If you never had to fill in an application form – don’t worry I am pretty convinced you will still get a chance.  You are likely to come across them when applying for education or a job in a large organisation. Even though the need for your CV is not disappearing anytime soon, it is useful to know how to stand out with an application form when needed.

Where to begin?

I strongly suggest having a base CV ready to go in preparation for writing an application form. You will be able to choose and use the most relevant content each time you write an application. This useful technique will help you tackle that long application process way quicker. Also, your professional CV can later be used for any speculative job applications that you might decide to send out.

The critical question

Almost all application forms have one thing in common – a killer question, which goes something like:

‘Please give details of how your skills and experience match the requirements of the role.’

It is a smart way for an employer to test a range of your abilities: 

  • Judge the appropriate length and level of detail of the answer
  • Show employer that you have done your “homework” and fully understand what the job requires and what the company is all
  • Match details about your experience to these criteria
  • Write in an appropriate style and, most importantly, persuasive.

The question helps to show your judgement, personality and ability to present yourself persuasively.

When answering the question, you need to keep in mind that the answer should comprise will be used to shortlist candidates for interview. Thus, if you think you gave your “all” in previous education and work history section, don’t rest just yet.  Also, don’t make a mistake thinking that this question is somehow complementary to your other answers or some form of ‘additional detail’.  Even if the question is phrased like this, ensure your answer matches all their given criteria.

Protect your employment chances by interpreting any misleadingly phrased question as ‘Please give details of how your skills and experience match the requirements of the role’.

Do I still need a CV?

It is vital to keep your CV up to date and regularly revise it. Because even with application forms becoming more common in recruitment there will be employers who prefer traditional CV or as I mentioned previously, you might want to use it in speculative job applications.

So, whatever the situation might be, having a professionally written CV will be a great help when you find the need to fil in an application form.  You will now have the essential details ready to transfer across, then all you will be left with will be the discussion of your achievement and fundamental responsibilities.

Make this time-consuming job application process as easy as you can.

Can I just attach my CV instead?

You should never attach a CV if an application form has been requested. You are at risk of being seen as lazy or as a person who can’t follow instructions. Don’t attach a CV unless they specify it as an additional requirement.

So, stick to these two rules, and you should be fine:

  1. Follow the instructions
  2. Write the last question as if it was the only thing that the recruiter was going to look at.