Application forms fact sheet
Application forms and letters made easy
The application process is a convenient way for employers to compare and contrast
difference candidates. This means we all have to learn how to present ourselves
well on paper. Even if very little writing comes into the job you want, you
will have to get over the hurdle of the application form in order to get an
interview. Most people dread having to project themselves and find it doubly
hard to do so in written form. Every application needs to be positive, well-written
and clear about what you have to offer.
The whole purpose of completing an application form is to impress an employer
enough to win yourself a place at interview. The form needs to be completed
after thinking about the position and should try to present your skills and
experience in the light of what is required for the job.
How to fill in application forms
Before you start, re-read
all the information about the job that you have been sent. Think through what
you are offering the employer and match this
to the kind of person that they seem to be looking for.
Application forms are divided into different sections, each of which is concerned
with a different subject. These normally include: personal details (name, address
etc); qualifications; work experience; interests and details of your referees.
There will typically be a question about why you want the job, or room for
you to make a statement about how you feel you fit the vacancy. This is the
key part of the form as it invites you to sell yourself as the best applicant
for the job. You need to work your way through any job description and person
specification sent as part of the application pack to show how you satisfy
each of the skills and aptitudes required. You need examples to back up any
claims you make.
There may be additional paperwork to complete such as an equal opportunities
Dos and Don'ts
- Do start each application afresh with energy and enthusiasm.
- Do complete the form in draft before writing the final version.
- Do allow yourself plenty of time to complete and check the form.
- Do answer the questions on the form fully to do justice to your skills
- Do take your time over the form – errors of spelling or grammar
are never impressive.
- Do show enthusiasm, being half-hearted will not help to sell
you to the employer.
- Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket – keep
applying for different jobs that interest you.
- Don’t lose track of your applications – be organised about
- Don’t waffle or use pretentious language, your jargon may not
- Don’t be vague, use concrete examples of your achievements and
create pictures for the reader.
- Don’t take short cuts to filling in the form, you need to give
it time and energy for an application to be successful.
- Don’t undersell yourself – the employer can only compare
you to other applicants by what you write on the form.
Points to remember
- If there is a person specification, make
sure that you show exactly how you satisfy each point on it.
- Employers need to know all about you from your application
form if they are to invite you for interview – they will only know
what you tell them.
- Selling yourself depends upon strong statements, enthusiastic language and
clarity about what you have to offer.
- Think about the job from the employers' point
of view and consider what information will have the most impact on them.
- Approach each application form sincerely and with a positive attitude. If
it is worth completing, it is worth completing properly.
Adapted from "Preparing the perfect Job application" by Rebecca Corfield, 5th edition, published in 2009
ISBN No. 978-0-7494-5653-5
Click here for a printer friendly version of this fact sheet