Whether this is your first time applying for a government job, or you’ve filled out applications for government roles before, you’ve more than likely had to answer selection criteria. How you respond to these criteria will determine whether you progress to an interview or not, so it’s incredibly important to get your answers right. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when you’re writing your responses, to make sure you effectively highlight your experience and prove why you’re the right person for the role.
- You must provide examples of your knowledge, accomplishments, experiences, capabilities etc. and be sure to relate them to the selection criteria and the role requirements listed in the job advertisement, to show that they are transferable to the new position. Even if you have a limited work history, you can use your experiences from school, university, volunteering, etc.
- Answer structures such as SAO – Situation, Action, Outcome – or STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result – are great ways to prompt you when highlighting specific
- Relate your application to the requirements and selection criteria and refresh yourself on them while writing to ensure you’re only including relevant information that answers the criteria.
- Be conscious of word limits – never go over, but always write at least the minimum amount required. You’ll probably need more words than the minimum to answer the questions in a good amount of detail, but don’t go over the maximum set.
- Similar to the above point, stay focused and be clear in your answers. Be direct and to the point, and don’t waffle on just to meet word limits or to make your response sound ‘better’.
- Even if it’s not explicitly stated, be aware that your communication capabilities are more than likely being assessed as well. Make sure your application is as well-written as can be, so go over your punctuation, spelling and grammar before you submit your application – at least twice.
Ask someone else to read over it if you aren’t sure or want another set of eyes on it to pick up other mistakes you may not have noticed. You don’t want a silly spelling error to cost you the job.
- If you get really stuck, call the contact listed on the application and talk to the potential employer to understand more about what they’re looking for. Don’t worry about bothering them, they’re focused on finding the right applicants and will be happy to help you.
- The last point is to make sure you follow the application instructions to the letter, so that you don’t miss anything and that you send your answers to the correct place, and before the application deadline.
Selection criteria can seem overwhelming, but if you sit down and take your time to go through everything and make sure your responses are comprehensive and relate to the criteria, you’ll be able to complete your application to a great standard and have a much higher chance of landing the interview.
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