Help with application forms

Application forms are a way for employers to find out specific information about you that they might not be able to get from your CV.

Usually, an employer will ask you to fill in an application form when they’re expecting to get a lot of applicants. This makes it very important to make sure your application form is the best it can possibly be.

How to get it right

There are a number of things you should do to make your form stand out from other applicants:

  • Make sure you have a spare copy of the application form so you can have a practice go to help reduce the number of mistakes you make. If the application form is online you could print a few copies. If it’s not online, you could get a photocopy instead.
  • Always read the whole application before you begin filling it in.
  • Always use blue or black pen, and make your handwriting as neat as possible.
  • Concentrate on listing achievements that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Ask for a second opinion from a trusted friend or family member.
  • Read your completed form before sending it off, carefully checking for grammar and spelling errors.
  • Keep a copy of your completed form so you can refer to what you’ve written in an interview.

There are also a few things you should try to avoid at all costs:

  • Don’t miss out any questions. Some may not be relevant, but you should at least add ‘not applicable’.
  • Don’t include your CV unless you’re specifically asked to, it’s just doubling up on information.
  • Don’t include anything you can’t back up at an interview.

Most application forms will use the same basic format as your CV, so a certain amount of copying can be done. There are however, certain areas that will require a little more thought.

Some more hints and tips

Wherever possible, highlight your responsibilities, strengths, skills and achievements. Sometimes there are general sections on an application form, such as ‘other Information’. This kind of selection gives you an extra chance to sell yourself. You could mention anything you’ve gained over your career such as awards or extra qualifications. They’ll all be useful factors to help you get invited for an interview.

If you’re asked to post the form back to the employer, it’s wise to include a cover letter within the envelope to introduce yourself and give a quick overview of why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Always aim to follow up your application with a phone call a few days after it’s been sent or submitted online. Be careful not to call too soon or too often though, employers may be impressed with your enthusiasm, but you don’t want to come across as pushy.

When applying for jobs make sure your cv and cover letter are also strong. Use our tips and templates to help.