Application forms

More and more employers use application forms rather than requesting applicants to send CVs with covering letters.

Application forms

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 they ask for. 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 qualification, employment and work experience history and referees’ contact details. Keep an old application on your computer and you can copy and paste at will.

The Physicist’s Guide to Application Forms (member sign in required) features in-depth advice on application forms, including tips on common mistakes and ways to make a good impression. To request a hard copy or large print version of this booklet, email

last edited: October 01, 2012

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