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Completing your application

Application pack contents 

To apply for a job with us, you must complete an application form. You can download an application pack for each advertised job, which includes the following documents:

Document Description
Job description This tells you the purpose and main tasks of the job.
Employee specification This tells you about the skills and experience you need to do the job. This can include qualifications, experience or skills which you must have to be able to apply (essential criteria). If you do not have the essential criteria for the job you will not be invited to the next stage of the process. There may also be some additional shortlisting or desirable criteria, which can be applied if a large number of applications are received. This is not applied in all cases, so still apply for a job if you have the essential criteria, but not the shortlisting or desirable criteria.
Terms and conditions This tells you about the terms of application, including the recruitment process and timeframe. It also contains the main conditions of employment, including the pay, location and other information about the job and benefits of working for the council. It is important to check that you are eligible to apply for the post as some jobs are internal opportunities open only to Belfast City Council employees.
Application form We use the information you provide in your application form to decide if you meet the essential criteria and, if necessary, the short-listing or desirable criteria for the job. It is therefore important that you use the application form to tell us how you meet the criteria for the job (as detailed in the employee specification).

 
Please complete the application form in Word format (Arial font size 11), which you can email to us when complete. If you are completing your application form in hand-written format, please make sure your writing is legible and use black ink.

The essential criteria, that is, the qualifications and experience requirements, will be different for each recruitment exercise so ensure that you complete the application form which has been specifically tailored for the job you are applying for.

You cannot send CVs or attach additional sheets to your application form. These will not be considered by the recruitment panel. Continuation sheets must not be used. Please use the boxes provided. Please do not delete or alter the format of the form.

Please make sure all questions are fully answered before returning your application form as we cannot accept any additional or supplementary information after the closing date for receipt of application forms.

Top tips

  • Read the supporting information before completing your application form and complete all of the sections of the application form that are relevant to you. Make sure you include the specific information requested in each specific box as the short-listing panel will not read-across boxes.
  • Provide as much information as you can in support of the criteria described in the job description and employee specification but make sure you keep to the space provided. Any information which runs on to another page will not be taken into consideration).
  • Proof read your application form – make sure the information is clear, precise and easily understood.
  • Keep a copy of your application form, the job description and employee specification to refer to should you be invited to interview.
  • Return your application form in good time well before the closing date. If you send it by email and you do not receive an auto acknowledgement, make sure you confirm receipt before the closing time. Remember: it is the time your application is received which matters – not the time it is sent.

Section by section guide to completing your application form

Completing your application

We have created a guide for you to help you complete our application forms when applying for a job. For more information or queries email jobs@belfastcity.gov.uk

Personal details

Please enter your name and address on the front page of the application form. This helps us to process your form when we receive it.

We may contact you in writing or by telephone, therefore please include a telephone number that we can contact you on during the day. We also issue notifications by email (if provided), so please check your email regularly if you have applied for a job with us and included an email address. Please note that we cannot accept temporary national insurance numbers. If you only have a temporary number, please contact us.

Qualifications - if applicable 

Please use this section to show us that you have the necessary qualifications and any professional memberships to do the job. Please ensure you read the Employee Specification when completing this section.

If you are applying for a job on the basis of a qualification which is not specifically detailed in the employee specification, but which you consider to be a relevant equivalent qualification, you must highlight the areas or modules which you think are relevant. This will enable the panel to decide if it is an equivalent qualification. If you don’t provide details on the equivalency of your qualification, the panel will not consider your application any further.

Some jobs will require you to have professional qualifications, or to be a member of a professional body. This will be detailed in the employee specification.

If you are currently studying for or waiting for exam results, we cannot consider these. Similarly, if you have completed a degree or Masters but have not yet graduated, we cannot consider this. You must possess the necessary qualifications or professional memberships at the closing date for receipt of application forms.

Employment history 

Complete the current employment box if you are currently working. This does not only apply to paid work, so include any voluntary work or work experience placements that you are doing at the moment.

We require the exact dates of your employment as these are used for short-listing purposes.

Please tell us about your experience in a working environment. Again, you should try to include any unpaid work you have done in the past. Please list your experience in date order, with the most recent first.

Driving or security licence - if required

Depending on the position you are applying for, you may require a full, current driving licence which enables you to drive in Northern Ireland. You may also need a car for official business, or access to a form of transport which will enable you to meet the requirements of the job.

There are some driving jobs within the council, for example, LGV driver or tractor driver, which require you to hold a full, current driving licence which specifically allows you to drive that type or category of vehicle in Northern Ireland, for example, Class C. This will be detailed in the employee specification, if required.

You are asked to confirm your licence number and dates of your driving licence for verification purposes. We will verify the details with the Driver and Vehicle Agency (NI).

If you are applying for a security role, you will be asked to provide details of your Security Industry Authority licences. You will need your licence number and the date it is valid from and to (you must have this at the closing date for receipt of application forms).

Experience 

This is the most important section of the application form and it is an opportunity for you to tell us about yourself, what you can do and the skills and experience you have which make you a good candidate for the job.

You need to show us that you meet the essential criteria for the job. You should refer to the employee specification, as this will detail what essential criteria you will need evidence of on your application form. Different jobs require different skills, knowledge, competencies and qualifications, so if you are applying for more than one job, please submit the relevant application form for each one.

The selection panel will not read across the various sections of the application form. If you submit this information in another box or in a different section of the application form, it will not be considered by the selection panel. You must not use continuation sheets. Please use the relevant box provided. 

If you don’t tell us, we’ll not know! 

We will not make any assumptions about you or your abilities, even if you already work us. Do not leave out any relevant skills, knowledge or experience you have gained, for example voluntary or unpaid work – it is still relevant. 

You are asked to give ‘personal and specific examples’ which demonstrate your experience, so include examples of situations that you have experienced, whether within work or in your personal life, that demonstrate what is being asked for. What we mean by personal and specific examples is evidence of your personal involvement in this experience, how you dealt with it and relevant examples to show the breadth of your experience. 

The interview panel can only make a decision to invite you to the next stage of the selection process based on the information you provide in your application form, and how this matches the criteria in the employee specification. If there is a required length of experience, make sure you include the start and end dates of your experience so the panel know you meet the timeframe.

Good example answers 

To demonstrate your personal involvement, you should use ‘I’, not ‘we’, when completing your application form. Using ‘I’ portrays your personal involvement more and lets the panel know exactly what your personal involvement was and what you were personally responsible for doing. ‘We’ gives the impression that you did not personally undertake the duties or that you were somehow involved, but didn’t really have ownership or responsibility for the experience – it does not tell the panel about your personal experience, only that of a team or the organisation. It is evidence of your individual personal experience that the panel is looking for. 

You should also provide specific detail of your experience, that is, how you went about gaining the experience, what you did, what this involved and provide examples which demonstrate the breadth of your experience. 

Example one 

If you are asked to demonstrate, by way of personal and specific examples, that you have one year’s experience of managing staff, it is not sufficient to simply state, “We manage staff well in our organisation”, “I have experience of managing staff,” or “I feel I am capable of managing staff,” or “It is important to be able to manage staff” – vague, text book answers are not sufficient. 

An example of a good, clear response is: “I have more than one year’s experience of managing staff. I have managed staff from (exact dates: from – to). I directly managed five staff members from (exact dates: from – to). To do this effectively, I (demonstrate how you managed the staff) scheduled weekly meetings where I allocated and monitored workloads. I also held monthly one to one meetings to discuss individual performance and personal development. At these meetings, I gave the staff updates on new developments and we discussed how our work impacts on the work of the organisation and how we could improve things. When problems occurred, I spoke to my staff to resolve the problem as soon as possible. An example to demonstrate my experience of staff management is how I handled one staff member who was under-performing in his job. I met with him to discuss his performance and to ask if there were any issues that were affecting his performance. He told me that he had some family issues and was finding it difficult to concentrate in work. We agreed on what was expected from him in terms of performance and we came up with some interim options that would help him achieve the current work priorities and start work earlier and leave earlier to enable him to spend a little more time at home. We agreed on the timeframe and I met with him every week to discuss his performance. I also spoke to the other staff members about the arrangement but ensured his personal information was kept confidential. After three weeks, which was our agreed timeframe, he thanked me for being flexible and resumed his normal working hours. I feel that I managed this staff management issue well because I was able to help the member of staff and ensure that his performance at work remained stable.” 

Example two 

If you are asked to demonstrate, by way of personal and specific examples, that you have one year’s experience of dealing effectively with customers, it is not sufficient to simply state, “Customers are important in our organisation” or “I deal with customers in my current job” or “I know how to deal with customers.” 

An example of a good, clear response is: “I have more than one year’s experience of dealing effectively with customers. I have dealt effectively with customers from (exact dates: from – to). To do this effectively (demonstrate how you dealt effectively with customers) I was always polite and responsive and made sure I only gave them accurate information. I gave them my full attention and was as helpful as possible. When I worked in the supermarket, I was required to deal with customers on the shop-floor. As part of my daily duties, I had to direct customers to items in the shop and deal with customers when operating the cash tills. When I was promoted to Duty Officer (exact dates: from – to) I was required to work on the Customer Service desk. I had to deal with many irate customers and situations including exchanging faulty goods and completing refunds for unsatisfied customers. An example to demonstrate my experience of dealing effectively with customers was how I managed an irate customer who had a complaint about a faulty DVD. He was very upset because this was the second DVD that he had to return. Even though I had not dealt with him on the first occasion, I listened carefully to his complaint and empathised with his situation. I apologised on behalf of the store for the faulty product and offered him a full refund or exchange. He was still not happy with the store’s service so I advised him to complete the company’s customer complaints form while I contacted my manager. I assured him that his custom was important to us and that I would do whatever I could to make sure his complaint was dealt with. I advised him that I would ring the manufacturer as a matter of urgency and that consideration could be given to recalling all of those DVDs. He seemed a bit happier with this and asked for a full product refund. By the time my manager arrived, I had dealt with the situation effectively. The customer explained the whole situation over again to my manager but added that he felt I had dealt with his complaint patiently and fairly and that, whilst he still wanted to progress his formal customer complaint form, he was happy with the way he had been treated and with his full refund. When he left, my manager thanked me for dealing with the situation so effectively.” 

You must provide specific, detailed and personal examples to demonstrate evidence of your experience in the required areas.