Sometimes, applying for a job may be more than just submitting your CV and/or cover letter. Some employers might supply and ask you to fill out an application form. These can be very intimidating when you’ve never had to fill one out before, especially if you’ve been sent one, or you’re filling out one online that looks a bit confusing or is very long. All it takes to fill application forms out is a little bit of patience. There might be a deadline as to when the employer wants it completed by, but you can do it at your own pace. Like anything else, it gets better with practice. You just need to know where to begin.
Set a time schedule
Some applications can take longer than others, so making sure you have enough time to complete it before the deadline is important. For some, it might just be easier to complete the whole thing in one go and then it’s done. But for others, it can be done a little at a time. You could try and complete a section a day or do half in the morning and half in the afternoon. Sometimes, spending too much time on one thing can limit your productivity and you want the application to reflect you in a good way.
Try not to leave it until the last day before the deadline. You want to take your time answering the questions and then have extra time to go back over it before you click the send button. Reviewing your work is always a good idea, especially if you feel you might have rushed some parts of it.
However, if you find the job posted on a website and there is only one day left to apply, you unfortunately don’t have the luxury of time. You should take it section by section, maybe take a short drinks break in-between to clear your head but try and work quickly as well as effectively. Sometimes we have to work in situations that are not to our liking, but with determination and some time management, anything can be possible.
Always do your research
A lot of the questions on an application form will be about you. Your details, your education and your past work experiences. But in some cases, there will be questions asking about ‘Why you want this job?’ and/or ‘What made you want to apply for this job?’. There may be questions about your personal experiences and even a section for a personal statement.
You want to persuade the employer to hire you and for that to happen, you need to know what that employer wants from their employees. You need to understand why this company would be a good fit for you, what you can do for them and ultimately WHY you want the job. You need to know a bit about the company and their past projects to be able to answer these questions. Similar to the research you would do before you attend an interview. The only difference is that you’re writing it down instead of talking to someone in person.
Common mistakes made on an application form
You’re being too generic – The employer wants to read about why you want to work for them. They want to know what you are able to give them in return. It’s all about selling yourself and believing in your abilities. You don’t want to talk about why you want to be a project engineer, you want to say why you want to be a project engineer at this company.
You don’t make it personal – The questions asked on an application form are being answered by every other applicant. The employer doesn’t want to sit there reading the same cliché answer over and over. They want you to answer the questions but include some of your experience. Provide examples of your successes. If you write a statement, back it up.
Not following the instructions – It might be a simple mistake, but it’s something a lot of people do. Whether they have filled out the application sheet in the wrong colour pen (If you’re old fashioned and not doing it online) or you have saved and sent it across in the wrong format. It shows that you have not read the instructions carefully and this simple mistake could have you knocked of the interview list pretty quickly. That’s why it’s always advised to go back over it and check before you click send.
Missing the deadline – The deadline for the application is likely to be both on the job advertisement and the application form itself. You should stick to deadlines. It’s another simple mistake but some employers don’t accept applications after the deadline date. So, try and stay on track and send it on time to avoid disappointment.
Application forms can be time consuming and sometimes they are just asking for things that are already on your CV, so you should use this for reference. Application forms are a chance for you to talk about your experiences and for the employer to learn a little bit extra about you, before they invite you to an interview. They get easier to fill out over time but can be incredibly valuable to an employer so take them seriously. Like everything else on your job seeker journey, it takes practice.