Job Application FormsFind your PERFECT POSTGRAD PROGRAM
Whilst many jobs ask for a cover letter and a CV , some jobs will have job application forms involved. At first these can seem a hassle but often it’s simply a case of typing the things on your CV into the relevant areas. Plus, they often give you a lot more room to talk about your skills and will give your potential employer a much broader, and more complete, overview of you. The reason companies will often use forms over CVs is they’re easier to compare, as they’re all formatted the same.
How to Fill in a Job Application Form
The one main thing you should take away from this article: when filling in job application forms, follow the instruction exactly. If you do this, you’re already going to be doing well.
But let’s look in more detail at how to fill in a job application form.
#1 Always do a draft
If it’s an online form, draft the answers in a word-editing program before inputting them. If it’s handwritten, take a photocopy to draft on, and then rewrite it. This is especially important with a handwritten form as there’s no backspace in real life, so we want to avoid crossing words out.
Proofread it, and if you have friends available and time to do so, get a friend to proofread it too. Basic spelling and grammar mistakes can cost you the role even if everything else about your application shines, so double check things such as there/their, the use of apostrophes, and so on. The best part of getting a friend to double check is that they may think of things to include that you haven’t, because they’re not hindered by any attempt to be modest.
#3 Take a copy
If it’s online, save a copy in a word-editing program, and if it’s handwritten, photocopy the completed form. This way, if you are called for an interview, you’ll be able to remember what you wrote in your form and what they may bring up. This is especially useful if you answered any situation based questions (ie ‘talk about a time when...’) in case they mention it!
#4 Personal Statement
Many job application forms have space for a personal statement . This is a big blank box, often with a word limit. No matter how wonderful you think you are, stick to the word limit. If it’s too long, employers are likely to skim it rather than read it with interest. Don’t just repeat what the rest of the form already says about you either, the personal statement is your chance to shine, to talk about what makes you the ideal candidate for the role.
#5 Reasons for Leaving
Often, when filling in the sections on employment, you’ll notice a box that asks for reasons for leaving. Be honest, but not too honest. If you left a career because you hated your boss – don’t write that! Answers like ‘My boss was terrible’, ‘it was boring’ and ‘hours too long’ are not going to make you look appealing. That said, don’t just make up something, especially if you’ve got that company as a reference. Instead, look through the following examples and base your answer around these.
- Went back into education
- Change of career path
- Needed a full-time role
- Looking for more responsibility
- Moved on to higher paying role.
As a recent graduate, your most likely reason will be either ‘focusing on education’ or ‘returned to education’
#6 Gaps in Employment
Do you have any gaps in your employment history? As a recent graduate, this may be unlikely, but let’s say you took a year out after completing your degree. Don’t just ignore this fact, instead you should mention (briefly) what you did. If you went on a gap year, you may even be able to spin it into a learning experience.
#7 Skills and Abilities
Generally, you want to ensure that any skills and abilities you list are relevant to the job. Most jobs have further information available, which will usually list what skills are essential and which are desirable. Make sure you mention these! For instance, if it’s essential you are a fast typer – explicitly include the words ‘fast typer’ in this section. Not sure what kind of skills employers are looking for? Here’s a list of some common ones
- Self-motivation, ability to work alone
- Communication (verbal and written)
- Planning and Organisational Skills
- Problem Solving
-Creativity (ie being able to think ‘outside the box’)
- IT skills (and specific subsets thereof, like databases)
Of course, don’t just list these, make sure you can back them all up, and do add in anything else you think of!
Finally, references. Make sure before listing your references that you have contacted them and that they are OK with being listed. Also, ensure any contact details are up to date and working.
With all this in mind, you should have no issue in filling in any job application forms that come your way. Good luck!
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