Getting The Knack of Online Application Forms

online application forms

In the run up to the Lloyds Graduate Leadership Programme, which will be open for applications via Intern Avenue very soon, we’re providing you with top advice on how to get through the recruitment process. Online Application forms are increasing in popularity, particularly for big companies and long-term intern or graduate opportunities. No paperwork, nothing getting lost in the post, no ‘black ink only’ or ‘capital letters’ requirements and no scribbling signatures. Completing these forms can be nerve wracking, however, and it might be tricky to navigate yourself around the questions. How can you present yourself in the best way possible in an online application form? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Application forms often stand separately to a CV and Cover Letter, so you need to make sure you aren’t repeating yourself in any documents if you have to send all of them over.
  • Check, double-check and triple check your work, and get somebody else to check it for you. Have you put each answer in the right box? Have you answered all the applicable questions?
  • It is not a great idea to try and complete these forms in one day – often you need to sleep and come back to a form with a fresh perspective. A break away can also stir up better ideas, so don’t push yourself to finish any thing in a rush…
  • …The best way to avoid being in a rush is to complete and submit your application well ahead of time. Yes, you already know this, but it cannot be stressed enough just how important this is. You never know what might happen so be your own safety net and give yourself ample time to finish it in advance. It will also be a load off of your mind, as well, which is essential during a stressful application-period.
  • Read through all of the material provided to you by the company – pinpoint the person requirements they highlight and study the job description for the position you are applying for religiously.
  • Have your qualifications, personal details and CV to hand for reference – you don’t want to input any incorrect or ‘vague’ information as it could appear lazy or cause distrust.
  • Draft your writing in a separate document to search for errors and have a backup copy of your work incase anything should happen to your progress on the online application form. Thankfully, the majority of online forms nowadays feature the ‘save and finish later’ option.
  • Keep calm – your judgement can be clouded when you start to panic, and although a little pressure can get you to produce better work, too much pressure means you might even be too worried to start writing. Dive straight in there, remember to take frequent breathers and tea breaks.
  • Put yourself in a room alone, away from family members or housemates who feel the need to continuously ask you ‘have you finished yet’. Breathe, don’t explode, they’re just keeping up to date with you! For a change of scenery, why not take your work outside? You would be surprised what visiting a library or coffee shop with your laptop can do to your stress levels. Get a Cappuccino and a cookie, take your time.
  • What to do about the ‘odd questions’? Being asked, “If you could only use one gadget for the rest of your life what would it be?”, or, “What would be the main achievement of your character in a film about your life?” can leave you stumped. Remember to be yourself; trying too hard to stand out can be a disadvantage to you, so don’t over-think it. Some questions are designed to be strange so companies can see how well you respond to things you weren’t expecting.
  • If you are copy+pasting any writing from previous applications, make sure another company’s name or job title is not in there accidentally – that would very swiftly put you out of the running for the position you are applying for.
  • To get the upper hand, research the company thoroughly. Go through their past work, achievements, and notable moments. If you can incorporate any of this into your application you will be giving yourself a leg up.
  • When giving examples of previous things you have done, don’t worry if you feel as though you ‘haven’t got anything amazing to talk about’ – it doesn’t matter. What does matter is your perspective of a previous situation you were in, the role you took, how well you performed and what you learnt from the experience.
  • The dreaded ‘strengths and weaknesses’ – don’t be afraid to both toot your own horn and expose your errors – again, it’s about showing what you learnt and what you recognise about yourself (Don’t share too many flaws, though. A ‘fiery temper and short fuse’ is something best left for the anger management sessions)
  • References – choose referees from recent employment in a field relevant to the one you are applying to, if possible. In any case, choose the ones you believe would say the best things about you.
  • “Do you have any other information you would like to add?” – Take the opportunity to provide any more details if you do have any, but if you have nothing to add, add nothing.
  • Absolutely under no circumstance should you lie on your application form. It will come back to you in either the near or distant future, and you don’t ever want to be in that humiliating and possibly career destroying situation.
  • It may feel like you’re required to fill in too much information that nobody is going to read, what with your CV and cover letter and personal statement and separate online application form – but this is a small price to pay for a big opportunity. There are more applicants than ever and hiring staff need as many filters as possible to get through to their initial shortlists.
  • Enjoy it! That may sound strange, but think about the fact that you are in a position in your life where you are qualified enough to apply for this excellent opportunity, and you have the chance to show a big company all of the things that make you great.

Follow the Lloyds page on Intern Avenue and keep up to date before the launch of their graduate scheme applications! Stay tuned for future blogposts that will guide you through the application process, such as verbal reasoning tests and phone interviews.

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