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Tips for applicants

Application form

Before completing an application form for one of our vacancies, you should ensure that, as far as is reasonably possible, you have understood the role in which you are interested. You may find it useful to get in touch with the 'contact for candidate enquiry' listed in the advert. As a minimum, you should carefully consider the Job Description and Person Specification for the role. These documents are not only tools which enable us to objectively evaluate candidates in the selection process - they will also help you to decide if you are suitable for the role.

The Person Specification is of particular importance - this details the essential and desirable criteria (in terms of things like qualifications, skills, experience and personal attributes) required of a person working in this role.

Bear in mind that you will need to meet all of the essential criteria in order to be considered for the role, therefore, your application form must evidence that you meet all of these requirements (if you meet the desirable criteria, you should evidence these also).

The evidencing of some items is self-explanatory - e.g. if a particular qualification is required for the role and you possess the qualification, you should list it in the qualifications section of your form. In other areas, you will need to give examples which show how you meet a criterion. These examples can be anecdotal, and you can draw them from experiences at work, in extracurricular activities or from any other area of life.

Do not shy from going into detail - while you know your own knowledge, experience and disposition, remember that the person reading your application does not, and any difficulty they have in drawing inferences from your application could lead to them discounting it.

In evidencing how you meet the criteria, you will demonstrate to the recruiting panel that you have an understanding of the role. You can also strengthen your application by providing some comments around the rationale for your application - have you explained your reasons for wanting the job? It always helps to set your supporting information in this kind of context.

While the process for completing an application form can be time-pressured, it is worth taking some time to prepare your supporting information by looking through the Person Specification and noting down examples that you can use on your application.

When providing details of referees, always consider who is best-placed to make a comment on your professional abilities. At least one of your referees should be your line manager or tutor from your most recent place of employment or study. Remember that as an organisation, we will not accept personal references (e.g. from friends or family members) and so these should not be included. Be sure that you notify your referees before applying so that they can be alert to a possible approach for a reference. If you do not have the detail, ask them for their email address so that a reference request can be transmitted to them electronically to save time.

Before you hit submit, remember that an application can benefit from a second pair of eyes, and so it is always worth having someone else look over your application (as a sense check) before you send it.

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