This weekend I'm going through a pile of ICT Technician application forms.
The quality of candidates varies wildly from career change with no training or experience, to 1st degree with 2 years, to 20+ years experience. Given the current job market I was expecting this even with the pay level we are offering.
Now being the crafty man I am, I only put a fixed pdf online for applicants. Most printed it and completed it - fair enough, others went through the LA site and got an electronic version - fine. Some found the LA standard electronic form elsewhere - bonus points. One applicant asked for an electronic version - good thinking batman, top of the class.
So some advice:
If there's a form to fill in, fill it in - all of it. I've got 16% of forms with information missing. The lack of attention to detail doesn't inspire confidence. In some cases its just a few boxes not ticked, others have several pages are missing. Check and check again you've ticked all the boxes needed and all sections are complete, then send them all.
If you want to add more on typed sheets then read the notes, is it allowed? Don't just fill in bits of the form saying see attached sheets and then attach sheets that don't contain the information requested - it makes it difficult to compare and you'll more than likely have your form discarded.
The "information to support your application" is vital. If you have to write it, why not type it first and check for typos if your spelling isn't that great. Put information that says how your experience and skills will help you in the role - read and keep checking against the job spec. Keep it relevant (OK the last paragraph can have some hobbies / outside interests). If you have just finished uni, give some detail on the course content and how it relates to the role.
Everyone has a PC and WiFi at home - sorry this is no longer enough to get you a job in IT.
If you have no relevant experience, did you try to get some? If so, write down what you've tried - a willingness to better yourself is a positive thing.
Previous employment - don't leave gaps without explaining them. There's no shame in being made redundant - it happens to the best of us. If you left uni and lived with off your partners income for a year while deciding your future say so. An unexplained gap says to me you couldn't be bothered - OK I can't be bothered to short list you.
For forms where you need to handwrite sections, why not draw lines on them in faint pencil or put a piece of lined paper underneath so you writing in straight neat lines? Or even glue on a printed out section. Presentation does count - if I'm umming and ahhing between 2 applicants then presentation might just tip the balance.
Don't smoke when writing an application form, it makes them stink!
Just as a bit of info for all - there are a lot of people out there with degrees now - 40% of applicants for this role. If you're thinking of doing a degree, try to find one with a year in industry.
BTW I'm short listing based on experience, relevant industry qualifications, other relevant qualifications (inc degrees), any other qualifications.
Some sound advice here... maybe this should be a sticky?
Additional "don't be creative" note is worth including.
*Remembers the CV that came in in a shoe with the message "if the shoe fits".* Yeah, we were doing IT for a creative firm in Soho, but you're applyling for a technical role not a PR bunny with a shoe allowance.
Could even return the form complete as a pdf . Thanks for the advise steve.
When I was applying for jobs, it was amazing how many firms and LEA's had put incomplete application forms online, or worse still, the link to download such was broken.
Whilst, most definitely, applicants should ensure they complete a form in full, it would be worth some employers checking that that which they are asking to be completed a) is complete itself, b) makes sense c) can easily be obtained d) ensure that any electronic submission actually works e) that staff who receive electronic applications know what to do with them.
In the case of the last two, I've had emails bounce back due to non-existent mailboxes and another where the submission was actually going to someone who was on long term sick leave with no-one checking her email!
But I agree, having gone through some application forms myself, some can be a little 'worrying'.
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