After graduation, you may need to send out a number of applications to potential employers in order to secure your first post-graduate job. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your skills, experience and more to get your foot in the door in your chosen industry!
However, there are thousands of graduates every year to contend with, so you’ll want to stand out from the crowd. Your application is worth investing a considerable amount of time on to be able to reap the benefits in the future. In many circumstances, you will need to fill out an application form as opposed to just sending your CV and covering letter over. But similarly to your CV, you will need to work on your application form to market yourself effectively to increase your chances of getting the job offer.
Check out our top tips for completing an application form effectively!
Do your research
Before you start filling in the application form, make sure you thoroughly read the job description and specification. This will help confirm if you are suitable for the role and will also help you to remember what to mention in the form. Also remember to research the company so that you can show that you have a good understanding about the company, the wider industry and why you want to work for them specifically.
Give yourself time
Give yourself plenty of time to fill in the application. Employers will be able to see if you’ve rushed through it, so take your time with it so you have time to check it over before submitting it. Remember to note down your login details if you have completed an online application, so you can log back in if you need to take a break.
Fill all the form in
Make sure you complete all the required sections in the form. If you write ‘see CV attached’ for example, the employer will see that you haven’t made the effort to complete the form and could disregard you before they even see your skills and experience.
Remember to list in reverse chronological order
When it comes to stating your education and qualifications, you will need to list them in reverse chronological order, with the most recent and relevant qualification first e.g. If you were applying for a Journalist position, state your relevant degree first, rather than your GCSE in Biology! You will also need to also list jobs and work experience in reverse chronological order and make sure you sell the transferable skills and experience you have that are relevant to the role.
Remember the STAR technique
Most application forms also have a ‘Supporting Information’ or ‘Personal Statement’ section. This is where you’ll really shine, so take the time to outline your reasons for applying, your relevant experience and the skills that you have that would be ideal for the role. Remember to use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result) when filling this in.
Arrange your referees
In the application form, you will also need to state your referees who your potential employer can contact to provide a reference. Ask permission from at least two referees and state their full name, email address and contact number in the form.
Check, check and check again!
Don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar before submitting the form. It also helps to have someone else like a friend, family member or career expert look over it too so they can confirm that it looks good before submitting.
For more support, download our guide to completing application forms.