Completing the job application form

Completing the job application form

Welcome to our guide to completing a job application form.

You will find the guidance to be both highly informative and an invaluable tool in your journey to a successful application.

If you have any questions regarding your own application form, please feel free to contact us.

Some roles can be applied for by sending in a CV and cover letter instead of an application form - this will be shown on the job advert.

The purpose of an application form

Before we begin to explain the most effective way to complete your job application form, it is best that to explain the purpose of them. If you have an understanding why they are used, then your chances of success will no doubt increase.

The vast majority of application forms that we receive don’t provide enough detail to assist us in our decision making. Too many applicants spend too little time on their application form or simply rush them. We will now provide some of the main reasons applicants fail to pass the application form stage.


Main reasons applicants fail to pass the application form stage

Not following instructions

On the first page of the application form there are some notes about completing the form. These will provide clear instructions on how you should complete the form. We see a lot of application forms where people either are not aware of their existence, or they think it is unnecessary to read them. If you are unable to follow instructions on an application form, this shows a manager that you can't follow instructions in the job you are applying for.

Grammar and spelling

You must ensure you thoroughly proofread your application form in regard to grammar and spelling errors as well as getting a third party to read through your application form as a precaution and a final proof check. An application form that is riddled with errors will most likely be rejected or scored lower unless a disability is disclosed such as dyslexia etc? 

Failure to meet the essential criteria

Within the person specification for the role you are applying for, there will be a section on ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria. Please ensure you describe how you match the essential criteria and also try to demonstrate how you meet as many desirable criteria as possible, this will increase your chances of being shortlisted, as shortlisting takes place against this criteria. In addition, refer to the competency requirements of the role and give examples of how your experience matches them. 

Not enough suitable evidence provided

The application form will encourage you to provide ‘evidence’ of where you meet the requirements of the job you are applying for at every opportunity.

For example, a job you are applying for is asking that one of the skills required to carry out the job is ‘customer service’.

If this is the case it is essential that you provide some form of previous experience in this area.

This will demonstrate to the assessor that you already have some essential skills to carry out the job role competently.

You may also have a qualification to support your skills and experience.

You can use your current job or past job, or even any volunteer work you do, as examples and evidence, please take your time when providing evidence on the form and ensure it is applicable by checking with the job description, person specification and competency requirements.

The purpose of an application form is to initially assess whether or not you have the relevant skills, qualities and attributes to perform the role.

If you do, and you have evidenced this correctly then you will then be invited to interview.

The application form will be ‘scored’ against a number of set skills, qualities and attributes and you will find these in the person specification for the job you are applying for, please read them and refer to them when completing your application.


Competency requirements

The job description also outlines the competency requirements for the role.

The competencies are behaviours which set out how we want people in the council to work. It puts the council values of customer focus, can do, one council one team and honesty and respect at the heart of everything we do.

For each competency there is a description of what it means in practice and some examples of effective behaviours at all levels which you can use in your application form.



Hopefully this information will have made you more aware on understanding how important the job description is when completing your application form.


Further tips for completing an application form:

  • always have the job description with you when completing your application form
  • highlight the important areas that you need to match when responding to the questions on the form and tick each essential requirement on the person specification once you have evidenced it
  • use examples to demonstrate your behaviours and how it relates to the post
  • if qualification are essential requirements for the job, please ensure you mention these in the correct section as failure do so will mean you will not get shortlisted
  • please ensure you provide a full work history and explain any gaps in employment with accurate information and accurate dates when possible
  • if you are filling the application form by hand, please ensure your handwriting is neat and legible; it is our policy that we only accept electronic application forms but when this is not possible, we will accept hard copies in exceptional circumstances only

By following this guide you will be ensuring that you complete the form accurately and in line with any instructions and your chances of being shortlisted will be more successful.

Job application form

If our documents are not accessible to you, you can request a different format here.
Chesterfield Borough Council Job Application Form Word (Word 100 KB)


Last updated on 19/03/2024