Dealing with an application form

Application forms can make job hunters' hearts sink sometimes. You've created an ideal CV and now an organisation has come along and said they won't take it – you have to fill in their specific form instead. Sometimes, these documents can stretch to several pages and ask for details you hadn't even considered on your CV.

However, although filling in an application form can often take longer than sending off an already completed CV, there are some tricks that can streamline the process or mean you complete the form in a better way. Here are a few.


Once you've done a few applications forms, you'll spot that a lot of them ask for essentially the same details – and there's no harm copying and pasting your reference contact information, qualification information and the like from a form you've already used for a different employer. Provided, of course, you double check it's all still accurate and answers the question on the new form properly.

One part of the form you'll want to make different each time is the long form essay explaining why you're the person for the job that is a common part of these documents, or the specific questions relating to the role which you'll also often see.

Giving as much thought to these parts of the form as possible is the best way to help ensure you do well with your answers.

Maintain neatness

Filling in your form on a computer, then sending it via email is probably neater and faster than sending a handwritten copy in the post. And computers have other advantages, like spell check.

Still, getting a form to remain neat as you fill it in on your computer can sometimes cause issues too. We'd recommend using tips like making sure your answers to questions match the font used on the form, so that things stay neat.

When it comes to sending your form, remember to use a file type that the recipient will definitely have the software to open – for example, use the same file type the form was originally presented in if possible, or ask if in doubt.

Read everything

This is common advice, but important. There's often a fair bit of information on these forms, and you can't just assume, even when it comes to the basics, the copying and pasting from a past form into this one will cut it, unless you have carefully considered all the written material you're presented with.

Give yourself enough time

Filling out an idiosyncratic application form is often a more time consuming task than simply making the odd change to your CV, producing a cover letter and hitting send.

But employers use them partly so that they can dictate exactly what information you give them, and you need to play along by following their instructions to the letter.

Set aside as much time as you need for this within reason, bearing in mind that it's better to do the form to the best of your ability than send off a half-baked application that won't impress.

Remember that, although each form is different, your ability to complete them will improve with time. 

Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you find hospitality work.