When you are about to apply for a job and it asks you to fill in an application form, for some it fills them with dread, and the ‘why can’t I just send my CV?’ More organisations prefer to use an application form as it standardises the information they receive and speeds up the sifting application process. Plus it allows organisations to ask more specific questions relevant to the role.

This often puts many potential candidates off – so don’t let the application tempt you to not bother!

Below are some top tips to help you create a winning application:

1. If the application is a hard copy always take a copy and practice first, then any mistakes are on a spare copy. If the application is on-line be sure to look through what is required before completing as many have a time out function. If possible take a copy of your completed application then you have this to hand at an interview.

2. Always complete all sections, if a section is not relevant write (not applicable). Ensure you read the instructions carefully and use the amount of space or word limit. If you go over or under the word limit you are likely to be ruled out.

3. Only reference relevant achievements and qualifications, so often we see applications with ‘First Aid At Work – 1999’ that expired – this is not relevant and a good waste of space you could be selling yourself.

4. Avoid filling in your application on the final closing date, more often organisations receive such a high demand they are closing dates sooner. Don’t miss out! Also servers often cannot cope with multiple users attempting to complete applications simultaneously.

5. Read carefully and make sure you have no negative language, for example. “I was made redundant”, is often a phrase used – translated… it was done to me. Instead you could say “Following a re-structure my role was no longer required”

6. Get someone else to check for you, so often you cannot see your own mistakes.

7. Spend time planning your answers, explain the benefits you can offer the company and your strengths. I see so much ramble around the question ‘Explain why you are suitable for the role’. Be specific, confident and know what you offer aligned to the role profile.

8. Be honest, paper applications are often to be signed. This then becomes a legal document.

9. Recently a client ‘missed out’ on a job opportunity after reaching the last 2 because of a grammatical error in his application – it was such a close call they reviewed the application and this made the decision.

10. Check you have the criteria – another client was not shortlisted as they were looking for GCSE English Grade B, although she stated she had 11 GCSEs grade A-C this did not meet the requirements

For further advice or a free application critique please call 07771 332204