An employer may ask you to complete an application form instead of sending a CV. The form could be on paper or online. If you do not have access to a computer, you can access one at your local library.

Follow our guide below on how to complete an application form.

Let’s get started

Before starting to complete your application form read the job description, person specification and any instructions provided to ensure that you understand what the employer wants. Also, make sure that you research the employer to find out who they are and what they do. Using this information, you can tailor your answers to the job that you are applying for. This can help your application stand out and mean that you are more likely to reach the next stage of the process.

It is a good idea to have all your personal information to hand to save yourself time. If you have a CV, have it out ready so that you can refer to it. Make sure that you check the closing date for applications and give yourself enough time to complete the form. Don’t leave it until last minute.

Your application form will include similar information to your CV:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number - give a number that you are contactable on during the day
  • Email address
  • Education History - start with the most recent first and include dates, the school or college where you studied, the qualifications you gained and your results
  • Employment History - start with the most recent first and include dates, the name of the company that you worked for, and your job title. You may be asked to include some brief details of your duties and responsibilities. If you are at the start of your career, you could include details of work experience and volunteering activities. If you have a gap in your employment history, you should give a brief explanation and say what you did during that time
  • References - you will usually be asked to provide details of two work references. Include their name, employer, job title and contact details. Make sure that you obtain their permission first

Some application forms may ask you to answer certain questions. These may be competency or situation-based questions, for example, tell us about a time that you dealt with a difficult situation, or tell us about a time that you gave exceptional customer service.

Questions like this can be answered using the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result and this method will help you to structure your answer. It is a good idea to prepare your answer in a separate word document and then paste it into the application form when you are happy with it and have checked it. You can also save it to use or adapt for other applications.

Once you have completed your application form, make sure you:

  • Read through it again to check for any mistakes and check the spelling and grammar. It is a good idea to get someone else to check it for you as well. They may see things that you don’t
  • Sign and date it
  • Save a copy for use with future applications, and in case you're asked about it at interview

Useful Links

The National Careers Service have some great information on Filling in an application form

Prospects also have some good advice on how to write a successful job application.

Are you a young person planning for your post-16 training and education journey? If so, visit our partner website >log on | move on> to find out more about completing a successful application form. You can also access a wealth of help, support and information on finding a career.

Are you an adult living in the East Riding? If so, visit East Riding Adult learning and employment support to see what help is available to you.

Are you an adult living in Hull? If so, visit Hull City Council Training and adult education support.

Hear advice from local company Cranswick on CV writing, application forms and personal statements at Hire Me on YouTube.