The dreaded blank page on the application form, just how do you use it to best advantage?
There’s nothing like a blank sheet of paper to bring fear into the heart of the JobSeeker. It causes either of two natural reactions:-
1 “It’s just too hard to fill the sheet, I may as well give up now.”
2 “Let me write down everything I know”, in no particular order, filling the page and spilling over onto continuation sheets.
Think about the effect this has upon the reader.
No one wants to read sheets and sheets of “information” and pull from them the relevant bits.
One, they don’t have time and, two, if the applicant can’t be bothered to to set out their thoughts in a logical format, why should they, the reader, be bothered to extract the salient points?
How can we use this sheet to gain the necessary brownie points? We need to and we can.
Most application forms are very restrictive in what they ask for. Many of them have been designed, if that is the word, over the years to be a “catch all” and tend not to allow us to express what we have to and want to say.
Remember, they want to know what we have done, we want to tell them what we can do. There’s a lot of difference between the two!
Look carefully at the job advert and any additional information supplied, perhaps a job description, person description, list of required competencies, or even, what we’ve found out on our network about problems, or issues, the organisation is facing.
Extract between three and six of these, write them on a piece of paper and, against them, write down the best possible story you can tell to show that you have met these problems in the past with the key point of how you overcame them.
The next job is to transfer these onto the application form in an eye-catching, easy to read style. You’ve done this before, in your CV preparation. Use bullet points, followed by a two line statement starting with good strong action verbs.
If you have quantified achievements which relate to the new post, use them as well.
Finally, if this exercise has produced new information which is not on your CV and you consider it to be key, then change the CV to include these new thoughts, being careful to stay within the layout guidelines previously discussed.
Oh, and if the application form doesn’t have a blank page? Use a covering letter to sell the achievements and skills you know they need!