Guidance notes for job applicants

Last updated: 20/07/2023

Your application form plays an important part in our selection process. It decides whether you will be short-listed for an interview. Candidates wishing to apply for more than one post should submit separate application forms for each position.

Check that you have access to all the relevant information.

The following advice should help you to complete the application form as effectively as possible.

Read all the information

The job description outlines the duties you would be expected to carry out in this post. The person specification lists the skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required.

Prepare a rough draft

This will avoid mistakes and repetition and ensure that the final version is well organised, well presented and relevant.

Why are you interested in the job?

Is it promotion and a good career move? Will it broaden you or give you greater experience? Can you support this?

Career history

When listing your career history ensure that the dates for some posts are correct and in the right order; your present or most recent should come first. If successful we will use details of relevant experience found in your application to calculate your salary. CVs must not be included as part of your application and will not be considered if submitted.

Work experience and achievements

Can you show that you have the necessary requirements for the job? Check the job description and person specification. Your application should address the qualification, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities listed in the person specification. You must ensure you explain how you meet each of the requirements mentioned in the person specification using relevant examples. It is vital that you address each of the essential criteria. Failure to do so will result in you not being short-listed for interview. Your ability to meet some or all of the desirable criteria will further increase your chances of reaching interview. OPFS encourages applications from people with “transferable” qualifications, skills and experience. By analysing your present and previous jobs you will probably uncover “hidden skills” that you have taken for granted. This includes any relevant experience gained through your community, voluntary or leisure interests.

Write in a clear, concise, well-organised and positive way. Gear your application for the specific job rather than using one for a series of jobs, unless it is appropriate to do so. If any part of the form does not provide enough space please continue on a separate piece of paper. Make sure that you indicate on the separate sheet the part of the form to which it refers.

Monitoring form

The equal opportunities monitoring form is voluntary but the information requested here is very useful as it allows us to monitor the effectiveness of our policy for equal opportunities in employment. The monitoring form is detached from the application when we receive it and has no part in the short-listing process.

Job share and part-timers

Unless otherwise stated within our adverts, (for these particular positions we are unable to offer this) all positions within OPFS will be considered for job sharing or part time working. If you are interested in job sharing, you can find a job share partner yourself and submit separate applications (noting the other applicant’s name on your form), or alternatively you can apply as a
single job sharer.

Persons with a disability

Please let us know if you require any reasonable adjustment to complete the application form and why the adjustment is needed. We are able to receive CVs and reasonable alternative methods of applying.

Please contact OPFS team for further guidance at

Written applications

Make sure that your application form is well presented. Use a black ballpoint pen or type. This will ensure that it is clear when copied. Always keep a copy for your own record.

Closing dates

Make sure that your application is sent in plenty of time to meet the closing date, as applications will not be accepted after the specified date / time.


All offers of appointment are made subject to the receipt of references, which are, in the opinion of OPFS, satisfactory. OPFS reserves the right to withdraw offers of appointment if satisfactory references cannot be obtained.

For external candidates, we need to take references covering your last three years of employment. Please give names in the spaces provided of the person(s) most able to confirm your suitability for the post in question. The nominated referee should be someone of line management responsibility who has supervised your work, or a university of college tutor, or a person from within the human resources department within the organisation/company.

Please note that personal references will not be taken, nor will references supplied by family or friends