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When applying for a job, you may be asked to fill in an application form. Most employers use online application formats for submitting job applications.

These can include:

Email

Your application is made up of your resume, cover letter and any other required documents, to be sent as attachments to an introductory email.

Forms

You may be asked to download an application form, such as a word document. You then fill in the required information and upload it, with your resume and any other required documents.

Database

Some companies have an online application process, using a database. This captures your answers to questions about your skills and experience to do the job. You may also be asked to upload your resume and any other supporting documents.

Before you start

  • Read and follow all of the instructions.
  • Where possible, look at all of the questions before you begin.
  • Ensure you have all documents required and in the correct format.
  • Make sure you have enough time to complete the application.

Completing the form

  • The website will often have an 'Apply Now' link. You may have to register a username and password. Remember your login details so you can return to your application.
  • Type your responses into a word document and transfer the information into the form or database. This allows you to spell check and safeguards against losing information if the computer or website crashes.
  • Comply strictly with the word /character limits for your answers.
  • Use similar words in your answers as those used by the employer. Often word recognition programs are used to screen applications.
  • Print a copy of your application. Re-read it and have someone with knowledge about job applications give feedback.
  • Keep a copy of each application form. When it comes to the interview stage, you need to remember exactly what you have told the employer.
  • Before submitting the application, make sure that you have included any relevant attachments (resume, cover letter, statement addressing the selection criteria).
  • After you have sent your application, you usually receive an automatic acknowledgement that your application was successfully sent.

Answering the questions

  • Respond to every question. If the question is not relevant, write 'not applicable' rather than leaving it blank.
  • Never write 'refer to resume' as it makes you look lazy and uninterested in the position.
  • Complete any optional questions that give you the chance to explain how your interests, abilities and career goals match the organisation's requirements.
  • Provide relevant examples to back up your responses to questions. This is particularly important when answering behavioural questions. See sample interview questions.
  • You may also be asked to take an online psychometric test. You will usually have only one chance to take the test, so make sure you are relaxed and prepared before you start.

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