Completing an Application Form

Application forms come in varied formats both on paper and increasingly online.

  • Employers' application forms - these vary - some ask for only basic information whilst others contain complex biodata questions or focus on the skills required for the job - more
  • Employers' application forms online - these are relatively new, but the number of employers using online applications is growing - more
  • Standard application form - this is also known as the SAF and is accepted by a number of employers.  It's available from university Careers Services (may be more applicable in Northern Ireland)

Before you start to complete the form

  • make a photocopy of the form to practice on.  For online applications print out the pages and think about your responses offline
  • read through the form  carefully  - jot down your ideas on rough paper
  • follow instructions carefully

Tips for completing the form

  • use black ink
  • confine your answers to the space provided - this indicates the amount of information required
  • enter information accurately and fill in all sections
  • double check for spelling, grammar and typing errors - let someone else check the form
  • sign the form - if required, and keep a copy of the completed form.  For online applications, save an electronic copy as well more

Answering tricky questions like 'Describe a situation where …'

Employers want to know if you can prove you have the skills needed to do the job so they ask questions like:

  • Describe a recent experience where you had to solve a problem or resolve a complex situation
  • Outline a time when you have contributed successfully to a team
  • Tell us about an occasion when you had to convince someone of a course of action

A good approach to answering these questions is to use the STAR acronym:

 Find out the skills that employers seek and examples of evidence that you might use.

The Windmills Career Management Programme can help you to assess your own skills - follow link from Information resources.