Completing Job Applications: A Guide for Beginners
Many people find completing job application forms daunting and it is hard to know exactly what employers are looking for. What you need to remember is that everyone has different skills and strengths that they can bring to a job. Single parents who have been raising a family (and in most cases on a tight budget) have lots of skills! Read more about transferable skills in our CVs For Beginners course.
Filling in your application form
When applying for a job you are competing against a lot of other people so it is important that your application makes an impression and stands out from the others. Some job adverts will ask you to fill in an application form which the employer will provide for you. If you need to fill in a Jobcentre Plus application form you can get this from your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. In some cases they might ask for a CV rather than an application form.
Before you start always check the guidelines for filling in the application form and make sure you follow them. These guidelines should be included as part of the job application pack. If you’re completing your application in writing then we recommend that you always prepare a rough draft of your application form on a notepad and then transfer this information to the application form.
If there are gaps in your employment history, say what you were doing during that time; so for example: bringing up your children or working as a volunteer for a charity. Make sure to bring out the positive skills that you have been developing and make the most of them. Before you send it in, read over the job advert again and make sure the information you include on the form is relevant. Answer all questions and fill in all the boxes.
Make sure all spelling and grammar is correct and ask a friend or relative to check your application form. Check the closing date carefully to make sure you don’t miss it!
What to include in your application form
Most application forms will require similar information including:
- personal information
- your national insurance number and work permit details (if applicable)
- details of your qualifications (including dates awarded)
- details of any previous employment (including dates)
- supporting information: why you are applying for and are suited to this role - read the person specification in the application pack to see what kind of information you need to provide to show you are suitable for the job
- at least two referees: one of which should be your current employer if you are working. Make sure you have asked their permission to give their details
- copy of the information on your application form as you can reuse it for any future ones that you fill out
Remember to tailor the information specifially to the job you are applying for.