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Application Forms and CVs

How do you want people to apply for your vacancy?

So with your job description and person specification complete and your advert written in preparation for advertising, you now need to decide how you want people to apply.

The two standard ways for people to apply to vacancies are either via an application form or by sending you their CV.

What is an Application Form?

An application form is a document that you would normally send to the applicant to complete or provide to them via email or online download for them to complete electronically and return to you via email.

Application forms vary greatly from organisation to organisation and also depending on the vacancy or tasks. However, they all have a common theme and would cover the following areas:

Personal Details - a section for the applicant to complete their personal information including contact details, address, etc.

Employment History - A section where the applicant can write their current and previous employment, the dates they worked there and the tasks they did in the job.

Education and Training - A section about any qualifications or training that the applicant has undertaken often including school and college results

Supporting your Application - A section where the applicant can inform you how they meet the criteria you've set out in your person specification

Reasonable Adjustments - sometimes there is a section that allows the applicant to specify whether they would have any special requirements that would need to be considered if they were shortlisted for an interview.

References - a section where the applicant would provide the name and contact information for two references.

You can create your own application form to suit your vacancy but it should include the above sections as a minimum. We provide a few example application forms that you can download, modify and use - these are at the bottom of this page.

The advantage of using an application form is that you can tailor it to ask the questions that you would like the applicant to answer. This makes comparing the different application forms easier. The disadvantage is that you need to create the application form and either post or email it to interested applicants. It could slow down the application process and may lead to higher expenses from printing and postage costs.

What is a CV?

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a document produced by the applicant. The CV generally provides a person's contact details, a brief personal profile, key achievements, employment history and relevant education and training.

The advantages of using the CV method are that you don't have to create, print or send out application forms and therefore you don't have the extra time and costs of doing this. Requesting CVs can reduce the time between seeing your advert and applying for your vacancy. The disadvantages are that comparing the relevant information from CV's takes much longer and sometimes the information you're looking for isn't there so might have to be asked at interview.

Although you don't have to write a CV, we have provided an example for you to look at so that you can get an idea of what to expect if you choose the CV option - this is at the bottom of this page.

Covering Letters

Whichever option you decide to take, the applicant should provide a covering letter along with their application form or CV. The covering letter would normally include an introduction to the applicant, let you know where they saw the vacancy advertised and why they feel they are suited to the role. Remember to read these covering letters as sometimes they have additional information within them that isn't covered in their application form or CV.


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