10 Golden Rules for application forms

Lets look at the form

Keep it clean – before you open it, is the table clean and dry – no drinks or food to damage it

Check the closing date – how much time do you have, there is no point wasting a lot of time and effort if there is no way it will arrive in time

Check the essentials. If it says ‘driving license essential' or ‘must speak French'; they mean it. If the job requires a HGV license or experience in a particular field, it's meant. Don't waste your time and money chasing the impossible

Start a job search file – keep everything together you received – do it now before you lose or damage anything keep all information they sent you, and any details you were given, names, closing dates etc

Photocopy it and return the original safely to the file. Do not fill it in until you have a perfectly filled in a photocopy, however many it takes (don't just acknowledge your mistakes, when you copy out onto the original, you may copy the mistakes without thinking! (it happens too often)

Read it before you start! It's the number one mistake people make.

Fill it in yourself; especially if it says so on the form. Sometimes on interview you are given a second form to fill in. Handwriting will be compared against the application form

Get a friend to look at a draft copy of you application form and listen to what they say! Remember you aren't writing for yourself, but for someone else. If they think something is ambiguous or doesn't make sense they are probably right , even if it makes perfect sense to you!

Ok let's look at the form now. You must remember your application form may be one of over a hundred. You want your one to be read by the employer, not binned by his assistant

How to avoid the bin!!!!!!!!

To a manager, time is valuable. There is no way he or she will have time to sift through a stack of application forms. This is usually passed down to someone with instructions to select a few, possibly only twenty from over two hundred! The rest are heading for the bin!

The first sorting will be for those who couldn't follow basic instructions. These are usually simple requests like: use black ink; use capital letters; write your postcode; enter you work history over the past 10 years starting with your last job. Failure to follow these is a clear message, ‘if you give me instructions, I won't follow them.' You will be believed

Remember, all of your positive things, your previous experience and qualifications won't count as the form will not be read.

As previously mentioned, only a small selection will be passed on to a manager to read. You now face the next hurdle. To be one of those selected for interview. You must know what they are looking for. Read any material sent to you with the form, especially the job description. Make sure you cover all the points mentioned.

This is no time for modesty. If you have got it flaunt it! Read that job description; make sure they know you can do what they want, if not offer as close an alternative as you can.

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