Article: Job Applications
'Job Applications' helps you apply for jobs, whether that's by doing an application form or writing a CV and covering letter.
You can find job adverts in places like local/national newspapers (including on their websites), on job boards, at Jobcentre Plus offices, on the Find a Job website and in specialist magazines and journals.
You can often apply online or by email, either by completing an application form or by attaching your CV and covering letter, depending on what the employer wants.
Sometimes, you have to email or phone to get an application form. A few adverts ask you to ring the employer first to chat about the job. If so, do this as soon as you can. Either by email or on the phone, you should say something like:
"Please send me an application form for the post of [job title], reference number [if there is one], which I saw advertised in [say where you saw the job]."
If you have to telephone, you might need to leave a message. If you get a bit tongue-tied, it's a good idea to write down what you need to say before you ring. It's best to write a few important key words or phrases though, as you might sound a bit unnatural if you read the whole thing out word for word.
Looking at the job information
Apart from the form itself, application packs usually include:
- a job description, including the essential or desirable skills you'll need
- background information about the employer
- a minority/diversity monitoring form. This might ask you about things like your ethnic background, religion and sexuality. You don't have to complete this form. It's there to help make sure the employer is being fair when they recruit people; it must not be used to decide on your application.
Before you apply, ask yourself a few questions:
- is it clear what this job involves?
- do I need to ask someone for more information?
- why would I be good at this job?
- do I have the right qualifications, skills and experience?
- is the job's location and salary clear?
- will I be able to get there easily or will I have to move home?
- can I afford to live on the salary?
If you have questions about the job itself, you could email or telephone the employer to find out more.
Employers get lots of applications, so it's easy for them to reject people who made spelling mistakes or who didn't follow instructions. Take your time and check everything very carefully.
You can apply for many jobs online. There might be a link from the advert to an online form or you might have to visit the employer's website to apply. If so, you'll probably find the application form in the 'vacancies' section of the website.
Some application forms are completely online. You go through the form screen by screen, filling in information and answering questions. Many online forms allow you to save your work and come back later, so you don't have to do everything in one go.
At the end, there will be a 'submit' button to send off your completed form. Don't press this until you've reread your form, making sure all sections are complete. Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes; get someone else to read it through if that's possible. Print out your form before sending it - you'll need to remember what you've said if you do get an interview.
With other online forms, you have to download and save the documents. You complete the application and minority/diversity monitoring forms and attach them to an email. Make sure you say what job you're applying for, including the reference number. This could go in the email's 'subject' bar.
Some employers ask you to send your form in by post. If so, you should also include a cover letter (see 'Applying by CV').
You can send in your CV and covering letter when you want to work for a particular organisation, even though they haven't advertised a vacancy. Speculative letters tell the employer about you, what kind of work you'd like to do and why you want to work for them.
If a vacancy comes up, the employer can then contact you so you can apply for the job and take part in the recruitment process.
Speculative letters can work. You'll have more chance of success if your letter is well-focused, setting out exactly what you're looking for and why you're writing.
State clearly what you're looking for (employment or work experience?). Do lots of research about the organisation and make sure your experience links to its work. Contact the recruitment or human resources department to get the name of a person to write to.
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Author: Lynn Williams Publisher: Kogan Page
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Author: Lynn Williams Publisher: Kogan Page