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CVs

Top Tips for Completing Application Forms

 

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Just like in a CV, paying attention to spelling and grammar is critical. Spelling mistakes simply show lack of care and attention to detail to a prospective employer. If you are aware that your spelling is not that great, then use a spellcheck function first or get someone else to check over your form for you. If it is a handwritten form, make sure your handwriting is neat and easily legible. No HR department wants to be wasting time trying to decipher what you might or might not have written. Also, make sure that you are entirely accurate with the content  – are your employment dates correct?, are your grades correct?, are your contact details correct? Check, and then check again. There can be no room for inaccuracies with these most fundamental elements of the form.

USE THE JOB DESCRIPTION


Looking at the Job Description or Personnel Spec or even Job Advertisement can help you clearly identify the key skills and qualities that the employer is looking for. Make sure that your answers are clearly demonstrating that you possess these. Many companies use keyword searches on application forms as a means of shortlisting, so if you are not using the relevant “buzz” words, chances are you won’t get through to the next stage.

 JUSTIFY THE “WHY” QUESTIONS

Application forms often include some of those questions normally asked at interview e.g. Why do you want to work for us?, Why should we employ you? etc. Just as you would for an interview, you need to spend time preparing your answers for these questions. For example, in the “why us” question, make sure that your answer shows you have done your company research. Give specific reasoning proving that you are interested in them, not just applying for any job.

USE THE STAR TECHNIQUE


Many application forms also have competency questions asking you to give examples of times when you displayed certain skills or qualities, such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving etc. Just as you would for an interview, you need to think carefully and prepare your answers.
The best way of doing this is to make sure that you answer using the STAR technique.
This can be summarised as follows:
S – Describe the situation and background, what was happening
T – Describe what your task or role was
A – Detail what action you took and what skills etc you used
R – Describe the result, the outcome of what you did on the situation.

Admittedly you may be limited in space in an application form and may not be able to go into the detail you could at an interview but it is still critical that you use this or a similar format when answering any competency questions. It is your answers to these types of questions that will show the employer that you have what they are looking for. Use your answers here to back up why you are the best candidate for the job.

COPY YOUR COMPLETED FORM
It is absolutely essential that you keep a copy of your completed application form. After all, if you are invited for interview, you need to be able to remember what you told the employer. This is even more important if you have been applying for several jobs at the same time. You need the copy to keep track and to help you fully with your interview preparation.

We of course are not saying that these tips will guarantee you get that interview you’ve been waiting for. As we are all aware, it’s a tough market out there and there are certainly no current signs of it getting any easier. However, following these tips will hopefully help you in the right direction.

And finally, one more thing……good luck!

Need more help on how to Search and Apply for Jobs – you might want to check out TheEmployable ebook.

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Discussion

6 Responses to “Top Tips for Completing Application Forms”

  1. yeah, i totally agree with you.http://www.acertemail.com

    Posted by Caroline | July 24, 2012, 7:11 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] 4. Think about Examples. You are likely to be asked some competency type questions, asking you to give examples of times when you displayed certain traits or used certain skills that the job requires. Use the job description and identify what skills you are likely to need and have some examples ready to use. Remember to use the STAR technique – we referred to it previously here. […]

  2. […] prove you have the skills they are looking for. Continue to use the STAR technique – click here for more […]

  3. […] 4. Think about Examples. You are likely to be asked some competency type questions, asking you to give examples of times when you displayed certain traits or used certain skills that the job requires. Use the job description and identify what skills you are likely to need and have some examples ready to use. Remember to use the STAR technique which we have referred to previously in our tips for application forms. […]

  4. […] Top Tips for Completing Application Forms […]

  5. […] Whether you need to apply via a recruitment agency, or by emailing a CV or by filling in an application form, you need to get good at the art of applying for jobs if you want to get a […]

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