Making your application form stand out

Many companies now recruit using online application forms. While this should not be a substitute for maintaining an up-to-date CV, you do need to be prepared to present yourself in this format as part of your job hunting.

Here are some key things to remember when filling in an application form:

Make it relevant

Most of the companies that use application forms as part of their recruitment process are used to receiving large numbers of applications. This method enables them to sort candidate relevance more quickly. Therefore, it is crucial that you stand out from the crowd with a well-written, informative and pertinent application form. It needs to show careful consideration and understanding of the particular job requirements rather than look like you have sent the same application to dozens of vacancies.


Before you start, research the company and the position you are applying for. Consider what appeals to you about this job and/or organisation and be ready to state this later in your application

Keep it brief and consider your answers

Download and print off a PDF version of the application form where possible and use this to draft your answer before submitting the application online. Keep your answers brief and to the point – long paragraphs and reams of information will be skimmed over or ignored.
Applications forms usually give an indication of what an employer is looking for in terms of specific skills and experience. Pay particular attention to questions that ask you to describe a particular skill/experience and allow you a large space to respond – this is usually the part of the application that the company will use to decide whether to call you for interview.

Job history

List your jobs in reverse chronological order, including your job title, name of company and location. If there is space to describe your responsibilities/achievements, prioritise those that are most relevant to the experience required in the job.

Personal statement

You may be given an opportunity to write in general terms about yourself and your career to date. Don’t be tempted to go into great detail – opt instead for a brief description of skills and experience, which relate to the job in question. This can be done with sub headings to make it more accessible to the reader, focussing on specific requirements of the job, for example Leadership/Management, Project Management, New Business.


Choose a work-related referee where possible, preferably your current manager. If you are a recent graduate, one of your referees should be a university academic, ideally your Personal Tutor. Always ask their permission and provide their full name and title, postal address, email address, phone number. Tell your referees about your career plans and keep them informed about your application progress.

Check before sending

Before you submit your application:
Print – check and keep a copy. Check your spelling and grammar to avoid being rejected at the first post.
Re-read the job description and double check that the information you have provided relates to the key requirements of the job.

GOOD LUCK from the team at Tailor Made Resources!