Application forms

Increasing numbers of employers use application forms rather than requesting applicants to send CVs with covering letters.

This is not always good news for the job hunter, as application forms take longer to write and it’s harder to stand out with a form than with a well-crafted CV. But it is possible, and coming across well on an application form is a skill that’s likely to prove invaluable at some point in your career.

Here are a few tips.

Answer the questions
Take time to study the guidelines and make sure you cover the points that are asked. It can be easy to go off at a tangent and it will bring you no benefit at all, so be careful.

Shout a little louder
The anonymity of an application form means you need to do more to stand out. So highlight your achievements and qualities with a little more boldness than you would on a CV (but be careful to stick to the truth).

Keep a copy
Most application forms ask for the same basic information, such as academic qualifications, employment and work-experience history, plus referees' contact details. Keep an old application on your computer and you can copy and paste at will.

More information

Members of the Institute of Physics can access The Physicist’s Guide to Application Forms, which is packed with more useful advice and a sample CV. To request a hard copy or large-print version of this booklet, e-mail members.careers@iop.org.

This information was supplied by the Institute of Physics, which offers a range of careers advice and resources for people with a background in physics.