How to write an effective job application form

03/15/2018

writing application formRenovo have created some key steps in completing an effective job application form to make sure yours are strong and stand out from the crowd. Application forms make the recruitment process more efficient and practical for both you and the recruiter. Although some business will still require a CV, certain companies may ask you to fill out an application form containing a set of questions that the employer has created in order to identify strong candidates to take through to the next stage in their recruitment process With that in mind, here are some key steps to guide you through the process of completing a great application form:

1. Research and preparation

Before answering any questions, it's important that you have a clear sense of who will read your application and what you are applying for. Drawing on the information available on the company website, social media postings and any other sources you find, try to build a picture of their product offering and understand how they differentiate themselves from their competitors. This information will shape the tone and direction of your application and ensure that it's directly targeted at the employer.

2. Scope out the questions

Next, try to get a feel for exactly what the form involves. Read through and draft your answers to longer questions on a separate Word document. Leave them for a day or so before returning with a fresh pair of eyes; this will allow you to view your answers more critically and objectively, while helping to identify any typos.

3. Think about your answers

Take care over how you structure your answers just as you would at a job interview. Different questions will require different strategies, for example, strength-based questions which are increasingly used nowadays, put the emphasis on your interests and the kind of work you enjoy doing rather than your competencies, so pay attention to the focus of the question. You might be asked to give your reasons for applying and other information relevant to the job specification, including your knowledge, skills and experience.

Your supporting statement should relate directly to the specifications of the job or course you are applying for. It is important that you address all the points in the job specification in the order in which they appear. Imagine this being used as a checklist by the person short-listing.

Address each point on the job specification in a clearly themed paragraph:

  • In your first sentence make a short statement summarising how you meet or relate to the requirement.
  • The next few sentences should provide a concrete example of the statement(s) you have just made. Use the STAR technique to help you construct this.
  • A final sentence that shows reflection will add depth to the point you’re making.
4. Be bold and unique...

It's not just about ticking boxes – treat the form as an opportunity to really sell yourself and let them know who you really are. Avoid generic, 'cookie cutter' answers and think about what will grab the reader's attention. Likewise, recruiters can easily spot scattergun applications that have been churned out to different employers. Draw on your initial research and ensure your answers are tailored to the employer and their specific offering.

5. ...but honest

Don’t embellish your experience or claim achievements that you can't back up at interview. Instead, look at how you can make your attributes stand out – rather than just stating the facts, think about your major achievements in every situation and what you took away from each experience.

6. Check, check and check again

Before pressing submit, make sure you've proofread the form for spelling and grammatical errors, making sure you've answered all the questions (as well as any sub-sections) in full. If you can, ask someone you trust to read it through after you to sense-check and spot any errors.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.uk.com

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