A practical session which will show you techniques you can use straight away
Ask for show of hands – who has completed an AF before – what did you think of the experience? This workshop will teach you to welcome rather than fear them…
Employers can require you to address the skills and motivations they consider important for the job
The upside is fairness – not perfect, but everyone is being asked to perform the same transparent set of tasks
Time-saving, as the information is presented in the same part of the application and format by all applicants – quicker and more consistent screening
Does it seem that they are deterring you with the long and complicated process? Maybe they really are – if you are a badly prepared, half-motivated applicant – an early form of screening
The fairness mentioned in the last slide is a real asset…. ….as is the transparency – they are giving you huge clues as to what matters to them according to what they ask and how much space they give you to answer
If you don’t know what the organisation is like, the role requires and how you measure up, you’re not ready to start writing
The matching process is conceptually simple, but does take time – shortcuts are not in your favour – quality not quantity
If no job description is given, do your research
Exercise: explain what they have to do, briefly describe the different jobs from the description on the slides only – invite the group members to decide which one appeals to them most (might be worth pointing out that they all accept applications from any degree subject Then distribute handouts – get the group to form into subgroups according to which job they are into (combine subgroups if anyone is on their own)
Get them to make a list of strengths and weaknesses relative to the requirements – point out that there is useful info in the job description as well as the person specification
Give a UK address unless the employer is international/based in your non-UK location
Give exact qualification details incl grades if possible – if they don’t fit in the boxes, ask the employer If non-UK/non standard, give the grades in original format (give UK equivalent if format allows) Blips – don’t try to hide them; use the box allowing explanations or ‘any other info’ box if available – give brief factual details and anything positive you took from the experience
Work experience – include unpaid unless told not to; emphasise the sexiest parts of what you did
Interests – nothing wrong as such with this example, but they are all solitary (it’s from a real application form), not compatible with the large number of jobs involving interaction with others.
Ask the subgroups for each vacancy to call out possible reasons for wanting to do this job – write to flipchart
Refer back to competencies identified by subgroups earlier
Ask them to compile competency questions from these examples
Examples given – the disguised competency question looks like a personality issue, but it’s really about resilience and coping with setbacks – something a lot of graduate employers want to know about
Too much time is spent on Situation
Actions are the heart of the answer – use most of the wordcount here
Result – should be positive, can include learning points
(if time): Ask the subgroups to do STAR bullet points for one question – share in open group aftewards
This shouldn’t mean that they are looking for clones (can’t guarantee that some employers don’t recruit in their own image – even if unintentionally) – should mean that they are looking for your understanding of the organisation’s culture and ability to connect with colleagues and clients.
For once, you get to set your own agenda – but it is based on the same background reading and matching process we looked at before.
Concise but thorough – especially if there is no wordcount limit
Each of these shows us something worth remembering
Don’t put things in negative terms – if lowly placed, say that you passed successfully (for example)
Use appropriate tone of language
Don’t overstate things
Call in or phone 01273 678429
Successful Application Forms
Careers & Employability Centre
Successful Application Forms
Why do employers use them?
• Set their own priorities
• Level playing field
• To put you off applying?
Why you should welcome them
• Level playing field
• Shows you their priorities
• Gives you the chance to shine
Before you start writing
• The role
• The employer
• The requirements
• Identify your:
Find your strengths for the job
• Pick a job:
• BT Business Management graduate scheme
• Tate Britain Audio Visual Administrator
• ConSol Trainee Recruiter
• Hertfordshire Learning and Organisational Development Officer
• Identify the requirements from the advert
• Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Types of question
Life & Educational Information
• Name, contact details
• Education & Qualifications
• Work Experience
My hobbies include
stamp collecting and
walking my 2
• The ‘why?’ questions
• Why do you want to work for us?
• What sets us apart from our competitors?
• Why did you choose this stream/role over others?
• What makes you suitable for this type of business?
• What do you expect to be doing in your first year/as a trainee?
• Tell us about a time when…
• You overcame a difficult problem (outside your studies)
• You persuaded someone to take a different course of action
• What has been the biggest challenge in your life? [disguised]
• Not just narrative
• Use the STAR approach
Organisational fit questions
• Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party?
• What do you like to do to relax?
• How would a friend describe you?
• How do we compare to our competitors?
• Looking for insights into your personality
The big white space
• Popular with public sector recruiters
• You set the agenda – research and analysis
A few to learn from
Socially as well
Hi, I want
2 get a
job with U
I am a
eighth in my
class of ten
Further support and resources
Booklets and information at sussex.ac.uk/careers
Careers advice 1:1