Job applications: dos and don’ts

How to write a successful job application.

If you're looking for employment, you'll probably need to fill in an online application form.

A job application helps the employer get all the information they need.

As a parent, you don't have a lot of spare time. And these applications can be pretty long and involved. 

But if you follow these dos and don'ts, you'll give yourself a good chance of getting an interview.

The dos

  • Do save the job advert and your application
    You fill in some applications online. But don't forget to make your own copy of the questions and answers. Same goes for the job advert (before they take it down). You'll need these to prepare for an interview.

  • Do tick off essential requirements in the Person Specification
    Read through your application and tick off each requirement that you have addressed. Give evidence to show you meet all the requirements.

  • Do use the STAR technique to give evidence
    Describe the Situation and what your Task/s were. Say what Action you took and what the Result was. E.g. Our voluntary group ran 8 virtual support sessions for parents. I had to schedule the sessions and promote them. I joined a number of Facebook Groups that local parents were part of. Taking part in those groups, I was able to reach our intended audience. As a result, we had over 20 people attending our sessions. This is an example of my experience in marketing events.

  • Do keep write in short sentences and get to the point
    Employers have to read stacks of applications. Keeping your sentences short and focused will help them. And it will show that you have good communication skills.

  • Do check for spelling and grammar mistakes
    Copy and paste your application into Microsoft Word, or similar, to check for mistakes. Grammarly is also good for checking that you haven't made embarrassing mistakes. Get a friend to read it too.

The don'ts

  • Don't leave it till the last minute
    Some employers remove advertised jobs before the deadline is up. This happens when lots of people apply. Don't get caught out – apply as soon as possible.

  • Don't do it all at once
    Start as soon as possible and save your progress over a few days. You'll feel much fresher and be less likely to give up or make mistakes.

  • Don't write a story about everything you've ever done
    Answer the questions and give examples that are specific to what they are asking.

  • Don't forget to say why you want the job
    Lots of people will be equally qualified. Research the employer/business. Highlight the things you like about them and use them in your application.

Job application: common skills

Use this template to think of examples of how you possess these common skills.

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