No, don’t groan. Yes, job application forms can be daunting. Yes, you’ve already spent a whole day honing that blummin’ CV and now this! But you should try and spend as much time as possible on a job application form. Don’t be blasé about online application forms either; they need just as much time taken over them as paper ones. Start it at least a week before the deadline (preferably even earlier), this will give you time to mull over the trickier questions. No one likes a rushed, slapdash job application form.
The niggly bits of the application form…
Pay attention to the niggly little things; for example, if it’s paper job application form, check whether you need to write in black ink or if everything needs to be written in block capitals. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure you always, always read the questions. A full job application form is a happy one. Make sure you complete every single little inch of it. If there are any questions that aren’t relevant to you, then you should put in ‘N/A’ (not applicable), just in case.
Read and re-read the job advert. Write down a list of the skills and qualities they are looking for. Usually the questions on job application forms are designed to see whether you fit the role or not, so you need to make sure your answers tick their boxes.
Writing your answers…
You should always draft your answers first. It’s best to write them in a Word document, so it’ll pick up on spelling mistakes. When you’re happy with your draft, you can transfer it to the job application form. You should structure and plan your answers, making sure you don’t repeat yourself.
When it comes to your writing style, you should avoid sounding too informal, but equally, don’t bore them with corporate jargon and clichéd language. Take a look at some of our job application form buzz words for further tips. The main thing is not to sound like a robot and to give some sense of your personality through your writing.
Our golden rule (to beat all other golden rules) is to read the questions thoroughly and make sure your answers are relevant to the questions. Sounds a bit obvious doesn’t it, but an unbelievable amount of people don’t do it.
Your answers should be informative, but also succinct. Curb your inner rambler. Always support your statements with evidence. If you say I’m great at customer service then give an example. On behalf of beleaguered HR people, fuzzy-eyed from reading thousands of job applications, try and make your answers interesting. A dull form doesn’t necessitate dull answers.
Take a look at our Job Application Questions and Job Application Answers articles for the kinds of questions you’ll be asked and how to answer them.
Nope it isn’t over yet. You need to proofread it, not just once, but multiple times and get someone else to check your job application form too. If you’re applying online, double check that you have attached your CV or anything else they require. You should also channel your inner librarian and keep an archive of copies of your final application forms so you can see what worked and what didn’t.