Filling in Application forms

Many employers prefer people to complete an application form rather than send in a CV. From an employer’s perspective this has the advantage of enabling them to:

  • deter unsuitable/unmotivated applicants;
  • create a focus on areas relevant to the job;
  • control information that applicants provide on areas relevant to the job; and
  • compare potential applicants.

Some application forms ask for a personal statement. Employers often specify the type of information they expect to be covered in this section but where no direction is offered you need to provide:

  • reasons for your interest in the role and in the organisation; and
  • evidence that you have the skills, knowledge and experience required.

Hints and tips for completing application forms

  • Read the form through carefully and note any specific instructions.
  • Draft answers in a word processing document first; then transfer them to the application form. This will enable you to check for spelling and grammatical errors and word count.
  • Tailor your answers to relate to the job description and the person specification.
  • Think about why the employer may be asking a particular question. What information is being sought? If the question is competency-based (i.e. asking for a particular example of when you did something) what skill is being assessed?
  • Use different examples for different questions.
  • Stick to word limits and always keep a copy of the form so that you can revisit what you wrote if asked to attend an interview.