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© Career Development and Employment Service 1 Effective Application forms Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 2 Learning Outcome u u To provide guidelines for completing forms u u To prepare students for what to expect from application forms u u To give examples of questions to help students to gain practise u u To highlight the competencies employers require and to explore ways of providing appropriate examples Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service When might you use an application form? Department of Student Services 3
© Career Development and Employment Service 4 Application forms are used by most large graduate recruiters in order to: u u Assess whether you meet the job and person specifications u u Enable employers to see that you have the appropriate competencies u u To ensure that everyone is assessed on the same criteria Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 5 Preparation u u Find out as much about the job as you can u u Find out as much about the company as you can u u Think about the examples from your experience that will enable you to demonstrate your competencies in the most persuasive way. u u Make sure you are familiar with, and understand the job description Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 6 What are Employers Looking For? u u In addition to skills based competencies, employers may take other considerations in to account: u u Relevant experience u u Outstanding achievement u u Strength of argument/coherence u u Professional and persuasive style u u Overall visual effect Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 7 Did You Know…..? Application forms commonly go direct to the bin because of …. u u spelling and grammar mistake u u failing to follow instructions on the form u u having incorrect information in the form e.g. mentioning the wrong job title and the wrong organisation (caution with cutting and pasting!) Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service Most forms have standard content: u u Personal details u u Education and qualifications u u Employment details u u Skills/business awareness/careers related questions or.. Personal statement u u Interests and activities u u References Department of Student Services 8
© Career Development and Employment Service in addition, they may ask for: u u Equal opportunities monitoring information e.g ethnicity, disability u u Health questions u u Criminal record information u u Declaration – signature to say that the information provided is true and complete – giving false information can be used as grounds for dismissal! Department of Student Services 9
© Career Development and Employment Service 10 On Line Applications u u Most large companies will use on-line application forms u u Sites usually operate by use of a password – which allows you to return to the site u u Stick to any word count – if there is no word count then keep your answers brief and to the point u u Print out the form (if possible) and use as a draft u u If possible, draft the answers in Word then cut and paste – this allows spell check u u Some sites allow you to upload your CV - ensure information given in the application form and on your CV is consistent. Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service Completing Application Forms Personal Details, Education and Employment u u This is factual information and is relatively straightforward u u Most information can be copied from your CV u u You may have to explain any obvious gaps in your education or employment Department of Student Services 11
© Career Development and Employment Service Skills, business awareness and careers related questions u u Questions may appear strange or irrelevant – it is the process that is important and the way that you demonstrate you have the required competencies u u Questions may contact several parts- make sure you address each part u u These questions require time and thought – try them in rough and ask a Careers Consultant to check them u u To answer questions you should draw on personal, academic and professional experiences Department of Student Services 12
© Career Development and Employment Service 13 Did You Know…..? Sainsburys state that they reject two thirds of applicants because they have found it difficult to make the link between personal experiences and competencies required Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 14 Competency Related Questions u u Describe a specific situation when you needed to co- operate with others to solve a problem. What did you do? Vauxhall u u Describe a time when you have successfully solved a challenging problem or overcome a difficult situation using your initiative. In your answer we will be looking for clear evidence of Problem Solving/Commercial Judgement. HSBC Summer internship Scheme Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 15 Business Awareness Questions u u What do you see as the key issues facing the food retailing industry? Morrisons Graduate Scheme u ? B u Given current circumstances what steps could be taken to address the issues Barclays face and why would you recommend these ? Barclays graduate training scheme Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 16 Careers Related Questions u u Why have you applied for this job? u u Why do you want to work in this field? u u Tell us what steps you have taken to clarify your career choice. What other careers are you considering? Arcadia Group u u What attracts you to a career in the retail fashion industry? Arcadia Group Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 17 Constructing Answers u u Use a combination of academic, work experience and personal activities in your answers u u Demonstrate that you have the skills and personal qualities an employer is looking for u u Make sure you answer the question u u Use STAR (Scene, Task, Action, Results) Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 18 Constructing your Answers - STAR u u Scene/scenario – what was the situation? u u Tasks – what needed to be done? u u Action – what did you do and why? u u Result – what was the outcome? And something about you – e.g. what you learned, what skills you developed Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service Personal Statement “Please use this space to give us any extra information to support your application” Public sector organisations and small and medium sized enterprises often use a person specification as part of their selection process Application forms are usually accompanied with a person specification, a list of criteria that you are required to match whilst writing your personal statement Department of Student Services 19
© Career Development and Employment Service Personal Statement u u It is vital that you demonstrate how you match each of the essential criteria and as many of the desirable criterion as possible u u You must give examples to demonstrate the skills and experiences that you are required to have. u u Make use of subheadings and shorter paragraphs to organise your personal statement and make it easier to read! Department of Student Services 20
© Career Development and Employment Service 21 References u u Usually need 2 or 3 u u Not a family member – academic tutor, employer, voluntary work supervisor u u Check with referees first Department of Student Services
© Career Development and Employment Service 22 Checklist u u Take a copy of the form for practise u u Read thoroughly and follow all instructions carefully u u Use formal language and get somebody to proof read it u u Keep a copy of the completed form for your own reference u u Do NOT send CV instead u u Break text into paragraphs and /or use headings u u Get a Careers Consultant to advise you on your completed application form Department of Student Services
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