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Application forms

Nowadays, companies require from job applicant to fill out a standardized job application. By having all potential employees complete their forms, they'll have all the information needed for the initial screening process and have it listed in the same order for each person applying for the job. As with CVs, application forms provide employers with information about your skills, knowledge and experience. However the main difference is that whilst in a CV you can select the format and information you include, in an application form you must answer all the questions set by the employer.

Preparation for completing job applications

  • Read and follow all instructions carefully. Review the entire application form before filling it out. Online forms often specify the word count for each question, while paper forms may include instructions such as: ’use black ink and block capitals’.
  • Focus your education and experience to the job you are applying for. Be sure to include background experience when appropriate.
  • Don't leave anything blank on your application. Complete all blocks on the form. If an item is not applicable, put N/A (not applicable).
  • Answer truthfully.
  • Stay away from any specific salary requirements. If there is a blank for "salary desired" try to give a salary range or state "open" or "negotiable".
  • Proofread your job application before you submit it. Make sure that you have photocopied or downloaded extra copies for your draft answers before you send the final version.
    Always keep a copy for yourself for preparing for the interview. 

Tips for completing the application form

  • Plan a timetable to meet the closing date - it will take longer than you think.
  • Find out the main criteria before applying and read carefully through any information supplied by the employer. 
  • Analyze the advertisement and make a list of the skills, qualifications and experience that the employer is looking for. Think of examples which match the employer’s requirements.
  • When preparing information, remember to provide examples from all areas of your life; academic, employment and voluntary activities. Try to use recent examples which cover the last three to five years.
  • Research the company and the sector using the internet. Talk to anyone you know who works for the company or does a similar job in another company.


The questions on most application forms can usually be divided into the following categories:

Personal information: This normally includes full details of your education and any work experience you have had to date. You will be expected to list the names and addresses of schools or colleges attended and may be required to give your academic grades. In addition you  will be asked to give details of employment, usually most recent first. Include details of part-time jobs, temporary work, and unpaid or voluntary work experience.

Analytical questions: You will be asked to supply examples to support claims that you have the required competencies. An alternative to this is to be asked to write a supporting statement. You may be asked to provide real life examples as the basis of your answers. Try to explain why you made certain decisions, how you implemented these decisions and why certain outcomes took place. (e.g. describe a situation in the past when you have worked as part of a team. Explain the role you played.)

Administrative questions: This might include information on your medical history, any criminal convictions and, quite often, a monitoring form about gender, marital status and ethnic origin.

Referees: You will also normally be asked to name referees – follow their instructions as to the level of detail required.

Supporting statements: This section may also be called Personal Statement or “Reasons for Applying”. In this section you must prove to your employer why you are suitable for the job you are applying for. Let your employer know what originally attracted you to this job and how your qualifications, competencies and experience are relevant to the job. Use real life experiences to demonstrate your personality and state how this job fits in with your longer term career goals.

Before submitting the form

  • Read through carefully before sending it off and have someone else read it over and check it for you.
  • If you have used additional sheets make sure you put your name on each one and number them appropriately.
  • Keep a photocopy of your completed form.
  • Check your application