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Completing a paper application form

Application forms allow employers to:

  • Gather information in a uniform way
  • Quickly identify potential candidates
  • Test your ability to follow basic instructions
  • Prepare questions at interview.

Therefore it is really important that you complete application forms accurately.

Before you start

  • If at all possible make a photocopy of the original form and use the copy to practice
  • Read all the instructions carefully
  • Make sure you understand all of the questions and seek help if you are unsure about anything
  • Use the job description to identify the key parts of the role and make sure you show how you fulfil them.

When filling in the form

  • Use black ink only (unless otherwise directed)
  • Write neatly and use block capitals (unless otherwise directed)
  • Don’t leave gaps. Answer all the questions that apply to you. Write N/A (not applicable) if a question does not apply to you
  • Use simple words and sentences that are short and to the point
  • Emphasise your positive qualities and sell yourself properly in the “any other details/additional information” section
  • Remember - experience gained outside of work can also be relevant
  • Present your job history in an orderly sequence and explain any gaps positively and include any voluntary work
  • Don’t exaggerate or understate previous responsibilities
  • Include a phone number that you have access to at all times. For most people this is a mobile phone, be sure it's reliable and your voicemail message is simple and professional
  • Include an email address that is short and professional, if you do not have a professional email address you should seriously consider creating one
  • Don’t overcrowd the form – if necessary add extra information on a separate piece of paper (write your name, the job title and any reference number at the top of any extra sheets).

When you have finished

  • Check spelling
  • Ensure that all dates are consistent
  • Check that all information is relevant and to the point
  • Ensure that the content of the form has a positive feel
  • Get someone to read through it for you
  • Transfer the rough copy to the original
  • Include a covering letter
  • Use a large envelope and a first class stamp
  • Post the form to reach the employer in good time
  • Keep a copy for future reference

Read any instructions to see whether or not a CV should accompany the form. Do not attach a CV and then write on the form “See attached CV”, the employer will have specific reasons for using the application form.

Contact the team today

If you need any further help or advice, please contact the careers and employability team.

Call now on 01623 413325

Available weekdays 8.30am-4.30pm (4pm on Friday).

Send an email

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