Application forms

Application forms allow employers to receive the information they want from candidates in a manageable form. They vary in style from the more traditional approach which are similar to the headings on a CV. For example:

  • personal details
  • education
  • further/higher education
  • training and development
  • present and previous occupations
  • other information
  • referees.

...to those that ask just a few specific questions. For example:

  • What are you famous for?
  • What has been your greatest achievement? What is the biggest risk you've ever taken?
  • What gives you a buzz, what do you really enjoy?
  • How would your friends describe you?

Don't be tempted to attach a CV instead of completing the application form. It may save you effort, but it can increase the effort needed on the part of the employer. You may well be rejected without further consideration!

Use MyCareerExplorer's application planning module to improve your applications.

Preparing to complete an application form

Before you start to complete an application form:

  1. Find out basic information about the organisation (size, locations, head office, products, services, mission etc.).
  2. Read the job description and person specification thoroughly - what skills are required?
  3. Match the requirements to your own personal transferable skills and achievements using work experience, academic study and interests to support your arguments.
  4. Follow the basic rules for completing application forms.

Application forms - basic rules

  • Read instructions carefully. Do a draft first.
  • Use dark ink and write legibly (often employers photocopy application forms).
  • Check spelling and punctuation.
  • Complete all sections, ensuring your strengths are well covered.
  • Highlight your personal transferable skills and achievements.
  • Be concise.
  • Do not enclose your CV - employers have application forms because they want you to complete them.
  • Ensure there are no time gaps.
  • Avoid generalisations. Ensure your answers are relevant, with examples.
  • Keep a copy. It will be needed if an interview is offered and you may be able to use some of your responses for other applications.

Make sure all your relevant skills and experience are covered, use any 'additional information' sections if necessary.

Online applications

Employers are increasingly offering the flexibility to apply online. The same rules apply as for paper application forms. Always read the instructions and check the content for spelling, punctuation and grammar before pressing the "send" button.

Check what the employer wants to receive. Some employers request a covering letter by email with your CV attached. Other employers have an online application form.

Access our resources and advice on MyCareerExplorer for planning your application. Log-in using your NTU ID and password.

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