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Application forms and supporting statements

Application forms are a common way for employers to skim through large numbers of applications. Online application forms can seem daunting but they are a great tool to showcase your experience and expand on the skills you will have touched upon in your CV.

When completing application forms, you should always keep in mind that your answers will be judged against the person specification, and in particular against the essential criteria detailed in the job description.

“There will be certain sections in that job description that you should be writing to, don’t just blanket put down everything you’ve ever done without relating it to the job, don’t just list, ‘I’ve done this, I’ve done this, I’ve done this’. Instead, try writing ‘my experience and knowledge can help the organisation to…’, ‘my worth to you is… [...] I can be flexible and adaptable because I [...]”

Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool.

STAR method

When focusing on each criterion included in a job description, you should aim to provide evidence as to why you have that competence, skill or strength. One way of answering in a complete and practical way is using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. This structure allows you to give appropriate examples and illustrate your experience.

Read more about how to structure your STAR answers here.

Remember that you can give a variety of examples, without focusing exclusively on your recent work experience. When using STAR, remember:

  • you can use examples from work, home or volunteering 
  • keep examples short and to the point 

Examples bank

One good way to be ready to fill out different application forms and supporting statements, together with preparing yourself for interview, is to create a bank of examples that you can refer to when writing your applications.

Application forms should showcase your

“rationale as to why you are interested in the role, in the company and a bit more about your background that we might not get from your CV […] aim to get a feel for you as an individual.

Katie Caine, Recruitment Business Partner at Ashfield MedComms, Ashfield Health

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The goal is getting yourself into the interview.

“What matters to us is that you have taken the time to read the person specs, that you’ve read about the role and that you are putting yourself forward for that role and demonstrating why you are the right fit for that role, not just a standard statement that almost replicates your CV. We are looking for that added value in that statement, we are looking for examples.
The goal that you need to be working on at that first stage is getting yourself into the interview.

Stephanie Donaldson, Executive Director of Business Resources, National Museums Liverpool

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