Learn how to complete effective application forms to attract prospective employers.

Support Services for Students at NCI

Most graduate recruiters use online application forms, with this in mind, it’s important to apply a qualitative approach where each application is tailored carefully towards a specific job. Avoid inputting general information in application forms as this will get noticed by employers.  

Tips and advice for application forms


Application forms usually entail the following sections:

  • Personal details: ensure your contact information is up to date, including your phone number and email 
  • Education: list your modules and grades, if asked, as well as your leaving cert results
  • Employment and experience: present your experience in a reserve chronological order with a list of achievements and responsibilities 
  • Questions to answer: you may want to use a Word document to copy questions and type your answers, as many online application forms timeout, meaning you can lose your typed answers. Research and tailor your answers according to the questions. Don’t rush with your answers – it is better to take some time and demonstrate how you match job requirements. 
  • Referees – usually 2 referees are required. One is likely to be your academic tutor; the other might be your manager from work

Types of Questions


These questions are based on your motivation and knowledge of the job. 

Typical questions in this category include:

  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • What skills and qualities do you think you can offer?
  • Why would you like to work in this company/industry?
  • What are your career ambitions? Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years’ time?

Competency-based questions 

Employers use competency-based questions to assess your behaviour and use of skills in different situations related to their industry and role. These questions are usually based on job requirements, therefore, ensure that you familiarise yourself with required behaviours and skills beforehand and prepare practical examples. 

Typical questions in this category include:

  • Give an example when you had to use effective communication skills?
  • Give an example when you had to learn new skill or IT system within a short period of time?

Answering competency-based questions. 

When faced with competency-based questions in an application form, we recommend using the CAR approach: 

Context – introduce employers to the scenario you would like to talk about 

Action – what were you required to do or what challenges did you face?  How did you address it? What skills did you use? In this step, it is important you use behaviours and skills you were asked about.

Result – what was the outcome of this activity? What did you learn? What would you do differently next time? 

Application forms video

Completing Graduate Application Forms : Advice from KPMG, IBEC Global Graduates, Glanbia, Aryzta, Accenture - 2.03 minutes