Like doing the ironing or emptying the dishwasher, filling out a job application form is one of those tasks we all tend to hate. Generally, people think job application forms are unnecessary – especially when companies ask for a CV as well.
Almost 20% of job seekers state long job application forms as the most annoying thing about job searching, but there is a good reason as to why businesses favour forms and some simple ways to fill out a form quickly and still get called for an interview…
Why businesses love job application forms
The main reason businesses love job application forms is simply because it streamlines the hiring process and makes it easier to reject unsuitable candidates.
Larger businesses use technology to whittle down high volumes of applications and only then will an actual person begin to filter the remaining applications.
This is important to remember when you’re choosing what key words to include on a job application form, as the keywords is what will you get noticed by both the technology and the hiring manager.
How to successfully fill out a job application form
Save your basic information
Most forms will ask you for the same standard information before delving into more job specific questions. Save yourself time by creating a master word doc with your:
- Contact details – phone number, postal address and email address
- Education details – places you’ve studied, grades and dates of attendance
- PPS number
- Employment history – company name, title and dates of employment
The first time you pull this information will be a pain, but once you have it done you can use this as a reference point to fill out each job application form.
Brainstorm before typing
Never delve into a job application without thinking about why you’d be right for the job first. Think about why you want the job, what applicable skills you have and keep these reasons firmly in your head – if you can’t think of any maybe you shouldn’t be applying.
Read the job description to find out what skills and experience they are looking for and base your answers on this. It can be helpful to have the job spec open in a separate tab, or printed out in front of you, as a point of reference when filling out your form.
Don’t leave blanks
Don’t skip questions, otherwise you’ll have gaps in your application. Even if the information is on your CV it’s important to remember that your CV will only be looked at if your application makes it through the first filtering process.
If there is a question that doesn’t apply to you, write ‘not applicable’ or ‘N/A’ in the appropriate box. This shows you considered the question and didn’t just accidentally leave a blank.
Check your facts
One of the most common and irritating errors on job application forms is applicants using text speak. No matter how casual you think a role is avoid text speech – it looks unprofessional and can be difficult to read. Like your CV, you should also always double check your spelling and grammar.
Common grammatical errors include the misuse of capital letters and poor punctuation. Job application forms don’t always have spell check so proof all of your answers manually, get someone else to read over it or use an automated grammar plugin such as Grammarly.
Lastly, see if the company needs a hard copy application and always keep a copy of your job application for yourself, so you can go over it if you’re called for interview.
Follow the above steps and just like any other time-consuming job a little preparation and guidance can make filling out job application forms much easier and quicker.