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Application forms - overview

Online application forms are a common first stage in graduate recruitment processes and are the main form of application for postgraduate study.

Find some useful tips on Targetjobs: Application forms

Some key points:

  • Give yourself time. Some employers expect that you will spend around 6-8 hours completing their application form – including the time taken to research the company/industry. It’s better to do a few good quality applications than lots of poor quality applications, so choose wisely which companies you want to apply to.
  • If completing a personal statement, make sure you address each of the criteria in the personnel specification/job advert. If you haven’t received selection criteria, research the company to identify what they are likely to be looking for.
  • Online forms may time-out so read the questions first, then draft your answers, then copy and paste into the form. This also means you can spell and grammar check your answers.
  • Keep a note of the answers you submitted.
  • Try to include many points, described concisely, rather than one or two points expanded at length.
  • You don’t need to use the full word count, but writing too little means that you’ve probably missed some key points.
  • Use the STAR format when answering questions about competencies: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Employers usually provide details on their website of the competencies they are recruiting against.

Further Help

If it's your first time completing an application form for a job or postgraduate study, it's a good idea to get someone to read over it before you submit it. You can make an appointment to speak to a Careers Consultant via MyFuture