Know What to Expect from Graduate Job Application Forms
Most job application forms will ask you for the same range of descriptive information, but past that point, they can vary wildly. Remember, when you’re filling out your work history, education information, and even your address, to keep things perfectly consistent with your graduate CV. If you’re lucky enough to capture someone’s attention, you don’t want them to linger over why you can’t seem to spell your street address consistently.
Corporate recruiters searching for graduate talent often use a standard application form for all applicants. These generic forms may ask a few industry-specific questions, but otherwise, simply collect the top-level information required by most job application forms. In lieu of industry-specific prompts, you may be asked to respond at length in a blank field. This is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the competition, so make the most of it.
Most individual companies develop their own customised application forms. These can vary greatly, but each reflects its company’s priorities. Reading a company-specific application form against a more generic one typical of recruitment firms may give you some clues as to what your prospective employer is looking for.
Standardised or specific, on paper or online, job application forms tend to ask similar questions beyond your personal details. For example,
- Describe a situation in which you overcame significant obstacles
- What is your leadership style? Tell us about a time you led a group toward achievement of a common goal
- List your three proudest achievements, and describe how they distinguish you from others
Some of these may seem unfairly vague, and chances are they were designed to be so. Job application forms can be straightforward, or they can represent tests of your resourcefulness.