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Report
© Career Development and Employment Service
Effective Application forms
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Learning Outcome
To
provide guidelines for completing forms
To
prepare students for what to expect from application
forms
To
give examples of questions to help students to gain
practise
To
highlight the competencies employers require and to
explore ways of providing appropriate examples
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
When might you use an
application form?
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Application forms are used by
most large graduate recruiters in
order to:

Assess whether you meet the job and person
specifications

Enable employers to see that you have the appropriate
competencies

To ensure that everyone is assessed on the same
criteria
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Preparation

Find out as much about the job as you can

Find out as much about the company as you can

Think about the examples from your experience that will
enable you to demonstrate your competencies in the
most persuasive way.

Make sure you are familiar with, and understand the job
description
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What are Employers Looking
For?

In addition to skills based competencies, employers may
take other considerations in to account:
 Relevant
experience
 Outstanding
 Strength
of argument/coherence
 Professional
 Overall
achievement
and persuasive style
visual effect
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Did You Know…..?

Application forms commonly go direct to the bin
because of ….
spelling and grammar mistake

failing to follow instructions on the form

having incorrect information in the form e.g. mentioning
the wrong job title and the wrong organisation (caution
with cutting and pasting!)
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Most forms have standard
content:






Personal details
Education and qualifications
Employment details
Skills/business awareness/careers related questions or..
Personal statement
Interests and activities
References
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© Career Development and Employment Service
in addition, they may ask for:

Equal opportunities monitoring information e.g ethnicity,
disability

Health questions

Criminal record information

Declaration – signature to say that the information
provided is true and complete – giving false information
can be used as grounds for dismissal!
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
On Line Applications

Most large companies will use on-line application forms

Sites usually operate by use of a password – which allows you to
return to the site

Stick to any word count – if there is no word count then keep your
answers brief and to the point

Print out the form (if possible) and use as a draft

If possible, draft the answers in Word then cut and paste – this
allows spell check

Some sites allow you to upload your CV - ensure information given
in the application form and on your CV is consistent.
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Completing Application Forms
Personal Details, Education and Employment



This is factual information and is relatively
straightforward
Most information can be copied from your CV
You may have to explain any obvious gaps in your
education or employment
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Skills, business awareness
and careers related questions

Questions may appear strange or irrelevant – it is the
process that is important and the way that you
demonstrate you have the required competencies

Questions may contact several parts- make sure you
address each part

These questions require time and thought – try them in
rough and ask a Careers Consultant to check them

To answer questions you should draw on personal,
academic and professional experiences
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Did You Know…..?
Sainsburys state that they reject two thirds of applicants
because they have found it difficult to make the link
between personal experiences and competencies
required
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Competency Related Questions

Describe a specific situation when you needed to cooperate with others to solve a problem. What did you
do? Vauxhall

Describe a time when you have successfully solved a
challenging problem or overcome a difficult situation
using your initiative. In your answer we will be looking
for clear evidence of Problem Solving/Commercial
Judgement.
HSBC Summer internship Scheme
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Business Awareness Questions

What do you see as the key issues facing the food
retailing industry?
Morrisons Graduate Scheme

Given current circumstances what steps could be taken
to address the issues Barclays face and why would you
recommend these?
Barclays graduate training scheme
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Careers Related Questions

Why have you applied for this job?

Why do you want to work in this field?

Tell us what steps you have taken to clarify your career
choice. What other careers are you considering?
Arcadia Group

What attracts you to a career in the retail fashion
industry?
Arcadia Group
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Constructing Answers

Use a combination of academic, work experience and
personal activities in your answers

Demonstrate that you have the skills and personal
qualities an employer is looking for

Make sure you answer the question

Use STAR (Scene, Task, Action, Results)
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Constructing your Answers - STAR

Scene/scenario – what was the situation?

Tasks – what needed to be done?

Action – what did you do and why?

Result – what was the outcome?
And something about you – e.g. what you learned,
what skills you developed
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Personal Statement
“Please use this space to give us any extra information to
support your application”
Public sector organisations and small and medium sized
enterprises often use a person specification as part of their
selection process
Application forms are usually accompanied with a person
specification , a list of criteria that you are required to
match whilst writing your personal statement
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Personal Statement

It is vital that you demonstrate how you match each of
the essential criteria and as many of the desirable
criterion as possible

You must give examples to demonstrate the skills and
experiences that you are required to have.

Make use of subheadings and shorter paragraphs to
organise your personal statement and make it easier to
read!
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
References

Usually need 2 or 3

Not a family member – academic tutor, employer,
voluntary work supervisor

Check with referees first
Department of Student Services
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© Career Development and Employment Service
Checklist

Take a copy of the form for practise

Read thoroughly and follow all instructions carefully

Use formal language and get somebody to proof read it

Keep a copy of the completed form for your own reference

Do NOT send CV instead

Break text into paragraphs and /or use headings

Get a Careers Consultant to advise you on your completed
application form
Department of Student Services
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