How do I apply?

When applying for a job, you may be asked to fill in an application form. Most employers use online application formats for job applications (for example, email, PDF, and online application databases).

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 Microsoft Word document or PDF. You then fill in the required information and upload it, along with your resume and any other required documents.

Online applications

Some companies have an online application process, which uses a database. This captures your answers to questions about your relevant skills and experience. You may also be asked to upload your resume and 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 that you have all the required documents and they are 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. Make sure you remember your login details so you can return to your application.
  • Type your responses into your own document and transfer the information into the form or database. This allows you to spellcheck your answers and guards against losing information if the computer or website crashes.
  • Comply strictly with the word or character limits for your answers.
  • Use similar words in your answers to those used by the employer. Often, word recognition programs are used to screen applications.
  • Print a copy of your application. Re-read it and get someone who knows about job applications to give you feedback.
  • Keep a copy of each application form. When it comes to the interview stage, you need to remember exactly what you’ve told the employer.
  • Before submitting the application, make sure you’ve included any relevant attachments (resume, cover letter, statement addressing the selection criteria).
  • After you’ve sent your application, you’ll usually receive an automatic acknowledgement.

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’ – 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 job interview questions.
  • You may also be asked to take an online psychometric test. You’ll usually have only one chance to take the test, so make sure you are relaxed and prepared before you start.

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