This is the start of the process. A comprehensive questionnaire that records your entire history and requires one to two hours on average to complete it. It is split up into distinct sections:-
- Profile information
- Timeline of Scholarship
- Account of Work Experiences
- List of aptitudes and questions relating to your skills.
- What draws you to the job
- Hobbies and other aspects of your life
Most employers let you save the form and come back to it later. You may wish to print off the form so that you can look at it without feeling any pressure. You can then make some notes, and start drafting responses to the questions that may require longer answers. Or, save all the items on your word processor as a document and answer them there – initially as points, and then elaborating and editing until your final sample. Afterwards, you can paste all your answers onto the online form. Don’t rush. Think formal and professional.
Sections of the Application:
- Personal Details: Vital biodata on applicants: name, age, gender, etc.
- Education Details: Your academic records and timeline – including grades, courses that were taken, etc. Often, you are provided with a section to explain any mitigating circumstances or deviations from the norm in your education history. You can always clarify details of your application in an email if the above option is absent.
- Work Experience: List all paid and unpaid jobs, as well as volunteering positions, leadership roles, apprenticeships, internships, placements, insight experiences, vocational training, etc. Provide a description of the role, tasks performed, skills learnt.
- Aptitude Survey- A vital part of any job application is suiting the position you’ve applied for, having the necessary competencies to succeed. In detail, you will be expected to provide an honest, unadulterated perspective of past experiences that have prepared you for this post. This personal statement is used to filter the pool. Employers can learn a lot about your from your writing capabilities and style. You will be expected to make a concise statement as recruiters have pools of applicants to sift through – generally two hundred to three hundred words. Thus, to make a compelling essay, first, read the question and jot down the gist of it. What specifically do you need to write about? Then, draw a mindmap of key points to mention. Choose relevant examples that will validate the skill or competence the employer is seeking – you need evidence and not just adjectives. Example questions:
– Give us an example of how you have managed a team? What was the result?
– Write about and experience in a leadership role, mentioning three challenges you encountered, and explain how you dealt with these hurdles.
– Tell us about a mistake you made in a work environment and what you did to fix it.
With these sample questions, take out a piece of paper and plan each of your answers with a mindmap, addressing the following points.
- Scenario: Outline the situation
- Function: What responsibilities did you take on?
- Plan: How did you organise your duties?
- Outcome: How did you affect the position you took on – both positively and negatively – and what did you gain from it.
- Commercial Awareness Questions- You will need to show a basic commercial understanding to respond to these inquiries, such as being able to describe fundamental trends in the industry you are applying for. Show some awareness about any current major global economic issues, and their impact/potential impact, on your employer’s business sector. Being well-read is a huge factor in career success as, without global awareness, you will not be able to work in situations that affect day to day life. Employers are looking for you to demonstrate your knowledge of their company, their marketplace/competitors, and an understanding of trends in their industry.
Typical commercial awareness questions include:
- Tell us about a firm you perceive as flourishing/unprosperous and explain your reasoning.
- What are the most crucial global issues affecting our industry’s success in recent times?
- Why are you intrigued by our firm and what makes you think you are the best fit for us?
- What is your definition of success in a corporation?
- What does this company do that is unique in the market and what position has it taken?
- Your motivation for applying – This section is like a short cover letter. State the reasons why you are interested in the job, or a particular graduate scheme. This section usually has a word limit; hence you need to choose your words carefully. Research the employers’ website and use online forums to search for past interview experiences by students who applied to the same organisation. Rate My Placement, The Student Room, Wiki Job, etc. are all excellent resources to get insight.
- Motivations-What are your interests and extracurricular activities? Give details about any voluntary work or positions of responsibility especially if you have been elected to a role. Again, if there are too many activities, list the most relevant ones for the job. Executives would like to see how you can transfer your skills and if you are focused (versus scattered and directionless).
Review your form after completion- Read and review your form and once complete, use a spell checker a few times to ensure that there are no grammatical errors. In addition, have a friend/mentor proofread your statement.
Don’t make silly mistakes: “their” and “there” or “your” and “you’re”, etc. Remember, plenty of companies have a rule about spelling errors, and if there are too many, they will not even proceed to your credentials. Faulty grammar and spelling mistakes will hinder your chances of making a good impression.
Check and double check your application carefully to ensure this. It’s easy for the correctly spelt, wrong word to slip in. Always write your long answers on a separate document on your word processor and transfer them once finished to the online application. Continuously save your entries to prevent the loss of data and space out your work, taking breaks to ensure a better output. In this manner, you can reduce the likelihood of errors with a spell checking function. Keep a hard copy of your draft application saved for your reference, as well as a soft copy on your computer.