Selection criteria buster: How to apply to the Australian Government

Selection criteria buster: How to apply to the Australian Government

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The Australian Government is a huge institution, with jobs available across its full portfolio of responsibilities in the country from health to defence. However, it's also a very competitive posting, and only as little as 2 or 3% of applicants are ever successful. It can seem like an uphill battle just making the application, but a great way to start is to understand the selection criteria and to put your best foot forward with the application. Let's take a look at what the selectors want to see in your application, and help with some tips to get you ahead of the pack.
Structure is key

One of the big problems that many applicants come up against is that the questions you are asked tend to be quite open-ended, leaving applicants with a lot of work to do in order to decide what to say. This can then go in one of two directions: The candidate tries to fit too much information into one question, burying the useful nuggets of information under a volume of irrelevance, or the candidate includes too much useless information that doesn't relate to the question. 

Remember key points

When writing an example to include “The demonstrated ability to achieve results in a team environment” it can be tempting to launch into a longer anecdote about your previous roles. Instead of this, what you should actually try to do is follow a strict formula, which we'll call STAR. This consists of: Situation - a work situation relevant to the question; Task - what was the problem that needed solving; Action - what did you do to complete the task; Result - how did your action help solve the problem? Every word you write should be in service of one of those key points, in as clear and concise a manner as possible. 

Give examples

The Australian Government's criteria for candidates assess them against a list of competencies required for the job, so it's up to you to make sure your examples meet them. Of course, you don't know what they are, but all that means is that you need to pick out the key points from your examples yourself and present them as clearly and simply as possible. In order to do this, your writing style needs to be as straightforward and precise as you can make it, while still prioritising spelling and grammar. Remember that not only do you have to prove you met the selection criteria, to get an interview you need to prove that you met it better than all the other candidates, and while some will fail at this stage, plenty of your rivals won't.

Unfortunately, many Australian Government jobs will have tens, hundreds or even thousands of applications for each position, and it's not practical for them to interview all these candidates. As a result, only the best of the best applications will progress, and your resume will be deselected early if it's not clear from what you've written how your examples meet the criteria.

I hope this helps with the application process and if you would like some personal pointers please feel free to reach out to me directly.