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What makes a good application form? (from an applicants POV)

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by goodform, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. I'm a regular poster but just wanted to test the water (without annoying potential employers!)
    If you could answer the following questions it would be really helpful.
    What do you dislike about application forms? (that could be changed!)
    Are the following factors important...
    • Ease to fill in?
    • Order in which sections appear?
    • Clearly defined sections/Ease of navigating to sections needed ?
    • Font style/size?
    • Employer information?
    If there is anything else you can think of that may be useful to know please let me know. Not trying to sell anything to anyone just hoping to make our lives a bit easier!
    Thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    One which I can copy and paste into.

    Sensible sections that don't repeat themselves.

    Only asks for important information...do they really need to know the dates I was in secondary schools and my GCSE grades?
     
  3. I hate application forms that are done as Macros with a passion! The inane clicking of each box, filling it in and OKing it does my head in, especially when there are 100s of the blinking things on the form.
    However, that is not my biggest bugbear. My biggest bugbear in terms of the form is the tables. Yes I like them, they organise information really easily BUT please put rows in them, this makes it so much easier to keep everything level. I hate having to fill in each column, then sit for hours counting the number of times I have to press Enter so that the jobs line up to the places of work to the dates etc etc.
    Salaries - OK scale points for teaching positions is relevant but do you need to know how much I earned as a checkout girl?
    Monitoring Forms - These feel increasingly invasive, and I wouldn't be surprised to find one asking for my vital statistics one day, but having seen some very simple disabled yes/no, religious status, marital status, ethnicity ones, through to ones that have far more complex questions I do have to question, who if anyone is crunching those numbers and if every question on the form is necessary. I also dislike how LEAs put on the form that it has to be completed in order for your application to be considered, why is it relevant to my ability to do the job?
    Ooops! Sorry this turned into a bit of a rant! I do see why application forms are important, and really don't mind filling them in, but it does get a bit much when I'm slaving over each one for hours when I know a CV and covering letter would actually do.
    Also, if the Executive Summary is going to become the norm, is there going to be a section on the Application Form for it, and/or will the ES remove the need for a covering letter? OR will we be encouraging candidates to write an ES and a 1 sided A4 LOA covering anything not in the ES?
    Thanks if you managed to get this far.
     
  4. Try to make the relevant sections expandable and other sections big enough. I filled in an application form today that didn't leave me enough room for my surname. I kid you not. I completely agree with previous posts too :)
     
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    How about: every single County and Local Authority all having the same standard form?
    So that once an applicant has filled in one, and saved to their own computer, they can just change the name of the school and send it off? For every single job.
    [​IMG]
    _____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    New <u>Job Seminars</u> on Sunday 26 June.
    www.tesweekendworkshop29.eventbrite.com
    Probably more in the early autumn ready for the next lot of job ads to come out. Keep an eye out for the dates!

    A new <u>Moving into Headship and SLT</u> seminar is on 18 June.
    www.tesweekendworkshop29.eventbrite.com
    See the full programme www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars


    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for how to book a meeting with me personally.Look forward to seeing you!
     
  6. Thats the plan Theo [​IMG]
    I'm not sure how receptive schoools/councils will be to it but I've got the time on my hands and the ability so will see where I can go with it.
    Thanks for all the input. I'll be taking your thoughts on board (please keep adding them!) If any of you would like to test/give feedback on the form when its nearing completion then that would be great.
     
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Great, GoodForm!
    that's an excellent plan, and I support it wholeheartedly.
    There are some - loads - of councils who already have their own form. Might it be a good idea for you to start a thread asking people to send to your very own GoodForm e-mail address some examples of good ones?
    Best wishes
    _____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    New <u>Job Seminars</u> on Sunday 26 June.
    www.tesweekendworkshop29.eventbrite.com
    Probably more in the early autumn ready for the next lot of job ads to come out. Keep an eye out for the dates!

    A new <u>Moving into Headship and SLT</u> seminar is on 18 June.
    www.tesweekendworkshop29.eventbrite.com
    See the full programme www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars

    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for how to book a meeting with me personally. Look forward to seeing you!
     
  8. wow - that would be brilliant, only one form wherever I apply (where I live I'm applying to schools in 5 different counties).
    I agree with everything Clarys has pointed out. I've never understood why anybody would or should be interested what I earned in a completely unrelated job many years ago. To be honest, I can't even remember it exactly! Most of all though it's ease of filling them in that matters, so it needs to be formatted in a way that makes lining up things in tables really easy, and also there needs to be enough space for things!
     
  9. Lots of familiar bugbears here! I'm applying to five LAs and they
    have completely different forms. One of them in particular is a really
    long form but within individual sections, such as previous teaching
    experience, there is nowhere near enough space for an experienced
    teacher to write and I'm forced to use continuation sheets. There are
    sometimes also issues with the formatting of the forms: sometimes
    headings seem to be on a different page from their related section, and I
    don't like to fiddle too much with it - and in some forms you can't get
    it how you'd want it anyway - because I know one of the purposes of
    application forms is so they can easily compare candidates, page to
    page.It also bugs me how different LA forms have different
    "rules" and expectations. For example, Theo always tells us here to put
    your name on every page of your application. One of my LAs has in the
    small print guidelines an instruction specifically NOT to put your name
    or address on anything apart from cover letters and the one page of the
    application that asks for it, and to put the job reference number in the
    page header instead. Finally, another annoyance is when the information
    all seems to conflict...For example, I've seen jobs where the advert
    says a letter of application is required, but then the form has a space
    for a supporting statement. That could be really confusing. Because I
    come here I do what Theo says and put the ES in the space on the form
    then write a separate LoA in that situation, but not everybody might
    realise that's the best way to handle it. I've also seen one with a
    person spec that was quite detailed with lots of points to cover but
    then in the head's letter that they sent out to applicants he'd written a
    bunch of personal qualities they were looking for that weren't even on
    the person spec. Annoying!
    I agree with Theo, a standard form is needed, and I agree with all the points Clarys made as well.
     
  10. Okay working on a few of these points...
    What is adequate space (rows) for Career History? What are the average number of posts people tend to have?
    I'm looking at software that will enable rows to be expadable as PDF's but until then...
    So far I'm formatted education as 2 lines for postgrad, 2 lines for undergrad, 6 for college, 10 for GCSE and a row left for other qualifications (4 lines)
     
  11. Well I have 3 previous posts to write about, and there's really only space for two by the time I've provided name of school and LA, and "brief details" of my responsibilities/job title, on the form I was speaking about.
    Space for education history sounds about right.
     
  12. I think applicants' educational and professional history can vary so much these days (speaking as a more 'mature' applicant), the most sensible option would be to have an expandable box which will expand until you have everything in there! After all, they do want a full employment history, for instance, and all the subjects and details from qualifications. It needs to be as flexible as possible, certainly for us older applicants.
     
  13. I totally agree Gila but at present the only way to do this in a PDF is to buy the latest Adobe X Pro (which is &pound;113 for teachers, and &pound;532 for everyone else) as I'm currently unemployed its not something I can stretch to.
    When the form is nearly finalised I'll download a trial and hope I can get it done within that period. [​IMG]
     
  14. lighthouse_keeper

    lighthouse_keeper New commenter

    I could not agree with Theo more - I cannot understand why each form needs to be different! When I was applying for a job in one particular LEA they did have a standard form and it made life so much easier - just changed school name and reference number. There is no need to make each form different as surely the information they want is the same each time. Also, candidates can concentrate on making their Executive Summary and Statement of Application as fantastic as possible, without having to negotiate different forms each time they apply- and when you are doing 30+ applications as some are, this will make all the difference! And the form should be editable and never, ever a PDF so you have to handwrite - this is so frustrating!
    It would be such a good idea to make the form standard - I hope it happens!
     
  15. <font size="4">Okay, it's only in its infancy so far but feedback would be appreciated. As mentioned this is done in word so far for generic feedback but will be later created as a pdf which will make it easier to fill in whilst keeping formatting etc.</font>
    GOODFORM V1
     
  16. hi, I just had a very quick look at the form and generally like its layout etc, and particularly the expandable boxes.
    A few comments: In the education section I feel you're limiting things for applicants unnecessarily. Why do you have to put in 'uni' and 'college', can't you just leave it blank? And if someone has a PGCE and a MA, they would need two boxes for postgraduate... I also feel the Career to date section might not be long enough for all applicants, especially in these times of short term contracts. Also, I thought the DFES and the GTC numbers are the same? I think they should go under the personal details section, not with the recent employer. The same for the date for qualification - and what do you mean by that, when you first got QTS or when you've finished induction? Could you add a box to say how much of the induction year has been completed? Just my comments, hope they help, but I think it's a brilliant idea altogether!
     
  17. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    Some good points Gila [​IMG]
     
  18. That great Gila, thank you! I've laid most out from looking at a selection of current application forms so there will certainly be things that need to change. I'll get the DFES/GTC moved. Would it be better if this was named the 'teacher reference number' do you think?
    Also a good point about induction terms, I'll add that in.
    You should be able to fit both postgraduate in the same box but I understand what you mean about education, I added the field guides/name so people understood why one box was substantially bigger (to fit in all the GCSE's)
    Should we take the Career to Date to 2 pages? What's the general thought on this?
    Thanks for taking the time to look, be so lovely if this could eventually make our life's a bit easier! x
     

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