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Applying for a job Menu

Application forms

An Application Form, either paper based or online, is a document you complete when wishing to be considered for a specific post.

Some employers will ask you to fill in an application form instead of sending a CV.  It is as important as a CV.

So, if you don’t want your application form to go on the ‘no’ pile, then here are some tips. Application forms are normally available:

  • as a paper copy sent to you in the post (not very common any more but smaller employers may use them);
  • as an electronic copy sent by email; or
  • online via a website (many large companies, e.g. supermarkets and large high street retail outlets, will have online application processes).

Employers use application forms to assess your specific skills, experience and qualities so make sure you answer all the questions fully, giving examples of when and how you have demonstrated them. They will also be looking at your spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Remember … this is your first chance to impress the employer!
It is important to match your skills and experience to the job description and to the required qualifications and skills. For a small company, these may only be found in the job advert; for larger companies, they may have written a job description and person specification.

Larger employers, particularly those with online application processes will give you guidance on how to fill out their application form.

Below are some hints and tips for completing an application form:

Applying for a job – Application Form Tips

General tips

  • Always check the instructions for filling in the application form
  • Read over the job advert again and make sure the information you include on the form is relevant
  • Answer all questions and fill in all the boxes
  • Include skills that you have developed outside work
  • Keep a copy of your form so that you can see what you have written. This is especially useful for when you ask for feedback about your application/ interview
  • Ask someone to check your form before you submit it

Online application tips

  • When you first register your application on an organisation’s website you will usually be given a password which will enable you to save your work when you need a break. If you have a number of applications on the go, make sure you have some way of remembering all your passwords.
  • Modern online applications can usually be amended as many times as you want before the closing date and printed off, but this is not always the case.
  • Familiarise yourself with the particular application system before you start
  • Regularly copy your answers into another program such as Word to save them in case the system crashes. Also backup your answers in this way before submitting in case the system has timed out
  • Avoid filling in the form at the last minute because the organisation’s server could be overloaded and you may miss the deadline
  • Just like all applications, your answers should be formal and targeted at the skills required. The online system will probably restrict you to a particular text format (e.g. font size and style), be aware of this when you draft your answer.
  • Online applications are often less carefully completed than old-fashioned forms – do not fall into this trap
  • Make sure your spell-check is set to English UK not English USA
  • Use spell-check to check your spelling and personally check your spelling and grammar
  • Make sure you have answered every part of every question

Applying for University – Application Tips

The University of Brighton have some useful advice about the application process here


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