| Application forms
Many people try to rush when filling in job applications – make sure you allow enough time to prepare, fill in the form and check it before you submit it.
Steps ➢ Steps to great application forms
1. Get together all your documents and an up-to-date CV.
2. Read the form carefully and note what it asks you to do
3. Fill in the form.
4. Check the form and, if possible, ask someone else to proofread your work.
5. Try to answer all the questions, even if you think they are irrelevant or repetitive.
6. Most application forms leave a large blank space where they ask you to say something about your reasons for applying and what you can bring to the job. Make full use of this space – if you only write a couple of lines you have lost a golden opportunity to promote yourself and say what interests you about the job and the company.
7. Prepare thoroughly before you start filling in the form
8. Make sure you have everything you might need, including:
▪ A CV, tailored to the job and saved in an appropriate format. It is a good idea to use your name and the job title in the file name when you save it
▪ details of qualifications, and what you've studied
▪ dates of current and previous employment and employers’ names
▪ a cover letter
▪ An appropriate email address.
▪ If you have to upload documents, make sure they are in a suitable format, such as .doc, .txt, .pdf or .rtf.
Electronic job application forms
Many job applications are done online using one or more of these options:
▪ emailing your cover letter and CV
▪ downloading a form to fill out, and then uploading it to a website
▪ filling in a web-based application form, which may be several screens
▪ registering with a website using social media information from, for example, a Facebook or LinkedIn account
▪ creating an online account with a job board or company. Some companies profile those who register with them and send notifications when suitable vacancies arise.
Filling in the electronic form
When you have everything assembled, go to the website and read all the instructions provided with the application form.
• Register and log in, if required, and save a copy of your username and password somewhere secure.
• Some electronic applications include online tests so be prepared!
• If possible, download a copy of the form and practise filling it out.
• Fill in the form following all instructions on the screen.
• Save your work if the program allows you to.
• Have a document open on your computer and copy and paste everything you’re filling in online as you go. Save your document when you have finished filling out the form, so you have a record of what you have said in your application.
• When you have finished filling in the form, check your work and ask someone else to also check it.
• Submit the application.
Make sure your CV format is suitable by:
• putting your contact details at the top of your CV, not in the header or footer
• formatting your employment history – start with the employer name, job title and the dates of your employment
• summarising your key skills. Use bullet points and make sure you prioritise them in descending order of relevance for the job
• including memberships to industry organisations
• not using images, tables, abbreviations or fancy formatting.
• plenty of white space
• a file extension such as .doc, .txt, .pdf or .rtf when you save the document.
• boxes or shading
• fancy fonts
• formatting such as bold, italic or underline.
• Be sure to read the questions carefully and answer them. If a question includes two or three sub-questions answer all of them.
• Write your first draft independent of the application form and check it for spelling and grammar
• Use spell checks, but be wary of them. If you write ‘from' instead of ‘form', for example, it will not be picked up. For UK applications avoid those that introduce American spellings like ‘organize' and ‘center'.
• Cut and paste your answers onto the form.
• Be careful if you are taking material from another application not to include the name of the other organisation. This is the quickest way to the reject pile.
• Don't waffle. Keep your answers succinct. Edit them for unnecessary words.
• Include key verbs relating to the job like organised, supervised, and liaised. Some employers scan for key words and reject forms not including them.
• Your final check should always be to read it through in every detail