Application forms

It is important to take the time when writing your application form.  It is important to show the correct combination of skills, qualities and experience, making you the best candidate for the vacancy.

Here you will find information to help you get the most of what you put into your application form and present yourself in a positive light, and give evidence of how you meet the job requirements.

Many organisations and recruitment agencies use application forms as a way of selecting people for interview. The questions are designed for you to demonstrate that you have the right skills and personal qualities an employer is looking for. Compose your responses carefully.

The questions usually fall into 5 categories:

  • Demonstrating how your technical skills are relevant to the job role
  • Showing your organisational/planning skills
  • Identifying your leadership/teamwork skills
  • Showing your problem-solving abilities
  • Demonstrating your ability to deal with challenging situations

Some application forms will use a skills-based questioning approach, which may give you guidance in what you need to cover in your answer – you may want to relate this to your personal and professional experience and expertise. See the STAR approach below as an example of  how to answer these types of questions.

One way of answering application form questions is via the STAR approach – Situation, Task, Action and Result. This is a way of framing your answer by explaining a work situation you have been involved in.

S – Situation, background set the scene, for example were you on board ship or in college?

T – Task or Target, i.e. the specifics of what was required, for when, where, who was involved

A – Action, what you did, the skills and behaviours you used, the characteristics you needed that were important in dealing with the task

R – Result – the outcome, what happened

This may only take a few sentences but try and cover each section in your response. Remember to keep it clear and concise, whatever length your answer is.

Think about your personal qualities and the role you’re applying for – these skills and guidelines are examples of the key skills a company may be looking for.

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Your personal statement could be the key to a winning application that gets you that all-important interview. This is where you have the opportunity to write about you. But before you do that, you will need to analyse the job description to ensure you cover what is being looked for. Use your personal statement to your advantage and make sure it is well thought out, well written and well organised, using positive, persuasive language, demonstrate your skills

*this section is currently under development*

DO research the company, the career area and the actual job for which you are applying. Make sure you can offer the qualifications, experience and personal skills that the employer is seeking.

DO make sure you are using the right form – some employers have different forms for different job functions.

DON’T use a CV if the employer specifies that you should use their application form.

DO read the form through and follow all instructions.

DO keep a copy of each application form. When it comes to the interview stage, it is hugely useful to remember what you have told the employer. You may also want to use some of your answers as guidance for any other applications you make but…

DON’T copy and paste all answers word-for-word. Adapt your answers to fit each application according to the job description, role and question.

In completing any application form remember the three E’s

Enthusiasm – show your interest in the company by researching it and referring to specific aspects

Evidence – give examples of your successful achievements

Employability – show how useful you will be to that employer