Dealing with Job Application Forms

Scenario: Just over a week ago you received your killer new resume (prepared by me, of course) and “Hurrah!” it’s paid off, you’ve just landed an interview with your dream company.

You turn up nice and early for your interview, groomed and dressed to perfection. Even Trinny and Susannah could not have helped you look this good! You walk up to the reception desk, oozing with confidence and charm, and inform the receptionist of your arrival. Then, just as you are beginning to think your day couldn’t be going any better, your heart thuds as she utters those dreaded words…

“Please take a seat and fill in this application form.”

“But, they already have my resume.” you splutter.

“Yes, it’s just standard procedure.” she says.

Suddenly you are faced with the prospect of filling in a drab form of tick this, cross that, list your last three jobs and other tedious questions. The best part about submitting a resume, as opposed to relying on standard ‘Application Forms’, is that you can control how your resume is presented.

Not only can you control the layout and presentation, you can also control what information you want to go in there. If there is a job in your past that you don’t particularly want highlighted, you can skim over it. If you are trying to change careers, or enter the job market after a period of absence, you can bring an employer’s attention to your transferable skills, and demonstrate your passion for the industry in a killer cover letter. You have total control.

A standard application form however has a very real threat of doing absolutely nothing to make you stand out from the competition.

Being prepared for this possibility is going to be the most successful solution. Luckily, this is simple.

One strategy is to make sure you have a copy of your resume on hand. This allows you easy reference to your key achievements, skills and experience. It also makes sure you are able to accurately line up job titles and dates as well as having all the contact details of your referees on hand, as these can be fairly standard on job application forms.

Just remember – even though the form is standard, that doesn’t mean your answers need to be.

For example, if the form asks you to list duties of previous positions you should, instead, list your top three achievements just as you do in your resume. In other words, depending on the amount of room provided on the form, simply write what you have on your resume in a condensed form.

Even if the form only allows room for a couple of words, having your resume on hand will allow you to pick out the best options with confidence!

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