Practice Points in Completing the Application Form

Our experience in recruitment over the past few years has helped us understand the common pitfalls of trainee applications with common errors frequently occurring that have disadvantaged the applicant. Underneath is some basic advice on avoiding any mishaps.

It is very important to answer precisely what the question is asking you for. A surprising number of candidates do not give the information requested and instead put down what they would apparently like to tell us. There are no marks if you don’t answer the question you are being asked! Make sure you read the instructions for each question very carefully.

We have been surprised how many applicants disadvantage themselves by lack of attention to good grammar, punctuation and clarity in their applications. Don’t rely solely on spell and grammar checkers. Only careful proof reading will fully exclude any errors. Think about the impression you are giving us! If you are not careful in avoiding mistakes in this important application, how careful are you at avoiding clerical errors?

You may well be able to answer some of the questions partly by cutting and pasting from your CV. However if you do this you must still read through carefully what your final answer says and check that all aspects of the question have been fully answered.

Make all your entries and particularly the personal statement flow well in an orderly fashion. Use normal prose, this is much easier to follow than talking like a telegram in an attempt to save space when there are word limits to questions. Use paragraphs or bullet points as these make your application easier to follow.

Do not use abbreviations - you may think everyone knows what they mean but they may not be familiar to the person assessing your application. Also, abbreviations can mean different things to different people e.g. “PND” can be interpreted as “paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea” or “post nasal drip”.

We strongly advise you to ask your Educational Supervisor or another Consultant to read through your application and suggest any improvements. Provided they do not actually write the application for you and that you are not making any dishonest claims this is quite legitimate and makes sure that you are showing us your achievements as clearly as you can. Failing this, even a non medical friend can at least help you check that your application form is legible and clear.

Remember Shortlisting panels have many applications to mark so be original, don’t waffle be succinct and get to the point.

For any enquiries relating to the recruitment please contact the Specialty Recruitment Manager Susan House.