Application Form Tips

Application Forms can provide a useful tool for organisations to assess candidates’ suitability for a role. It also allows a really valuable opportunity for prospective employees to expand on their background, experience and personality.

Ensure you meet the requirements for the job - it seems obvious, but the first thing your prospective employer will be looking for is evidence that you meet all the qualities and essential skills that the role requires. Keep in mind that applying for a job that you do not have the necessary skills for, is a waste of time for both you and the employer. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to contact your recruiter with any questions or reservations you might have in relation to your application.

Do your research - an easy way to impress the reader of your application form is to show that you understand a little bit about the company; its history, what it does and how it operates. It’s likely that one of the questions will ask why you’re applying for the role. This is the perfect opportunity for you to use this research to express what aspects of the organisation, and the role, appeal to you and why you want to work for them.

Quality not quantity - whilst it’s not recommended that one word/line answers are given, it’s important that you don’t just fill your application for the sake of it. Employers may be swamped with applications and the more concise your answers are, the better.

Qualifications - ensure that your qualifications are up to date and complete. Don’t be tempted to change results or grades as you may get caught out when the organisation asks for proof of these (this is also a useful opportunity to check you have all your relevant certificates to hand)

Education/employment history - your application should include a full and chronological history of employment and education; from school to higher education and employment, where applicable. If there are any gaps in your employment history say what you were doing during that time, for example bringing up children, studying, retraining. Remember, any gaps may be highlighted at your interview so it’s important to be prepared for this.

Answer the questions that are asked - again, it seems obvious but it can be so easy to go off topic when you’re writing your application. Whilst you might be eager to demonstrate a particular strength, if it’s not relevant to the question then don’t include it in your answer. The chances are that there will be another, more suitable, opportunity within the application form for you to illustrate your achievements and/or qualities.

Important final checks - accurate spelling and good grammar are crucial to a successful application. Bad spelling and grammar implies laziness and gives the impression that the candidate doesn’t care enough about the application to take the time to make corrections. Bear in mind, that if your application does not read well, whoever is reading it will be left with a bad impression. If it’s a hand-written application, make sure you write a rough draft and get someone to take a look at it before you send it off. Similarly, if the application is online, use spellcheck tools and consider emailing it to a friend for a second opinion.

Photocopy or print out the finished application form, so you have a record of what you’ve written as you may need to refer back to it at interview stage.

Take note of the closing date and make sure that you send your application form to arrive in good time (if it has to go by post, check you have used the correct postage!)

Online Applications – many organisations now use their own online recruitment software, so that you can submit your details directly to them by completing an online form. Whilst this can have its benefits – many systems will retain your basic details for use with future applications – you do need to be sure that you opt for a “print-out” of your application once you’ve completed it, so that you have a record of what you’ve submitted.

Need more advice? Return to our Job Seekers Advice page, or head straight to our Vacancies page to see what we have on offer!