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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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5 Application forms

Application forms come in all shapes and sizes. Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme. Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e.g. an NHS Trust). Most large organisations now make their forms available online, which can save you time and postage.

Whatever format they come in, the principles for completing application forms are very similar. If you’re asked to submit an application form, don’t send a CV instead. Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. If you do, it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t asked for on the form.

Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form:

  • The purpose of a completed application form, like a CV or a letter, is to get an interview.
  • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – that you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job, and the kind of person that the organisation wants to employ.
  • The only information that the selectors will have about you is what you’ve given them in your written application. Emphasise the positive and leave it to them to spot the negative. Convince them that they need to see you.
  • Remember that presentation can be as important as content.
  • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application.

When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this.

If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time, you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions that they ask, and not only for senior jobs. You’ll come to some sample questions later in this section.

Bear in mind that employers often receive a large number of forms. This means that on an initial read-through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form – so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively.