Find advice to help you complete application forms successfully. This includes practical hints and tips on preparation and research, meeting the job requirements, and describing qualifications.
Whether you are completing an application form for a provisional driving license, a passport, a place at university or a job there are a few golden rules that should be followed. These apply to both paper application forms and those online, which are becoming more and more common.
When completing application forms you need to take your time and plan how you are going to complete the form and what information you are going to include. It is vital to fully understand what each question is looking for, how to provide evidence from what you do in and out of school and note all the word restrictions and instructions.
So let’s imagine you are applying for a job and follow these simple steps.
- Read the form and its instructions before you do anything else. Bring all the information and details you need together before attempting to complete the form. It can be useful to photocopy/print the form to use for practice.
- Look at the job description. What qualifications and skills is the employer looking for? What are the main competencies being sought? Can you match them?
- Use black ink unless it asks for another colour. Write legibly, sometimes this is easier if you use capitals. Try to leave some space around your text so that it is visually more attractive and interesting to read.
- Use bullet points if possible, as these are easier to read. Emphasise the key points by using bold, CAPITALS or underlining, but not all three.
- Do not miss out any sections. If some sections are not applicable then mark accordingly. If you do not have the specific qualifications or experience asked for then explain that what you offer is of equal value.
- There will be a space for qualifications. Some sections will not be big enough so unless told not to do so, list the information on an additional sheet. If this is not possible only list your most recent and/or relevant qualifications.
- Use the section ‘other information’ to highlight your other strengths, interests, and experience that you can’t fit elsewhere. Completing this section fully shows the thought that you have given your application.
- Try to get someone else to read your form to check that it is legible and use spelling/grammar checks.
- Complete the form and return it before the closing date with a short covering letter. This letter is another opportunity to indicate your interest and suitability for the job by showing how you match the key requirements.
- Keep a copy of your completed form and read this again before you go for interview.