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Disability and Investors in people logosAre you filling in job application after job application and never being put on the 'shortlist' for interviews?  Well, don't give up, it may not be that you are unsuitable for the job but just that you need to give a little more thought to how you are 'presenting yourself'.

This section is designed to outline important points for you to consider when filling in your next application form and put you ahead of your competitors and hopefully onto the shortlist.
One important thing to remember is that when the employer sees and reads your application form, s/he is developing his/her first impression of you.  You will not be there to answer any queries s/he might have about your qualifications, experience and reasons for applying for the job and why you are the best person for the job.  To answer these questions s/he has to rely on the impressions you make through:-
  • The way you have presented your application form.
  • The style and content of the information that you have provided about yourself and the confidence with which you have presented that information.
The first part of this section will provide you with a guideline on how to improve the written presentation of your application form.  The points outlined may seem obvious, but they are common errors that can reduce a candidate's chances of an interview.
The second part of the section gives tips on how to improve the style and content of the information which you provide about yourself.


Part A - Written Presentation

When filling in an application form:-
  • Read the instructions on the application form carefully and read right through the application form before attempting to answer any of the questions.
  • Make your own copy of the application form and fill in a rough copy first.
  • If the form states that you should complete the form in black ink – make sure you do.
If it asks you to complete in your own handwriting -
  • Make sure it's readable.
  • Complete each section of the form, where you have nothing relevant to put just write N/A for not applicable.
  • Check spelling or get someone to check it for you.
    • If you think your English might be letting you down, have you thought of adult literacy courses?  Your local library will give you details.
    • Check that you have filled in all sides of the form.
  • Remember to sign and date your application form.
  • Keep the form clean, tidy and neat, i.e. avoid coffee stains/creases.
  • Make sure that you post/deliver the application form well before the date required.
  • Always keep a copy of your form; this will help you to remember what you put and it will make it easier next time you apply for jobs.
  • Job clubs may be able to provide assistance in this respect.

Part B  - Style & Content

Remember it is your job to sell yourself.  This means knowing:-
  • What you have got to offer
  • How you are going to do it
  • Use the application form to reply to the advertisement and the person specification and job description of the job you are applying for.
  • Make sure you are answering the questions asked.
  • Use brief and direct sentences and avoid long-winded expressions.
  • Use the job description as a number of questions to be answered and stress (preferably using headings with separate paragraphs and short to the point sentences): -
    • Your experience
    • Personal qualities
    • Why you are the best person for the job
    • Strengths
    • Any specific knowledge gained in either paid/voluntary work or leisure time
    • Training courses that are particularly relevant to the vacancy
    • What you have got to offer
    • How you are going to do it
  • Remember, the employer is only interested in whether you can do the job, so avoid putting any information that is not relevant to the job vacancy.
  • If there is not enough space on the form write additional facts on a separate sheet, and attach it to the form.
  • Ensure that your referees are informed that you are applying for a job.
Remember this is just a guideline the rest is up to you!


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