There are two main methods of applying for a job; application forms and CV’s. Application forms can be either ‘on-line’ or in hard copy formats. Employers use application forms to decide whom to invite for an interview. For the jobseeker, it is a great way by which they can communicate evidence in an attempt to show the employer that they meet the demands and requirements of the job.
Similar to a CV, an application form is a marketing tool which is used to sell your skills, abilities and experiences to a potential employer. The main aim of an application form is to ensure that you get an interview. If it fails to get you an interview, then perhaps you need to change your approach and try something different.
Even though employers have their own application form, they all tend to ask for the same information about you;
- Your education
- Your skills
- Your experience
- Why you are interested in the job
- What can you offer them
- Why should they employ you
- Your references
- Your hobbies and interests
Filling in application forms- general rules
- The first thing you need to do is to look through the job advert several times, so you understand what the job is about and what the employer is looking for. Make sure you highlight or underline and specific skills/qualities they list as either desirable or essential. Desirable skills might include being hardworking, reliable and patient. Essential skills might include possessing good IT skills, having a professional telephone manner or the ability to deal with the general public. It is then up to you show evidence that you possess these skills and how you have utilised them in the past.
- Sometimes when you have an application form in front of you, it can be tempting to list every single thing you have done since you were 10 years old. Naturally, you are proud of your achievements but don’t get carried away. You only have a short space in the form to record your response so make it good, otherwise you risk your application form being put in the bin. Be selective on your application form, so your most relevant skills and experiences are highlighted.
- In keeping with the previous point, it’s important to be selective but remember not to be too vague with your responses. A couple of bullet points or a sentence in a box asking you why you are perfect for the job won’t go down to well with the employer, especially if your unable to talk about your abilities. As with personal profiles on a CV, it’s important that when writing your answers to questions, you use positive action words/power phrases to sell yourself.