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Careers Advice
5 min read

Getting Your Job Application Form Just Right!

When you want to apply for a job, you will usually be asked to complete an application form either online or handwritten in paper form. This allows the potential employer to see if you fit the criteria for the job which will include various factors such as skills you may have, qualifications gained as well as your previous employment details.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
May 19, 2024

When you want to apply for a job, you will usually be asked to complete an application form either online or handwritten in paper form. This allows the potential employer to see if you fit the criteria for the job which will include various factors such as skills you may have, qualifications gained as well as your previous employment details. The application form allows you to give clear and concise answers to the questions which although similar to a CV in some ways, is certainly not the same and you will usually be asked in addition to completing the application form, to have your CV ready which as outlined in previous articles, will be tailored specifically to align with the job that you are applying for.

If you hand write an application form and it is not to be completed online, you must ensure that you have a pen that will not smudge and also one that the ink will not run out half way through as no one wants to see an untidy application form with two different colours of ink. In most forms, black ink is advisable. It is also wise to make a rough copy of what your answers will be, which will help you complete the original form without any errors or forgetting to add important information. Read it through many times so as to make certain that you are happy with what you are about to put on the form that will be submitted. The finished product should be neat and tidy. Only use all capital letters if instructed to do so, otherwise write as you normally would, taking great care over punctuation and grammar. Avoid using any slang words or abbreviated terms - keep it professional and to the point throughout.

You will be asked to fill out your name, address and contact information. Personal details that are usually not required are date of birth and marital status as many employers have stopped asking for these but it is not unlawful. Usually when employers ask for personal information, it helps to monitor the diversity of their candidate pool or recruitment monitoring. It is often anonymised which limits the risk of discrimination or breaches of data protection.

Qualifications achieved from secondary school upwards will be asked for as well as employment history, starting with your current or most recent job and then going backwards. If you have had many jobs, you will not have to list each one unless they are relevant. Go back as far as either the page allows or what is specified on the form. For example, it may ask for details of your employment history for the past five years. You can include voluntary work in this section as well as paid employment as it all counts as work. Double check that all dates are correct in this section.

You may be asked to write a short paragraph about your hobbies or interests but you can use this to your advantage if you feel they may benefit you in the job that you are applying for. A good example is if you enjoy reading then it demonstrates your attention to detail and critical thinking skills which can help you to stand out in job interviews.

The details of two references are usually required. One will be from your current or previous employer and the second can sometimes be a character reference by someone who has known you in a professional capacity. Never be tempted to give the details of a family member or a close personal friend as these will not be accepted.

You could be asked to summarise why you want the job and what you can offer the company which is why you should plan in advance exactly what you would like to convey to the potential employer regarding your suitability. Showcase your skills, experience, strengths, values, goals and ambitions to convey how your personality and the type of individual you are, will be invaluable to the company.

After completing the form and checking it yet again, now all there is left to do is submit it according to the employer's instructions, ensuring you attach any required documents or certificates that have been requested.

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