Application forms

Organisations may receive hundreds of applications, so your application form must be tailored and engaging. Completing application forms can be time-consuming, but having an up-to-date CV to select information from will save you time.

When completing an application form you must show that you:

  • Understand the job and have the knowledge, skills and experience listed in the job description
  • Are genuinely interested in the role and employer
  • Would be a good fit for the organisation’s culture and values

How to complete an application form

Personal details

Double check that basic information such as name and contact details are correct before submitting.


Include the qualifications you have and where and when you achieved them.

Some forms require a grade for your degree. If you are still studying and do not have this yet, ask your Personal Development Tutor what your predicted grade will be and state this.

Employment history

Include all work experiences, considering how each experience meets the criteria required to do the job. How far back you go with your employment history will depend on your situation, but generally within the last five years is advised.

Gaps in employment are not considered gaps if you were in education during that period. If you have genuine gaps and concerns about how to explain these, you can book an appointment with a Career Development Consultant.

Application forms often include a 'reason for leaving' space. Make this short, for example going into full-time education, relocating or a new opportunity arose.

Avoid copying information directly from your CV, because an application form must be tailored to the specific requirements for the job.

Supporting statements

In an application form, a supporting statement may be required in a variety of formats such as structured questions or an open text box. This is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet the criteria for the job including what you have done during your degree, work experience or extracurricular activities.

Read more about structuring covering letters on our CVs and cover letters page.


Consider your references carefully. Most application forms require two people to act as referees who will usually be contacted when you are offered the job. Always ask permission and ensure their contact details are correct. To give them context, send them information about the job you are applying to.

Equality and diversity disclosure

Equality and diversity disclosure is included in most application forms but often it is not visible to the hiring manager when they are shortlisting candidates. Equality and diversity information is not used to make recruitment decisions and is usually an optional section.

Sharing information about a disability

Sharing information about a disability is a personal choice and it is up to you if, when and how you do this. Visit the Career support for disabled students page for more information.


Top tips for completing an application form

Check spelling and grammar

Employers often reject applications that have spelling or grammar errors. Use proofreading software such as Grammarly and ask someone you trust to proofread your application for spelling and grammar errors.

Be accurate

Ensure accuracy when listing important details such as contact details and dates.

Tailor your application

Tailor the information in your application form to the specific job by using the job description and person specification.