Applying for a job doesn’t always mean sending off a CV. There are increasing numbers of employers who are using the application form as their preferred means of recruitment and selection. Whilst for some employers that may mean the traditional paper application form, but for others it may consist of an application form completed and submitted online.
In various articles we have featured over the last few months, we have given tips, guidance and hopefully some good advice on creating and perfecting your CV but have not as yet given any guidance on application forms…until today that is. We have put together here some basic Top Tips to help you Complete that Job Application Form which will hopefully get you to the next stage – the job interview itself.
Some of these tips may seem fairly obvious but having worked in HR myself, I have often seen examples of application forms where even the most basic mistakes are made which automatically relegate your application to the “unsuccessful “ pile.
PLAN YOUR TIME
Unlike a CV, where generally once it is completed, it is often just popped in the post or emailed through to a prospective employer, an application form can take much more time. It is really important that you dedicate sufficient time to completing it. It is not just a matter of copying bits from your CV across. Many of the questions are as detailed as you would get in a face to face interview and therefore preparation is key.
COPY THE ORIGINAL FORM
Photocopy your form and complete a draft version before you complete and submit the real thing. Likewise if it is an online form, complete your answers in Word and then copy and paste them into your application. You might think it is an exaggeration to say that applications are sent off with lines scored through, with Tippex marks or even with coffee stains. But believe me, it happens!
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS THOROUGHLY
This may seem fairly obvious, however many applicants fail to do this and therefore fall at the first hurdle. Before you even contemplate answering anything, it is absolutely critical that you read all the instructions e.g. are block capitals required, must it be completed in black ink etc. If it is an online form, it will usually give you an indication of how long it is likely to take to complete, and whether or not you can save it if only partially completed – all essential information for you to know. Check when the closing date is and adhere to it. It is a complete waste of time and effort to complete a form and then to submit it too late for consideration.
If you are asked to complete all sections, then do that. If something is not applicable, then declare that in the relevant section.
For online applications in particular, leaving certain fields blank may mean that you don’t get through to the next stage in the process, irrespective of the content of the rest of your form. Companies often use filters which screen the online forms received and failure to complete all required sections could actually filter you out of the entire process.
Check out page 2 for 3 more top tips…
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