Application form top tips

Expert advice on how to sell your skills on a job application form.

A fan of various CVs With competition tougher than ever, it’s really important to do everything you can to make your job application stand out from the crowd. Here’s our advice on how best to shine on the application form.

Give yourself time

Many people don't give themselves enough time to hit deadlines. You may think an application form will only take half hour to complete, but if you want to complete it correctly, you'll need much more time than that. You'll also want to leave the form and come back to check over it at a later date, so make sure you give yourself enough time to return to it before the deadline date.

Prepare

Preparation is key. Before going near the form itself, sit back and consider what your skills are. Look at the job spec and see what it requires. Brainstorm, and think about your strengths. Think of times you can evidence where you used specific skills, then put pen to paper and write out your responses on some notepaper. Hone these answers until you are happy that they're the best they can be and move onto the form itself.

Answer all questions fully

Every organisation will have a "killer" question; something as simple as do you have a full driving licence or do you have the right to work in the UK without the need of a company-sponsored visa. Simply put, if you can’t answer yes to them your application will be immediately declined. Similarly, if you don't complete all those questions, your application will not be submitted.

It is simple to accidentally miss out a basic question like those above, but such a slip up could take you out of the running for a position before you've even started. Also be sure to fully complete all the questions asked - many organisations use competency screening and you may lose points by not responding in full.

Go back and edit

Another pitfall is that many applicants try and complete an application form in one go. This is not the best approach.

Many application processes are now online, allowing you to log in and out as you choose. You can return to your application and update or change an entry before doing the final submission. Take advantage of this ability, it's there to help you.

Get a friend to check your examples before you submit as they might point out better examples of how you demonstrated a skill. A friend may also be less modest than you and let you know how you're selling yourself short.

Spell check - again and again

You can be expected to be screened on the quality of your grammar, spelling and how you write, so keep this in mind and check your answers several times.

Also be sure to declare any disabilities such as Dyslexia as this will then be taken into consideration when being screened.