Job Applications

How to complete job applications.

Applying for a job can either involve sending in your CV with a covering letter or completing specific application forms.

Application forms will ask you for a record of your personal and employment history and is signed by you. The employer will specify the method for applying for a job.

Applications are either completed online or by hand. Some ask for an accompanying personal statement. Some ask for a covering letter to accompany the application.

The first rule is to make sure that you understand the requirements for submitting an application and that you follow them very closely. There will usually be a contact name so if you are unsure of any of the instructions, or want some clarification about the role, get in touch.

Thank you for helping me to fill out the job application form and practice interview questions.
Female Routes participant

We suggest you start your preparation by reading the guidance to be found on the National Careers and TotalJobs websites.

Once you have completed one application it will get easier as you will have all your information to hand and increase your practice. As soon as you have finished one application, don’t simply wait to hear the outcome. Start your next application. On average you should plan to complete up to three applications a week to ensure that you increase your chances of securing a job.

To apply or not?

You may have to make some quick decisions about whether to apply for a job or not. Some strategies to use when considering if you will apply for a job are:

1. Be clear on what you want to do and to what extent the job meets your ambitions. If it offers, say up to 50% of your criteria, will you still apply?

2. Draw up a matrix of criteria that you will use to decide on whether to apply or not. Additional criteria you may consider using are:

  • The closing date
  • Where the job is
  • Your availability for the required hours
  • Your flexibility
  • The salary

3. Research the company. Learn about their values and work to ensure that there is a fit with your values. Show them in your application that you have done your research.

Personal statements

To help you stand out from the crowd, check out the Totaljobs website for example templates and when to use them.

Cover letters

First impressions count. Your cover letter is the first thing that employers will read so it’s important to get it right. Check out these useful templates.

I found Routes really helpful in showing me how to apply for jobs online as my IT skills are not of the younger generation and cannot thank them enough. Many, many thanks.

Our Advisers' Application Top Tips:

Aradhana says: Don’t forget those key words mentioned in the CV section. Have you included the key words mentioned in the Job Description?

Claire says: If you are not successful with an application, don’t be shy. Contact the organisation and ask them if they can give you some feedback about how you can improve your application or why your experience and skills didn’t match their requirements. They may have other opportunities coming up which they might let you know about.

Jayne says: Ask your Routes adviser to review your application and give you some feedback on the content. If you have a trusted friend who has recently applied for jobs, ask them if they would review your application or your personal statement and give you any constructive feedback.