An application form is an official document that a potential employer will require candidates to complete when applying for a vacancy. The form will be used to see whether or not you have the skills, qualities and attributes to perform the role.
Guidance on filling them in
While you may be asked to submit a CV and covering letter for some jobs, many graduate roles require you to fill in an application form instead. Our guide, Writing successful job applications, is a good place to start.
Before you start
- The vast majority of applications are now made online, give yourself plenty of time to complete the form and build in time for technical issues that might occur.
- Make sure you read the instructions very carefully. Not all systems allow you to save your work and return to the form later and you may have to complete it in one sitting.
- It is a good idea to complete the application in Word and then copy and paste it over to the system – this enables you to use spell-checking functions.
Focus on evidence
- Employers will often ask questions that focus on providing evidence for specific skills, e.g. teamworking, problem solving, communicating effectively etc. to answer these effectively you will need specific examples from your experience (academic, placement, work, voluntary etc.).
- Ensure your answers sit within the word or character limit that you are given. Going over the limit may mean that your answer appears to be incomplete. Write concisely and don't waffle.
- Using STAR (Situation Task Action Result), or CAR (Context Action Result) can help you to structure your answers that ensures you provide the specific evidence the employer is looking for.
Make it easy to read
- Some applications will require a supporting statement in as part of your application. Structure your statement to address the criteria that the employer is recruiting to. Make it easy to read by 'chunking' the information you provide into short paragraphs, with each paragraph addressing one of the key criteria.
- If your application doesn't need to be completed in one sitting, save your work and return to it the next day. This can be useful in reviewing your content to ensure you are providing the information the employer is looking for.
- Once you are ready to submit your application, ensure that you have proofread the document and completed spelling / grammar checks. It is useful to print out your application so that you can refer to this if you are invited for interview.
Gain tips and ideas about how to complete successful applications by attending a Making Graduate Applications Masterclass or using our Graduate Applications Linked In Learning Pathway.
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Speak to a careers adviser
Our Careers Advisers are on hand to help. Book an appointment on Advantage or by calling 0161 295 0023 (option 5).
Appointments are available for current students and graduates of the University of Salford only.