Application Forms

Many employers now use online application forms as the first stage in their recruitment process, so it’s really important to be able to promote yourself as effectively as you can when completing these.

Employers use application forms to assess:

  • your skills and abilities 
  • your motivation
  • whether you will fit into the organisation

lightbulbPreparation is vital before completing an application form, you need to Researching Employers and understand clearly the job description and what the organisation is looking for in terms of experience and skills.


CVs, Applications and Covering Letters


Person Specification

This is the part which employers will tend to pay most attention to. It is thus very important to make sure that you promote yourself as well as you possibly can.

You could be asked to do this in a number of ways – you might be asked to give a statement of about one page in which you write about your suitability for the role, or you might be asked perhaps four or five different questions each relating to a different competency. Here are some examples of ways in which you could show transferable skills:

  • Working well as part of a team - contributing to a group project or presentation for a university module
  • Communicating well with customers or colleagues  - during a work shift, responding positively to a complaint from a customer by finding out what the difficulty is and offering a refund or exchange
  • Using initiative -  publicising a charity walk by designing flyers and going out into the community to engage people’s interest
  • Showing good leadership skills - becoming secretary for a university club or society and keeping everyone updated on what needs to be achieved within the next week

Answering Questions

The STAR technique is useful both for application forms and interviews, as it offers a reliable method for structuring your answer clearly and effectively. It comes in four parts:

  • Situation – setting the scene in context
  • Task – describing your overall objective or what you were required to do
  • Action – discussing what you actually did and how you did it
  • Result – setting out how your involvement changed the situation

Answering these kinds of questions is always a challenge (and is intended to be so) but the STAR technique offers you a way both to develop and refine your answers. Using it also tends to keep your answers to an appropriate length and helps to focus your attention on the salient points that you want to convey.

At the Careers and Employability Service we are always happy to check over your application and to suggest any changes that you might want to make.  


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