Writing a winning application form

Written by David Roe, Partnership & Delivery Manager 

I’ve been a manager with CSW Group since 2014 and have been involved in a number of recruitment drives over the years.

During this time, I’ve read a lot of application forms and wanted to give some advice on how to complete them so that you are more likely to get invited for an interview.

The most important thing when completing a job application is to look at the essential criteria. In the application form you will need to think about how you can show that you meet these criteria.

A good way to structure this is to use the criteria as your heading, I like to put this in bold. Then you write how you have met this below. It is useful to use the STAR model when structuring your response so that you can clearly demonstrate that you have the competency the job requires.

The STAR model stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result:

  • Situation: An event, project, or challenge faced
  • Task: Your responsibilities and assignments for the situation
  • Action: Steps or procedure taken to relieve or rectify situation
  • Result: Results of actions taken.

You can also use this model to help you structure your answers in an interview.

I think it’s also worth showing how you have met the desirable criteria as well. The more criteria you can meet the more likely you are to get an interview.

It’s also worth noting that even if you only meet 80% of the essential criteria it’s worth putting in an application. The essential criteria is a company’s wish list of what they would like in their ideal candidate but will recognize that they are unlikely to get someone that ticks every box.

The last tip I would give is to always save your applications. If you are going for similar jobs they are going to ask similar questions so if you can use previous applications then this will save you time. It can be quite time consuming completing applications so this is well worth doing.

Good luck!