposes. It is a good way for human resources departments to check they are receiving applications from all sections of the community.
Fill in online forms with the same care and attention as handwritten ones. Here are a few additional hints and tips which you may find useful:
  • Keep a copy of any passwords you will need to access a website.
  • Use a spell checker to go over your form looking for errors.
  • Keep a copy of the form refer to before interview.
  • Always make sure the info you send will be secure by checking a websites privacy policy. If they don’t have one you should contact them asking why not.
  • Never use a jokey or silly email address to send an online form such as [email protected]!
  • Check and double check! Before sending pay particular attention to drop-down menus and the information you have given. Once it’s gone there is no way to get it back!
Even though you are using the UKs fastest job search filling in your first application form may take most of the day for the first time. After you have done it a few times like anything it should start taking less time as you will be familiar with your skills, experience, strengths and weaknesses. You might also be able to cut and paste certain information into other applications. But make sure it’s relevant and doesn’t mention the wrong employer or job!
To send us your CV please register it online by using our online form here and of course this will give you plenty of practise!