In addition to requiring a professional resume, many government applications also require applicants to respond to selection criteria to have their suitability for a role assessed. While these applications may seem daunting, and do require effort, these are an excellent way to gain an advantage over the often-substantial competition for these roles.
Many responses frankly miss the mark for what’s required to get to the next stage of the application process. With many of these roles having a panel of assessors ranking applications based on merit, the reality is that if your application fails to address the criteria adequately, your application will simply be dismissed in favour of someone’s whose does.
Having completed hundreds of these applications in the past few years, we’ve devised a straightforward 3 Step Method for writing such applications. This method can be used for any role, level or industry.
Review the application documents and identify the selection criteria. Download our free table and cut and paste each criterion within your application into the table. Note the four boxes that need to be completed for each criteria. These follow the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. The STAR method is generally accepted as the preferred method to respond to such criteria. In the ‘S’ box, describe the situation you were in where you were able to demonstrate the required skill. The ‘T’ requires you to explain what you were tasked with. The ‘A’ is where you can describe what action you took. The ‘R’ requires you to consider the overall result of your actions.
An example is as follows:
“strong communication skills”
Situation: ‘Employed as a Admin Support Officer at Department of Finance.
Task: ‘was asked to ensure all personnel were kept aware of updates within the company”
Action: ‘took the initiative to develop a monthly newsletter to detail changes in the company”
Result: ‘all staff reported feeling more informed in a follow up survey. Awarded employee of the month for this initiative.”
Once you have filled in all boxes within the table, you can write your responses into cohesive paragraphs.
Review the application guidelines to determine how long your response should be. These vary between different departments and organisations. If no guideline is given, aim for 1/3 page per criteria.
While these applications can take significant time and effort, we highly recommend taking the time to develop a quality application.