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historyenne
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« on: February 27, 2009, 11:56:51 AM »

Is there a preferred format for the Additional Information section of a job application?  I am completing one for an employer that doesn't ask for cover letters or CVs, so the application form is all they'll see of me.  The Additional Information section asks :

Please detail below (continuing on additional sheets if necessary) how your qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience match the University’s requirements for this appointment

So my question is, how do I approach this section?  Do I use an essay or letter format, or do I just list the items in the person specification and then describe how I meet them?  Is there any one approach that is considerably better than the others? 

Thanks for your help  Grin
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2009, 12:07:34 PM »

I hate having to fill out those sections on application forms  Sad!

Are there any guidance notes given with the form? If so, it might give some hints on them as to what they are expecting from you.

I would say to approach it like an essay, maybe write one paragraph covering each of the topics mentioned (qualifications, skills, etc.) and then finish with a concluding paragraph. They've already told you what they want you to write about, so you can use this to structure your answer.

To be honest, as long as you write a good response for each of them, I don't think it will matter too much whether you write it in essay format or by listing the points (I just filled out a job application which had a section called 'Suitability for the Post', but their guidance notes said to look at the job specifications and then address each of these in turn, under a separate heading for each one).
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2009, 12:09:23 PM »

Ah, I've filled out a lot of these.  I've actually used both methods you describe- essay/letter type and bullet points (and gotten interviews using both styles.)  I tend to favour the essay type, though (usually ends up being about 5 paragraphs or so, 600-800 words.) 

The most important thing is that you address everything marked essential in the person specification and provide really specific examples from previous experience demonstrating how you meet those criteria (and if you meet any of the desirable criteria, provide examples for those points as well.) For me, it felt more natural to do that in a narrative, essay type style, but if you're not a natural writer I think bullet points can work too- as long as you have those specific examples.

edit: also, when I do my job application "essays" I'll usually break the paragraphs up with subheadings ("Personal Attributes", "Previous Experience", etc) so that it's easier to read and/or skim if needed.

edit2: regardless of which style I use though, I always have an introductory paragraph summarising what I can bring to the organisation and why I am interested in the job, as I would put in any cover letter.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 12:20:15 PM by springhaze » Logged

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historyenne
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2009, 12:14:40 PM »

I have a list of essential and desirable person specs, my inclination is to list each one and then write a paragraph about how I meet the qualification, with examples.  But I was worried that that would be considered too informal. 

To be honest, as long as you write a good response for each of them, I don't think it will matter too much whether you write it in essay format or by listing the points

Ah, I hope you're right, but I'm really paranoid  . . .
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2009, 02:48:36 AM »

I have a list of essential and desirable person specs, my inclination is to list each one and then write a paragraph about how I meet the qualification, with examples.  But I was worried that that would be considered too informal. 

That sounds perfectly acceptable to me.
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2009, 02:01:13 PM »

I have a list of essential and desirable person specs, my inclination is to list each one and then write a paragraph about how I meet the qualification, with examples.  But I was worried that that would be considered too informal. 

Every application I filled out, I did this way.  IMO, it's clear, concise, and does exactly what the application asks for.  Out of 21 applications, I landed 19 interviews. Smiley  (I didn't actually ATTEND 19 interviews, or else my head would have exploded!  But that was MY choice. Grin
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historyenne
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2009, 04:48:13 PM »

Thanks Meg and Ducky Fuzz!  That's good to hear because I decided not to try to write an essay, it didn't feel natural. 
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--Francis Cabrel
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