An application form is the most common method for applying for jobs and further study. They’re not all the same and can feel tricky to complete!
We’ve got some advice on how to write application forms – but if all else fails, remember you can book an application support appointment on MyCareer.
Use the STAR method
Situation – Task - Action - Result
Whether you are writing a CV, completing an application form or answering questions at an interview, the STAR method is a great way to structure examples.
Use an up-to-date and relevant example, focus on YOUR input and not just the “we”, and make sure the example is relevant to the person specification. Where possible, use an example with a positive outcome!
Explain the situation that you were in. This should be a short description, it could be: ‘during my degree’ or ‘whilst working in a bar’.
You need to briefly explain what you did and how you met the criteria for success. If you were working in a group, explain the overall group task but focus on your own role.
This is the most substantial part (around 50-70%) of any example and you need to include:
What you did
Why you did it
How you did it
Which skills you used
What happened as a result of the actions you took?
What did you learn?
What would you do differently or improve?
What impact did the result have on the team task?
How to answer key questions
Employers often use application forms with a section of key questions. This helps them to:
- Narrow the field of candidates to those that match the job and person specification.
Identify strengths and weaknesses in key areas.
Test candidates' communication skills.
Be consistent in their shortlisting.
Key questions on application forms normally fall into two categories:
Questions about the job
Why do you want to work at this company?
What inspires you about working in finance?
What changes do you think will occur in the renewable energy sector in the next 5 years?
These questions are used mainly to measure your motivation for a job or company and your understanding of the role or the industry sector.
Do your research and have an opinion on what they do. You need to demonstrate your motivation, commitment, enthusiasm and commercial awareness.
Questions about your skills, competencies and qualities
Tell us about a time when you have had to communicate your point of view in a difficult situation.
Make sure that any example you use covers everything they ask. In this case, there is no point giving a general example of communication without addressing the difficult situation requirement.
It is a good idea to use a STAR example which demonstrates your competency in relation to the job description.
At this company we are head and shoulders above our nearest competitors. What sets you apart from others?
Use a STAR example of something that you have done on your degree, in work or as part of an extra-curricular activity that sets you apart.
In the action part of your example describe which skills you used, and make sure they are ones that you think the employer would value in the job role. In the result part of your example, focus on your achievements and any impact you made.
Questions about your immigration status
If you’re on a visa and applying for a job in the UK, make sure you find out more about your working rights before completing a job application. You may be asked to specify your immigration status on the application form, so be ready to give more details on this.
How can we help with applications?
We can help via Application Support appointments, these are done online and on campus and are bookable through MyCareer!
Look out for workshops and events based on application writing, improving commercial awareness and other skills which may help with applications
If you have to complete a psychometric test as part of the initial screening we have resources to help you practise.