How to fill out a first-class application form
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We all know that application forms are hard work and that if we don’t get it right, we have zero chance of an interview. Beating the algorithm (be it a human or computerised one!) is a skill that takes practice, but if you give yourself the time and
space to complete a good application form, you are on the right track to getting that all sought after interview.
Here are some tips to helping you create a strong application form.
- Get into the right “head space” first, remember this isn’t a chore, this is possibly your next job!
- Make sure you find a quiet, comfortable place and give yourself enough time to fill in the form.
- Read all the instructions thoroughly before starting and follow them exactly. There is no space for cheating in an application form.
- Save your progress at every possible opportunity!
- To make sure your spelling is correct, spell-check, spell-check and spell-check again. If spell-check isn’t available on the online form, write your text in Word and spell-check it there. Then copy and paste it into the form.
- Avoid shortcuts like copying and pasting text from your CV. Make the effort to ensure that you are evidencing the Essential Criteria on the Job Description and/or Person Spec and back your statements up with current examples.
- For each point, provide specific examples of how your skills and experience is relevant to the job. Remember not to “waffle” on! Keep your answers concise and to the point.
- Don’t use negative statements. If you don’t have the specific experience required, try to provide an example that demonstrates similar skills or experience instead. For example, rather than saying, “I have no experience in using NHS database systems”,
you might say, “Although I don’t have direct experience of using NHS database systems, I’ve used a number of databases in my previous roles – including Access and in-house databases. As a result, I have a good understanding of database systems,
and I’ve shown I can learn a new system quickly."
Avoid falling at the final hurdle
- Once you’ve filled in the form, carefully check that you’ve answered all the questions to the best of your ability.
- Make it clear which job you’re applying for, including any reference numbers.
- Make sure you’ve completed, saved and sent the form to the employer before the closing date.
- If you’re sending a form by post, use an envelope big enough to take the form without folding. (A4 is usually fine.) Remember that the postage you pay will depend on the size and weight of the form – so get it weighed at the Post Office. Employers
aren’t likely to cover unpaid postage charges in order to receive your application.