Organisations are increasingly asking candidates to apply using their own application form, particularly for graduate positions. The questions on these forms help them assess your suitability, which may not be immediately obvious from traditional applications. Here are some tips to help you.
Meet the organisation's requirements
If the role requires certain grades or knowledge of particular computer programmes, make sure you have these before applying. Organisations reject most candidate applications because they don't meet these requirements. If you have extenuating circumstances, highlight them somewhere on the form. If you have any problems or questions, call the recruiters who can help you.
Do your research
Find out about the organisation, what it can offer and what it's looking for. The organisation will probably ask why you're applying. So find out who they are and what you want to gain from working for them. It's a good idea to read up on the skills required to work there and include your experience of those in your application.
Think about the language you use
Just because you're submitting an application online doesn’t mean you should be careless when completing it. Check your language and don’t use ‘text speak’ when you complete an application. It’s amazing how often this is done.
Think quality not quantity
A recruiter doesn’t want to read pages and pages of answers. So keep your writing concise and clear.
Check your qualifications are correct and complete
If you need certain academic grades for the role, take care and check your qualifications. Should the organisation ask for proof, you could be caught out if you said you received an A grade when you actually got a C.
Ensure there are no gaps on your application
If there are years missing from your application, such as the time between school and university, highlight these rather than leaving them blank. Recruiters want to see a full chronological history of your schooling through to university, if applicable, and work experience. If there are gaps, be prepared to discuss these in an interview.
Check the content and spelling
Always check your spelling and grammar. Computer programs on online websites often don't have a spell checker. So, write your answers in a word processing program (such as Microsoft Word), spell check and paste them into your application.
Answer the questions asked, not those you wish had been asked
Employers ask questions to discover if you meet their requirements. However, it’s surprising how many candidates don’t answer the questions they're asked. So, make sure you answer them fully. If the question has two or three parts to it, answer each in turn to demonstrate you've read and understood them.
Check the form before you hit the button – you only get one chance
Take one final look over your application before submitting it. You only get one chance to send your application, so ensure it’s as good as can be!