Application forms are used by recruiters to standardise their application processes. Most large employers now use online systems, which require the completion of a web-based template – sometimes within a specific timescale once started. Some employers may also ask for other documentation, for example a CV, to be sent by email or uploaded onto a website.

The Careers and Employability Service is here to help you with all aspects of applying for jobs including feedback and advice on your draft application form.


What do I include in my application?

The answers to include on your application depend on the job role you are applying for and are based on the job description and person specification that employers provide to help you understand the role.

  • The Person Specification describes the type of person they are looking for. Use the details provided as a guide to designing your responses. It will tell you what the essential and desirable requirements for the job are and it is your responsibility to demonstrate how you meet those requirements. As the wording implies, essential requirements are those that all applicants must meet in order to be considered for an interview and your ability to meet the desirable requirements will help the employer to differentiate between candidates.

  • Job descriptions outline the key duties and nature of the role, talk about the experience you have already gained in similar roles and situations.

  • Provide real examples and analyse what you actually did. Show clearly what your role was and how it developed your skills. Keep your examples relevant and structured.

  • Application forms can have competency-based questions and/or personal statement questions.

    • Competency-based questions ask you to provide relevant skills and evidence for the role you’re applying for.

    • Personal statement questions are more open, e.g. what skills and experience do you have that relate to the job? For these kinds of questions, you need to use the requirements for the job (look at the advert and person specification) to provide evidence of your suitability. Refer to the person specification and job description and make sure that you address all of the skills, competencies and experience that they ask for. You may find it useful to use the sections in the job description or person specification to create your own headings to organise your answer and make sure that you miss nothing out. This will also make it easier for the employer to find and cross-reference your responses against the specification.

The employer will likely want to know why you want the job. Most application forms will include a section asking applicants to talk about why they are interested in the role. Employers only want to recruit people who are genuinely enthusiastic about working in their organisation and it makes perfect sense to ask applicants to explain their interest.


Do you have application example questions?

The Careers and Employability Service has written an in-depth guide to completing an application form with some example questions and answers to give you an idea about how to tackle the form and important things to include.

There are also some example speculative application letters to give you some ideas about how to construct them.

Visit the Careers and Employability Service website for further advice on application forms.


Where can I get my application reviewed?

Bookable one-to-one appointments with a professional careers adviser are available for tailored in-depth advice. You can either email via or a selection of appointments are available to book online.


How can I get in contact for more information and advice?

The Careers and Employability Service has a dedicated team of friendly, experienced advisers on hand to talk to you. You can find out more about the support available from the Careers and Employability Service, access a wide range of information and advice and find out how to contact us by visiting our website at


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