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Making a Job Application

016 Make your application

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Application forms are a very common selection tool used by employers, and can be delivered in paper or electronic formats. As with CVs or cover letters, the employer is looking to see how you meet their requirements and demonstrate your experience in these areas.

Answering Questions

Application forms will take you through a variety of questions. Generally they begin with straight forward requests for details: your contact information, education, employment history, etc. They may then go onto some more complicated questions similar to what you might expect in a job interview. Your research should help you see clearly the key competencies and role requirements each question is looking to see you cover. Ensure you provide evidence of when you have demonstrated your skills from work or university experience.

Use the STAR technique to help you structure your answers and demonstrate how you meet the role requirements.

Psychometric Tests

Many application forms will feature sections that will test you on competencies (such as numerical skills or logical reasoning) or pose scenarios to see how your personality handles them. See our Psychometric Test information.

Find out even more about Psychometric Tests here.

References

Many application forms will ask you to provide two or three references. Choose people who you know well enough to highlight your potential as an employee, and ensure you have asked their permission before completing your form. Most employers will want to hear from previous employers, but you can also ask lecturers, tutors, or people in positions of seniority from volunteering organisations or hobby groups you are involved in.

How to Prepare

  1. Give yourself time
    Take your time to prepare your application, leaving enough time for someone to read it over for you.
  2. Do your research
    As well as doing research on the employer, you should put some specific research into the role; read through the job description and specifications carefully to identify the exact skills they want and need. Use this research to inform your answers.
  3. Work on your self awareness
    Take what you have researched about the role and employer, and match it up with your skills and experience you have identified through the Self Awareness section of Careers & Employability’s Step One resources. Find specific examples of moments you have been involved in to demonstrate these in the context of what the role is asking for.
  4. Use a separate program in a quiet space
    Write your answers in a word processing program with spellchecking and word count functions. This will make it easier for you to proof your writing, keep within or reach word limits and ensure you can save your work and come back to it later. Work in an environment you won’t be distracted to give your full effort to each answer.
  5. Check questions carefully
    Think about exactly what you are being asked on each part of the form, and consider why you are being asked for that information. For example:

    Describe a time when you have managed a complex project, including details of the challenges faced and how you overcame them within the specified timeframe

    If you are not reading questions closely, it is an easy mistake to describe how you have managed a complex project, but miss out on describing how you overcame any challenges. Highlighting keywords as we have above will ensure you answer questions fully and accurately.

Many of the questions you will be asked in an application form are similar to questions you will be asked in a job interview - see our list of sample questions.

Get the full Application to Acceptance guide for getting a career in graduate employment as a PDF

Making a Job Application | Applications (Video) | Applying to Further Study | Personal Statements | Portfolios | Showreels

 

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