Employers often want job candidates to apply using an application form. As with CVs, you need to market your skills and experiences effectively within a set template.
Tips for application forms
- Learn all you can about the organisation and the job you are applying for so you can tailor your application. Read their brochures, check out their website and LinkedIn profile, talk to people who work there if you can, and analyse the job advertisement and job description.
- Before you start, gather all the materials and information you may need, e.g., dates, names and addresses, your CV, academic transcript (check to see if they require an unofficial or official one).
- Follow instructions. Take care to enter the correct information in the correct place.
- Take your time over interview-type questions (e.g., ‘Why do you want to work for us?’, ‘Describe how you have contributed to a team’s success’). Your answers need to show that you have the motivation, skills, qualifications and experience to do the job and fit into the company. Give evidence and examples. To help frame your answer, use the STAR formula (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
- With these interview-type questions include specifics - numbers and statistics that demonstrate your achievements or responsibilities. For example, say ‘Supervised 5 part-time staff’, ‘Organised music event which involved coordinating with 10 performance groups’, ‘Personally fundraised $2000’.
- Check your application for spelling and grammar. This is the employer’s first impression of you and you want it to be good.
- Copy your completed form so you can remember what you said.
- If you get stuck, look for a Help or a FAQ section on the form or website.
- When attaching a CV, check the format and file size requirements.
- Allow plenty of time to complete your application form. It may not be as quick or simple as you expect.
Useful resources for completing application forms
These are useful websites to help you complete your application form:
- The University of Edinburgh Careers Service:
- Prospects (the UK's official graduate careers website):
Tips from Business School students
- Have a look at the application process and the type of questions you may be asked in your application the year before you actually apply, as this enables you to start preparing for your application well in advance without any surprises.
- Just do it and do it on time. Applying is free and you have nothing to lose. Even in your first year you can apply just so you can learn more about the application process and so that you can show recruiters that you're keen. It is definitely not just about the grades (speaking from experience).
- Do research on the application process, go to the careers advisers to help you with your applications. Networking is important.
- Prepare well beforehand. Don't just apply to apply. Really mean it.
- Apply early, be present at networking events and put effort into crafting a good well-rounded application.