The information you provide in a completed application form is used by potential employers to identify candidates who they think may be able to do the job. It's also used to exclude candidates who do not appear to match the job specifications. The application form therefore needs to be completed effectively.
Be careful when completing an application form, and don't rush! You can become rattled if you realize you've omitted an important piece of information. Even worse, if you make a mistake and can only correct it by crossing out, the result is a botched mess.
REMEMBER: A messy application form will raise alarm bells for the potential employer, who will begin to ask questions before you've even been selected for an interview. The recruiter will wonder:
- Do you lack the ability to pay attention to detail?
- Do you rush through tasks and not check what you've done?
- Are you disorganized or untidy?
The following tips should help you complete application forms successfully.
- Read all the information on an application form carefully. Many potential employees send off a resumé without a completed application form, but some employers refuse to receive resumés that are not linked to specific positions.
- Always do what the form asks; for example, complete in black ink and use UPPER CASE if requested.
- Take several photocopies and practise completing the application in draft first.
- Copy from a draft onto the final application form.
- Always provide all the information requested. If a section does not apply to you, do not leave it blank. Write “Not applicable” or cross out with a diagonal line.
- Always include a cover letter.
Visit your portfolio and record what you have learned.
The supporting information you provide is most crucial. Go through the job description and specifications thoroughly, underlining all the statements that indicate skills, experience and attributes required. Be sure to provide evidence showing how you meet all the requirements, and try to identify relevant activities from your existing or previous jobs.
If possible, use a word processor to type out this information — on a separate sheet of paper if necessary. This looks much neater than a handwritten account.