The Job Application Form

Your best friend here is going to be a Person Specification or a Job Description or, ideally, both. You will need them both as you fill-in your application form.

Pick your way through these documents. They tell you not only what person the company has in mind to fill the position but also how to complete the application form.

It sounds too easy simply to go through the person specification and, point-by-point, write down exactly how you match each point but this is exactly how you need to tackle the job application form. Ideally, examples of how you match will be real-world experiences in the workplace or from volunteering. Remember that you are jumping through the hoops here so be flexible and be creative.

 

You will need your person specification and job description for your job interview so keep these safe.

 

Read the application form from cover to cover before you put pen to paper. Pay attention to specific instructions:

Use Black ink Only

 

Do Not Write here

Many a job-hunter has been caught out in this way. If you have only one copy of the application form this will be a crushing lesson to learn.

 

A note about handwriting

Many employers insist on hand-written job application forms (local authorities, for example) and this can be a source of terror for job-catchers. The only way to deal with this is to write slowly and take your time. It’s agony – sure – but there’s no easy way round it. Write your additional information (normally that scary blank page they expect you to sell yourself on) out on a separate sheet of paper (that way you can scribble on it, make mistakes and generally let your thoughts flow) and then copy this carefully onto the job application form (that way, you can do it on auto-pilot and focus on your handwriting; you can also take breaks.) If it takes you a whole day well that’s life: practise makes perfect.

 

Being Creative

Everything the potential employer is going to learn about you they will learn from your job application form so make it interesting.

Think about what you’re going to write first. Take a blank piece of paper and start throwing down your thoughts in no particular order. It could be a simple word-list or some phrases that sum-up your experience. Use the job description/person spec to inspire you. How do you fit the mould?

Don’t be scared to throw in personal experience. If you are applying for a job as a carer and you looked after your mother for three years, include it. You may have done some voluntary work (if you haven’t, see our section on voluntary work in The Positive Job Hunter section). There will be a great deal of experience you have that will help you to shine. Use it.

Here is a genuine example of a simple application for a Health Care Assistant role in a hospital:

 

In my role as care assistant I communicated with residents constantly to explain what I was doing, particularly with those residents that needed further support or who may be confused or need further information, all within the context of providing one to one care and support. It was important to make myself understood to those who were hearing impaired and to listen and understand those who could not express themselves clearly. Confidentiality was central to this role as I dealt with many sensitive issues relating to residents and their personal affairs.

I have raised two children and this has given me hands on experience of young people of every age and communicating and engaging with them. It has given me the ability to sympathise and empathise with the needs of carers who are worried and frustrated in a hospital setting.

I am willing to undertake any training that is required for the post and I look forward to the challenges that this may bring. All of my previous posts have required training and I have always been willing to learn new roles. In my role as a care assistant it was crucial that I had an eye for detail, particularly where hygiene and procedure were concerned. Further to this, behaving in a timely manner was central to success in the post as was assessing residents frequently for their physical, emotional and mental well being and I took element of my role very seriously. The role could be physically demanding and in later posts I have had manual handling training to complement my experience.

During my working life I have had to fulfil various roles of responsibility and this has entailed taking care of my employers’ property and equipment – not just for their sake but for the sake of other users’ safety and to comply with health and safety guidelines. In my role working for Mr. Williams I was constantly responsible for his personal affairs and belongings and this required a high degree of trust.

 

This application was sent in to us for checking. It is a good application, as far as it goes. There are some strong themes but they haven’t been tied together to create a consistent narrative.

Let’s neaten it up a little:

 

 

During my working life I have had to fulfil various roles of responsibility and this has entailed taking care of my employers property and equipment – not just for their sake but for the sake of other users’ safety and to comply with health and safety guidelines. In my role working for Mr. Williams I was constantly responsible for his personal affairs and belongings and this required a high degree of trust.

 

In my post as care assistant at Willow Care Home, communication was essential, particularly with those vulnerable residents who needed further support or who may have been confused or needed further information, It was important to make myself understood to those who were hearing impaired or confused and to listen and understand those who could not express themselves clearly. Confidentiality was central to this role as I dealt with many sensitive issues relating to residents and their personal affairs. I have also enhanced my ability to sympathise and empathise with the needs of carers and relatives who are worried and frustrated in a hospital setting.

 

 

Raising two children has given me hands on experience of young people of every age and I believe that communicating and engaging with people is one of my clearest strengths.

 

I am willing to undertake any training that is required for the post and I look forward to the challenges that this may bring. All of my previous posts have required training and I have always been willing to learn new roles. In my role as a care assistant it was crucial that I had an eye for detail, particularly where hygiene and procedure were concerned. Further to this, behaving in a timely manner was central to success in the post as was assessing residents frequently for their physical, emotional and mental well-being and this element of the role was something I took very seriously. Working with physically impaired people could be physically demanding and in later job roles I have had manual handling training to complement my experience.

 

 

 

We have not had to do a great deal of work on this application. For the most part, the order of it was wrong. Always read through your application to see if you have changed subject slightly and then gone back to what you were saying. For example, the last paragraph was moved to become the first paragraph because it felt like an opening statement rather than a closing one.

We have also neatened up the wording, so:

I have raised two children and this has given me hands on experience of young people of every age and communicating and engaging with them.

Becomes:

Raising two children has given me hands on experience of young people of every age and I believe that communicating and engaging with people is one of my clearest strengths.

 

We have made more of the power words in the paragraph and it has given it more motion. Give your applications to somebody else to read and ask them what they think. Don’t take it too personally because what they think when they read it might be what an employer thinks.

There is a very clear reason that the application was scrappy: it had been written before it had been planned.

This is why it is crucial to start on a separate piece of paper and to only touch the application form when you are ready for it. Just like the job interview, when it comes to application forms the key is to plan, plan, plan.

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