How to fill out a first-class application form

1. GET THE BASICS RIGHT

  • Set aside enough time to write a high-quality application form. Don’t see it as a chore, or you’ll rush it and waste your time.
  • Save your progress regularly. Begin your application form in Microsoft Word, so you can save and come back to it if needs be.
  • Make sure your spelling and grammar is accurate. Poor spelling will make the employer immediately lose respect for you as an applicant.
  • Avoid shortcuts like copying and pasting text from your CV. Make the effort to tailor your application and prove to the employer that you really want their job.

2. MAKE YOUR APPLICATION FORM STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

  • “Targeting” is the key to a first-class application form. Always relate your answers directly to what the employer says they’re looking for in the job advertisement, or Person Specification.
  • If they’ve supplied you with a Person Specification, make sure you’ve addressed each point in the correct order. This makes short-listing much easier for the employer. Provide specific examples of how you have the skills for each criterion listed.
  • • Avoid negative statements. If you don’t have the specific experience required, try to provide an example that demonstrates similar skills or experience instead. For example, rather than saying, "I have no experience in using NHS database systems”, you might say, “Although I don’t have direct experience of using NHS database systems, I’ve used a number of databases in my previous roles – including Access and in-house databases. As a result, I have a good understanding of database systems, and I’ve shown I can learn a new system quickly.".

3. AVOID FALLING AT THE FINAL HURDLE

  • Once you’ve filled in the form, carefully check that you’ve answered all the questions to the best of your ability.
  • Make it clear which job you’re applying for, including any reference numbers.