Chapter 4: Final tips for completing a successful application
In this final section of the guide I will provide you with a number of useful tips that will help you when completing your application form.
- It is very important that you read the entire application form first before attempting to complete it. It is also important that you obtain a copy of the guidance notes that accompany the form. These notes will normally provide you with some important tips on how you are expected to complete the form.
- Have at your side a copy of the person specification and job description when completing the form. Try as hard as possible to match the assessable qualities.
- Make sure you match the ‘essential’ criteria when completing the form. This is how you will be assessed. If you do not meet all of the essential criteria then you may not get invited to the next stage.
- Before I complete an application form I will read through the person specification, job description and guidance notes and use a highlighter pen to highlight the important areas and skills that I need to match. This way I am guaranteed to complete the form in accordance with the employer’s requirements.
- Make sure you follow ALL instructions. If the form asks for ‘black ink’ and ‘block capitals’, make sure you use them!
- Many forms get rejected through improper spelling and poor grammar. If you are weak in these areas you should get someone who is competent to check for errors. If you are really serious about completing a great application form you may decide to get your responses proofread.
- If there is a word count on the form do not go over it. A great way to check your word count is to carry out an initial draft of your response using Microsoft Word. If you click Tools/Word count, this will tell you the exact word count which will save you having to count each individual word!
- When responding to competency based questions you need to provide specific examples of when you used the assessable skills.
- Always try to provide ‘evidence’ of where you match the qualities being assessed.
- Use the STAR method when responding to situational questions. Another example of how to structure your responses is as follows:
Context – set the scene
Action – what you did or the skills used
Result – the outcome
After – what you learned from the experience
Make sure you focus on what you specifically did and not on what others did.
- Before you submit your form make sure you keep a copy of it for reference. You may need it at the interview.