Sunday 27 October 2013

Common Errors When Writing an Application Form

Application forms are deceptive: they can, at first glance, look easy to complete and therefore encourage you to be careless. However, keep the following points in mind and avoid the most common errors:
  • failing to complete the form completely: easily done if you complete half the form and then put it aside for a while. Read the form through again before sealing it in the envelope. Make sure you answers all the questions properly.

  • not checking the spelling: spelling mistakes - especially very simple ones - occur more frequently if you write black and white in block capitals. Again, take the time to check and re-edit your work. It would be a good idea to print the application form, check it for any spelling and other mechanical errors, before sending it off.

  • do not use texting language: your writing should be formal. Avoid contractions (don't, can't) and abbreviations like LOL, GR8, and so on.

  • putting the wrong company name or job title in: this can happen if you word process answers and stick them on to your application form. Avoid this error by CHECKING your work well.

  • being too literal or too honest in your replies: Look at the following selection of answers:
        • Last employer: Julie, the floor manager
        • Reason for leaving: I was dismissed
        • Reason for leaving: Caught my hand in the toaster
        • Reason for applying: My lecturer gave me the form
Summary of main points:
1. Remember the two key rules: read the question, answer the question.

2. Read the whole form before you start filling it in. Draft your answers first and take some time to check what you have written.

3. Be guided by the space allocated to each question. This should give you a rough idea of the type of answer you are expected to give. Do not be afraid to go beyond that space.

4. Spend time thinking and answering the question: Why do you want the job? Think about how your skills, experience and personal interests matches the role you are applying for.

5. Concentrate on the work aspects of the role not the higher salary, better increments or perks.

6. If your reasons for wanting the job flow onto an additional sheet, always put your name and the post for which you are applying at the top of the sheet.

7. Check. Check. And Check again your spelling!

8. Check that you have completed the whole form.

9. Give your application form to a friend or family member and ask them what they think about it.

10. Keep a copy of the application form for referral in case you are selected for an interview, or to save as a copy for future reference if you responded well to one (or more) of the questions.

       Adapted from How to Write a CV, Judith Leigh (2013)
Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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