All you need to know about online graduate application forms

The step-by-step guide to filling in online application forms for graduate jobs.

While online makes the whole job application process more efficient and practical for both involved, you and the recruiters, you still want to put your best foot forward. And here is how you do just that.

 

1. Preparation

Preparation is key, this is the one thing that everyone can agree upon. Not only do you need to show recruiters who you are, but also that you know who the company is, what job you are applying for and be able to show evidence of this knowledge. Do yourself a favour, get prepared.

 

2. Practice psychometric tests

These are, unfortunately, part of the application process sometimes. And the best way to nail these tests is to practice them, and before you start with all application processes begin with these. Check your university’s careers services to see if they run practice sessions.

 

3. Print off and read the application form thoroughly

Before you complete the form make sure you read through all the information, especially the instructions, so that you know what to expect. To avoid feeling pressured into answering the questions right  then and there, print off or download it so you can go through it in your own time. Jot down notes or answers and start thinking about your longer answers.

 

4. Prepare longer responses beforehand

It is a good idea to take the questions from the online application form, and put them in a Word document. This gives you the added bonus of having spell check and being able to edit your answers in an easy manner, and even save them for later applications. Make sure you are comfortable with what the question is asking and think of suitable examples so as to best showcase your skills that the graduate employer is seeking. Remember to use the STAR method for your answers.

Once you’re happy with your answers, make sure to check everything! Spelling, grammar, tone and specifically the word count. Anything over the word count will NOT be read (even if it fits). Get someone else to read your answers for spelling mistakes or if you need to bounce ideas of someone.

 

5. Give yourself plenty of time

Time to get back to the application. Give yourself plenty of time, especially if there is no ‘save and return’ button as you will have to do it in one, and make sure you will not be disturbed. Remember to not rush and always try to remain formal professional. You will be amazed at how fast it can be  once you have planned everything out and have a few hours to focus solely on it.

 

6. Check, check and check again

This is one of the most important parts, check everything! Once completed make sure that: you have supplied accurate information, answered the right questions and given the correct details (you do not wanna get that wrong). Make sure that everything is professional, especially your contact details.

Spelling mistakes and poor grammar definitely will shoot you in the foot, you have spell check so use it! It could be the difference between getting an interview and being ignored. If you are able to save and return, then give yourself a quick break and come back to it as you are more likely to spot mistakes. If you can, get someone else to check through your answers.

 

Checklist

Before you press submit, check:

  • Spelling and grammar: - you can use spell check, but don’t rely on it!

  • References to the employer’s name:- make sure the bloody name is spelt correct!

  • All questions have a response: don’t leave blanks and make sure you have answered the correct questions.

  • Your personal details: check all is correct and up to date.

  • Your contact details: do you need to include both term-time and home address and telephone contacts, and is your email address appropriate?

 

7. Keep a reference

Make sure to save or print out a completed copy of the form, this is so you can proofread it again and to keep a version for future reference.

 

8. Send it!

Click the send button, your ready and you got this!

 

Tips for electronically scanned applications and CVs

Be warned, employers sometimes use scanning software to filter and screen application forms. If you are asked to do this, don’t panic. Just make sure that you follow any instructions given about format and formatting, if you don’t follow these then your application could automatically be rejected by the system.