Dealing with application forms

Many employers now use application forms as well as – or instead of – your CV. It allows them to compare candidates more easily and means they can ask for exactly the information they want to know.

Filling in lots of application forms may seem boring and time-consuming but, unfortunately, there is no short cut. You need to spend both time and effort on an application form if you want to beat off the competition from all the other candidates wanting the same job.Before you start

The sooner you start, the sooner you finish – right? Not in this case. Before you even start to fill in any application form, make sure you do the following:

  • Read all the documentation sent by the company and re-read the original job advert. Some companies will also send you a detailed job description. Looking through these will help you understand what skills and experience you need for the job.
  • Read the form carefully all the way through. Do not write on the application; instead, jot down any ideas or notes as you go along.
  • Make sure you understand what each question is asking – it is easy to misinterpret what you are being asked.
  • Pay attention to any instructions – do they ask you to use black ink or BLOCK CAPITALS? Do you have to list your qualifications in any particular order?
  • Check the deadline – aim to have the form in the post at least four days before the cut-off date. Do not leave it until the last minute before you start to complete the form, you will be more likely to rush it and make mistakes. Remember – most employers will not accept late application forms.

Dealing with application forms

The form itself

Online application forms: Dos and Don’ts