Completing application forms are never much fun, more of a headache for most people. However, with our 6 top tips for completing application forms you’ll be able to instantly improve your application.
Tip 1 – It’s all in the Planning!
Planning is absolutely essential when completing application forms, particularly if they are in paper format so make sure you leave plenty of time when completing application forms. A rushed application form is very obvious and will get rejected.
First and foremost, take the time to print out or photocopy the application form. This way you can have some practice runs at it and get a feel for just how much space you have to complete your answers, and determine if you will need to alter your text size.
Secondly, sit down with a your CV, the application pack and cup of tea in a quiet place. Carefully read every question on the form and also digest the content of the job and person specifications. I find a good way to do this is to grab a highlighter pen and actually highlight all the key skills and points in the job specification and then go over to the CV and highlight corresponding skills and experience.
Make sure you fully understand all the questions before you attempt to answer them. If you are not sure, run the tricky ones by someone else who may be able to set you on the right track before completing application forms.
Write out a rough draft first, then sleep on it. You will be amazed how much more you can add once you have taken a little break. Ideas will begin to pop up, probably at about 3am if you are anything like me!
Tip 2 – Follow the Instructions
It sounds obvious but many people fail to comply with basic instructions when completing application forms. If the application form asks you to use black in, please use black ink. Likewise, if the application form asks you to use block capitals, use them. Silly errors like this can mean your application form is instantly rejected, meaning you have just wasted several hours of your time for your application to get binned before it is even read.
Tip 3 – Think Positive!
Nobody really wants to spend several hours completing application forms when it is far easier to click send and email a CV. However, application forms have their place and can be a very useful tool for employers to see which candidates instantly stand out. You need to be one of these stand out people so don’t even consider completing application form if you are not in the right frame of mind, it will show in your answers. Yes, honestly, it will!
You need to be a quiet place, free from distractions and in a good mood, preferably with a smile! This will help you to write more creatively and positively, which in turn helps you to sell yourself. Strange but true!
Tip 4 – Use Examples
Anyone can write a pretty bland application and most job applications tend to fall in to this category. What you need to do is make your job application shine. One way to do this is to go back to those highlighted sections I told you create earlier and begin to consider how you can marry up those skills and personal traits with real life experiences. By using true-life experiences you are physically demonstrating not only that you have that skills but they will help to reinforce your suitability for the position in the reader’s mind. The examples don’t need to be lengthy but must factual and relevant.
Tip 5 – Proofread
It sounds obvious but you will be surprised just how many applications are not correctly proofread and how many people mistakenly miss out vital questions. Check every single question to make sure it has been answered and then double-check every sentence for spelling and grammatical errors. A good way to do this is to read the text backwards so your brain doesn’t begin to auto scan.
A second pair of eyes is always handy so ask a friend or relative to check for you too. Sometimes we become blind to our text but a different set of eyes may just find an error you have overlooked.
Tip 6 – Retain a Copy
After all that hard word, it would be crazy not to keep a copy for future reference. It doesn’t take 5 minutes to save/print an online form or photocopy/scan a paper-based application form. Why you might ask? Well, if you do get called to interview, it will be useful to have a written record of what you wrote to study before the interview. Also, many application forms follow a similar format so you never know when the answer you have slaved over may be usable again, or slightly adapted for use on another form.
By following a few simple steps and taking your time, you should be able to submit an application which is more than just ‘average’.
Do you need help filling out an application form?
We can help you!