Application forms gather the information that organisations need to help shortlist candidates for job interviews. Different companies will ask for different information to help them decide who to interview and recruit - therefore, there is no 'standard' application form.
Some can be quite long and take a lot of time to complete, whereas others can be much shorter - others are completed online, while some companies may ask you to complete them by hand. No matter what the application form looks like, it is important you put time and effort into each one to give yourself the greatest chance of success in being shortlisted for an interview.
Tips & Guidance
Here are a few tips to help you complete a job application, but remember you can always ask your Employment Coordinator for help.
Before you Start:
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application form - employers can often tell if an application form has been rushed or completed at the last minute.
- If you are completing an online application, there is often the option to save it and return to it later - do not feel pressured to complete the whole form in one job club session.
- Read the application form carefully before starting it - make notes and prepare to answer all the questions honestly.
- Take time to gather all the information you need before you start to complete the form, for example details of your qualifications and dates of previous employments.
- Research the company abd read the job description before you start - employers will expect you to know a little about who they are and the organisational goals, activities and locations.
- Print or photocopy a second form if you are handwriting it and use this as your rough draft.
Completing the application:
- Follow the instructions given on the form - for example, if it asks you to use 'black ink' or 'complete in BLOCK letters' then make sure you do this.
- Ensure your contact details are correct and that you have access to the email address or phone number you provide.
- Complete all sections of the form and don't leave anything blank - if you are struggling to answer a certain question, please speak to your Employment Coordinator who will be able to help you.
- Reference the key skills from the job description when detailing your abilities and experience.
Submitting your application:
- Check what you have written and if your application form is handwritten, make sure your writing is clear.
- Ask someone else to check your form for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation before you send it to the employer.
- Make a copy of the completed application form to keep for your own records. You can use this to help you prepare for an interview too.
- Include any additional documents the employer asks for (e.g. CV, cover letter) when submitting your application.
- Once you have submitted your application, make sure you regularly check your emails for any response or updates.
Most employers will ask for details of one or two referees on the application form, with one being your most recent employer. A reference is a statement from someone (a past employer/professional e.g. university lecturer or a teacher you had) who can confirm your previous role at an organisation/institute. Nowadays, references mostly confirm your previous job title, the dates you worked there and the number of days you were absent.
You should always ask someone before listing them as a referee, and ensure you obtain their current and complete contact details. If a potential employer cannot contact your referee then this could impact a job offer or start date.
Depending on the role you are applying for, JET can provide a reference but this is at the discretion of your Employment Coordinator, so please speak to them if you have any questions about references.