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Completing Job Application Forms

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This page contains advice about what to write on your job application forms. Please note the CILL policy on proof-reading job application letters - we don't do it! What we do is help you to improve your English by going through your writing with you and showing you your common errors, and telling you what to study to correct them. We can also make general comments on your applications; e.g. on the organisation and content.

This means that you should not bring your application to us on the day you need to submit it! Come early.

Now scroll down to see example sections from job application forms, and our advice about what to write.

Example Sections

Please choose from:

Extra-curricular Activity Questions

  • Please give a brief summary of your current recreational and leisure activities, including sports and hobbies.
  • What clubs and societies are you a member of, and in what capacity?
  • To what community associations and social clubs do you belong?
  • What are your interests and pastimes? Please demonstrate your commitment to them and list your specific achievements.
  • Please state your position / responsibilities in your participation in extra-curricular activities, if any.
  • Major leisure and sporting activities including positions of responsibility.

    Try to demonstrate your ability to work in a team with these questions. Best of all show how you have successfully led teams.

    Notice the words 'brief summary' and 'current'.

    You could  emphasise an intellectual club or society to show your intellectual and analytical abilities.

    Notice that these questions are in the present tense and therefore are asking about clubs and societies that you are presently a member of.

    Grammar: Use present tenses; e.g. "I am vice-secretary of the chess club."   "I am a member of my department's student badminton team." You can also use the present perfect tense; e.g. "I've been playing badminton since I was in primary school."

Career Choice Questions

  • What factors have influenced your career choice?

    Here it's good to show your experience, and say how you enjoyed / got job fulfilment from your experience working in your field; e.g. in a summer job. If there is enough space you could give a very short example.

    You could also mention your interest (and good results) in some relevant subjects at school.  Mention some of the duties of the job and your interest in and suitability for them.

    Grammar: Use the present tense, especially the present perfect; e.g. "I have always been good at maths, especially maths with a practical application." You can also use the past tense to talk about your previous summer jobs; e.g. "Last summer I worked for ABC company."
  • Outline your career ambitions and objectives.
    Here you should balance ambition with realism to show your knowledge of careers in your field.
      
  • Please state your short and long-term career goals and how you are planning to obtain these goals.
  • What are your specific career goals after achieving your professional qualifications?

    For a short-term goal you could talk about further professional qualifications for example in accountancy or engineering.
    For a long-term goal you could talk about the type of job you are aiming for in the middle of your career, or perhaps later as head of a regional office. You need to have a detailed plan to show how you are going to get to this position.
      
  • Describe why you want to join (name of company) and the reasons why you believe you will be successful with the firm.
  • Please explain how your personal qualities, education, experience and skills have made you a suitable candidate for a career in professional (field).
  • Please describe briefly why you have chosen the position for which you are now applying and refer to any alternative careers you may have considered.
  • Please explain how you believe your personal qualities, experience, skills and education will help you to be successful in the position for which you are applying.

    Read the company's annual report and the annual reports of its competitors. Find out what makes the company different. Highlight this as one reason you want to join the company.

    Reasons you might be successful with a company may include:
       
    1. Communication skills; e.g. you are tri-lingual in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and bi-literate in English and Chinese.   
    2. Your social skills; e.g. in teamwork and leadership. You need to be able to give examples. 
    3. Your professional skills; e.g. your high grades on your course and your high-quality final year project.
    4. Your mental skills; e.g. your analytical ability. Have an example.   
    5. Your experience; e.g. your summer jobs and placements, in which you have been successful, which your referees will confirm.


    For alternative careers, you will look good if you are qualified to do another career, for example, accountancy students could also consider jobs in other parts of the finance sector. You should prepare reasons why you would prefer the job that you are applying for.

Other Questions

  • Describe your greatest success or a situation when you exceeded your own expectations.
  • Describe a specific achievement of which you are particularly proud, outside of school, university or college, and describe how this has contributed to your development as an individual.
  • Describe a recent experience working as part of a team. What did you learn about yourself?
    This should be something where you showed personal qualities that a professional in your field  needs.
      
  • What personal goals do you have of a non-career nature?
    Here you can show that you have a plan of action to reach the goal.
      
  • Have you ever undertaken any public speaking? If so what?
    It is good to be an experienced public speaker, as managers often have to speak in public and for presentations.

General Comments

  • Don't make it too long - the personnel department staff will have to read hundreds of job applications. They are looking for staff who can write concisely (efficiently).
  • Give supporting evidence of any claims to be hard-working etc.

Correction Code

This is the code we use to alert you to grammar problems in your writing. Getting the job you want may depend on the quality of your application letter, so it is important to get it checked.

A ~~~ G P Prep S Sp T (the) ^ WO WW

Symbol

Explanation

Examples

A

Article

A A

She had the glass of milk and the apple for lunch.

She had a glass of milk and an apple for lunch.

~~~~~

Expression Error

I am hard to find a job in Hong Kong.

It is difficult for me to find a job in Hong Kong.

G

Grammar - different parts of speech, subject/verb agreement, number, use of gerund and infinitive.

G

He want do good in the test.

He wants to do well in the test.

P

Punctuation/Capital Letters

P P

the weather girl smiled and said tomorrow will be a

P P

bright clear and sunny day.

The weather girl smiled and said, "tomorrow will be a bright, clear and sunny day".

Prep

Preposition

Prep

She got on a taxi and went to the airport.

She got in a taxi and went to the airport.

S

Sentence Construction - The sentence is too long or doesn’t contain a subject, verb or object.

S

Walking down the street singing a song.

She walked down the street singing a song.

Sp

Spelling

Sp

He asked for a bowl of soap.

He asked for a bowl of soup.

T

Verb Tense

T

Last Sunday they cycle from Shatin to Tai Po.

Last Sunday they cycled from Shatin to Tai Po.

( )
or
the

Word Not Needed

She works part-time at (the) Mac Donald’s.

She works part-time at Mac Donald’s.

^

Word Missing

He ran to office.

He ran to the office.

WO

Word Order

WO

They like tennis playing.

They like playing tennis.

WW

Wrong Word

WW

My father is a cooker.

My father is a cook.

 

Last updated on: Friday, March 23, 2012