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How to complete an application form

international student writing

Need help? Here's how we can support you with your application forms.

If you’ve struggled with application forms in the past and you’re worried they’re holding you back, we can help. Upload your next application to your documents on Handshake and request a review by sending us a message.

Read the Talk to Us page for more information about our support.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to complete an application form rather than upload your cover letter and CV. You may be asked to upload your CV as well as complete an application form.

They can take longer than you think to complete, so give yourself enough time to apply. You can usually save your progress as you go along, so you don’t have to complete it in one go.

Application form sections

The form will usually be split into sections, including:

  • Personal details
  • Education (if the form won’t let you enter your qualification type, contact the recruiter)
  • Employment history
  • Application questions
  • References

The application questions will usually be in one of these forms:

  • Personal statement
  • Series of questions about your skills and experiences
  • Series of specific, work-related questions

Tips for completing application questions

  • Use the word count well - these questions are your chance to prove to the employer that you can do the job, so take time to answer the questions properly.
  • Address the skills and experiences required in the job description. Don’t use up words talking about skills that are not mentioned.
  • Give good examples from your work experience and education to demonstrate your skills and experience. Saying that you have the skill is not enough, you have to prove it with examples. Use the C-A-R method to help you:

Using the CAR method

CAR (Context, Action, Result) is a good way to structure the examples you give:

Context: briefly set the scene for your example. ‘In my part-time work in a busy coffee shop…’

Action: explain what you did. ‘...I demonstrated leadership skills by mentoring new employees and assisting the supervisor during busy periods...;’

Result: explain the outcome. ‘Leading to me being promoted to supervisor where I managed four colleagues and dealt with any problems that occurred during my shift.’

  • Write clearly and concisely. The application is a chance to show you have good written communication skills.
  • Proofread, and consider asking a family member or friend to check it. We can give you feedback on your application but we do not provide a proofreading service. Use Texthelp tools to get your computer to read out your answers to help you spot mistakes.
  • Find space to explain why you want the job and what attracts you to that employer.

Example answers