Don’t let selection criteria hold you back

Don't let selection criteria hold you back
  • by Admin
  • Sep 09, 2022
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When it comes to job applications many job seekers are put off by positions that require addressing selection criteria. It tends to be mainly government roles, large organisations and educational institutions that require selection criteria, but more and more companies are introducing it as a method of assisting to streamline the HR process.

In reality you should look at selection criteria as yet another strategy to draw attention to yourself and your suitability for the desired position. As selection criteria also tend to be allowed to be lengthier, in fact, it vastly increases your ability to strengthen your case.

The key aim of any job application writer is to demonstrate that you the applicant not only meet all the requirements of the hirer but to ensure you stand out from the crowd and intrigue your potential employer enough to offer you an interview. The interview then becomes your opportunity to sell yourself into that position.

Selection criteria are usually a list of the skills, knowledge, and experience required to successfully do the position. Employers use selection criteria to compare all candidates for the position against the criterion and then short list the most suitable for an interview.

If the job applicant provides a strong job application writing that offers an overview of their qualifications, skills and experience and then uses their cover letter to personalise and introduce themselves; provide their reasons for applying for the position; and demonstrates their strong interest in the position and organisation – the addressing of key selection criteria enables the applicant to provide more detail about how they have demonstrated and acquired the required skills to effectively fill the job role.

In most cases addressing the required selection criteria requires compiling a separate document to your resume and cover letter. You should also keep in mind that your individually tailored resume needs to also reflect the requirements within the selection criteria for that job role.

The most common format for addressing selection criteria is to write each criterion as a heading in bold font then address how you meet each one. Format the document by including the job title, reference number (if applicable) and your name in the header and name your document file that you will submit whatever the employer uses in their job advertisement.

Answer the selection criteria in the order they appear in the position statement or job advertisement. Ensure that if a criterion has more than one part you address all parts – for example exceptional time management skills and ability to meet deadlines requires two different sets of skills and competencies.

Ensure that you address both the essential and the desirable criteria in your response. Do not fall into the trap of only addressing the essential criteria and thinking the desirable is not as important. Remember this document is your chance to gain an interview – you must impress the potential employer with your suitability for ALL their requirements.

The most effective and efficient way to address each selection criteria is to use the STAR method. Situation, Task, Action and Result. Your aim is to clearly identify and detail situations where you have demonstrated the required competency. Wherever possible choose examples that are relevant to the position statement and the employer or industry.

Try to provide examples that have occurred recently. Use action words such as accomplished, initiated, implemented, organised, and developed especially those that are used in the job description and selection criteria.

Situation – is the where and when and sets the context for your example.

Task – is the task or problem that needed to be solved.

Action – details how you solved the problem, fulfilled the task, or handled the situation. What did you do and how did you do it, that demonstrates the criterion you are addressing? This section should be approximately 3/4 of your response.

Result – what was the outcome you achieved as result of your action. Where possible quantify your result.

6 Winning Strategies for Successful Tender Writing

6 Winning Strategies for Successful Tender Writing
  • by Admin
  • Jul 05, 2022
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There is a myriad of strategies that Tender Writers employ to maximise the chance of a successful tender submission. Our Tender Writers at Red Tape Busters focus primarily on the ‘relevance’ of tender writing strategies in their toolkit according to the size and scope of the tender. The following strategies are foundational in our Tender Writing responses, however the depth of focus into each of them will inevitably be somewhat varied.
Plan Well, Plan Early & Make a Checklist That Counts

When it comes to Tender Writing, there was never a truer saying than Benjamin Franklin’s “If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail”. Putting together a successful tender submission is not a simple job that a Tender Writer allocates a day or so to during the last week before submission. When Tender Writing, the very first thing you should do is create a detailed written plan to ensure you are not overwhelmed as the deadline approaches and you suddenly realise how much you still need to prepare.

Whilst the obvious way to do this might be to review the tender documents and note all key dates, this is essentially only a small part of the planning process. A detailed plan will also identify all supporting documents required, construct a gap analysis to identify any missing elements that you will need to put together, identify team subject matter experts to contribute to documents and criteria, ensure these team have capacity to support the submission, identify any external players that need to be consulted and ensure this is factored in early in the tender writing process. All this needs to be worked into a detailed checklist that meets the key dates to ensure all the moving parts work together coherently to produce a high-quality tender submission.

Clarity is King

Regardless of how well equipped a business is to meet all the tender requirements, unless a Tender Writer in Sydney can clearly articulate this convincingly, they will not stand a chance of winning in their tender writing journey. It doesn’t matter whether you are tender writing, grant writing, resume writing or writing a job application, clarity is always, always king.

Ensure your responses tell a persuasive story, make sense and above all, answer the criteria in a language that the assessor will understand. Mirroring the tender language (& specifically the criteria points) is a great strategy to ensure you stay on track and on the reader’s wavelength. Using diagrams and dot points breaks up the tedium of reading long verbose responses too, however, only use them when appropriate not just to present visual appeal with no substance.

Your entire submission should focus on clarity in everything: writing style, criteria responses, introducing your business, inclusions and exclusions of your offering, how you will deliver if you win, examples of past successes, etc. The evaluators are potentially reading dozens of responses: make yours a standout using clear, concise and engaging responses that tie the whole submission together into a professional package.

Confidence without Arrogance

Confidence is reflected in a Tender Writer’s responses by their answers showing an understanding of the problem or criteria to be solved then presenting a concise, persuasive response that clearly defines & demonstrates how the business has the capacity and expertise to address it.

Arrogance, on the other hand, that resorts to bragging excessively without substance to support such strong statements, or belittling competitors, does very little to address the criteria being put forward.
From the Assessor’s perspective, an air of quiet confidence can elicit a sense of trust and willingness to explore a business relationship, whereas arrogance is more likely to create suspicion, doubt and sub-conscious ‘red flags’ for the reader.

Evidence Based Responses

A Tender Writer’s response that merely talks about how a business ‘can’ address specific criteria is somewhat mediocre when compared to a response that can provide clear past evidence of how the business has addressed similar criteria or circumstances in the past. Where the criteria outline a scenario that you have no exact evidence of addressing, then consider if there are a ‘range’ of scenarios that would collectively show evidence of your business’s capability to deliver.

Utilising external references by way of past successes in client projects is also a very powerful Tender Writer’s tool to use in their persuasive arguments. Generally, your assessor does not ‘know’ your business or how your service might differentiate above other competitors. Being able to provide tangible examples, including client references or testimonials provides valuable insights into the truth behind your ability to deliver.

Understand When Less is More…and When it isn’t

When answering criteria questions, Tender Writer’s often encounter a word limit. Treat every single word of a response as if it had an individual $ value and do not fill responses with ‘fluff’ just to meet the word count (‘less is more’). Utilise every word to put forward your most persuasive response possible yet keep it practical and factual. Answer with clarity, precision and consideration to ensure you are addressing what the assessors are asking.

When it comes to requested supporting documentation, ensure you do not skimp on details. Assessors want to know that what levels of compliance you meet in all relevant areas such as including Quality Assurance processes and procedures, Risk Management & Mitigation, Safety Standards and Protocols, Environmental Management Systems, etc. These documents, as well as providing assurance that your services are well-managed and do not bring unacceptable risks to a project, also provide a window into how you conduct your business and how well-thought out and professional your approach to your business actually is.

Consider Outsourcing

Whilst there may seem to be cost savings in doing your Tender Writing in-house, you need to consider the cost of allocating your team to all the assorted tasks, and whether your team’s expertise lies in Tender Writing or in contributing to your business in whatever role you employed them for. Ultimately, the cost ‘saving’ of doing the job in-house may not be the same return on investment as outsourcing your Tender Writing to those with the expertise to bring a winning edge to your Tender Writing.

The Red Tape Busters management team collectively offers over 200 years of submission expertise for your Tender Writing needs. Our consultative approach allows us to tap into your team to highlight and package your business expertise and capability into a high-quality submission, giving you the maximum chance of success in your Tender Writing submissions.

Using selection criteria wisely

Using selection criteria wisely
  • by Admin
  • Apr 25, 2022
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It can be daunting to apply for a position that asks for the job applicant to address selection criteria, especially if they don’t have what they consider to be strong job application writing skills. A job application writer can assist the inexperienced applicant to craft their responses to the selection criteria in a way that answers the criteria and gains them an interview for the position.

(more…)

The importance of ‘Why’ in grant writing

grant writing australia
  • by Admin
  • Apr 04, 2022
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When the grant writer Sydney, is writing a grant for a not-for-profit client the important concept they are sharing with the grant funder is the answer to the question – will this project or program make a difference?

Grants are designed to enable the successful grant applicant to effect change, deliver projects and services, build community capacity, or create opportunities. A good grant application written by grant writer will clearly address the WHY does it need to happen. Within their grant proposal they are answering definitively where your project or program will happen, who will benefit, when and how it is going to happen and how much will it cost to make it happen.

It is important that the grant writer NT clearly establish the necessity or WHY for your project or program.

To ensure they establish the WHY the grant writer will compile a winning grant proposal that provides the required information to the grant funder that:

  • Defines and describes your organisation. What are your organisation goals, mission, values, and philosophy? WHY is this program a priority for your organisation and how does it fit with your mission and the parameters of the grant? The grant writer will outline your governance and accountability experience and identify how you will deliver what you have said within your proposal.
  • Identifies the issue or need – what is the issue, problem, or challenge? Is it important to the community – who benefits? Where will the project be located – region, town/city, site? What do you know about the target area or demographic group? What information can the grant writer include to prove or validate that your project will meet community needs?
  • Defines the project or program. Where will it occur? What is the exact purpose of the project? What is the scope of the project? What resources will you need materially, human, and financial?
  • Clearly outlines the strategic plan of the project or program. What are the expected outcomes and outputs and how will we measure success? What approvals, licenses, insurances do you need, and do you already have these in place or what is the plan to provide these? How will the project be implemented and operated?
  • Identifies the people involved within your organisation and their qualifications, skills or qualities that make them the right fit for the program.
  • Details the timeline for delivery. When do I need to start and finish the project or program – is it already underway and this grant is to help fund an ongoing program? What are the program or project milestones? Will it continue after the grant funding discontinues?
  • Details the funding being sought for the project or program. How much will the project or program cost? The grant writer will include a detailed budget in the grant proposal covering the information required by the grant funder to decide about your application. What is the budget and funding required? How much will the project cost? How much cash and in-kind resources are already available and dedicated towards achieving success? A detailed budget will include project management on-costs, approvals, materials and resources, plant/equipment, labour.
  • Identifies your organisation and the program or project suitability for the grant. The grant writer demonstrates in the grant proposal that the project represents good value for the grant provider and for public funds? They clearly define how the project fits with the grant objective.

Your Memorable Cover Letter

Your memorable cover letter
  • by Admin
  • Mar 21, 2022
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A professional job application writer will be able to assist the job applicant in crafting the perfect cover letter to accompany their job application. While your resume is supposed to lay out the facts about you your cover letter is meant to convey more personality. (more…)

Grant Writing Acronyms

Grant Writing Acronyms
  • by Admin
  • Mar 05, 2022
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There is almost a completely new language for the grant writer to learn when they first begin grant writing. There is a shorthand of a whole range of acronyms that are frequently used across the grant writing procedure.

It helps if the grant writer knows and uses these acronyms as it simplifies the application and award process if everyone involved is familiar with the industry jargon. (more…)

Employer perspective regarding resumes

Employer Perspective Regarding Resumes
  • by Admin
  • Feb 16, 2022
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As a business owner and potential employer, I used to receive 2-3 unsolicited resumes every week from people seeking employment and each time I advertised a position I would receive 20-30 responses.

I always took the time to peruse every resume submitted as I believe in giving the resume writer a fair opportunity to sell themselves as a potential employee; but having said that I have to admit there were a great many resumes that I would dismiss from consideration immediately. (more…)

Identifying and defining your grant funding needs

Identifying and defining your grant funding needs
  • by Admin
  • Jan 31, 2022
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While it is sometimes tempting for a NFP organisation to randomly apply for any and all grant funding simply because they have become aware of it and let’s face it they can all use a funding injection it is important to actually have completed significant groundwork first and to be clear in what they want to fund if they intend to actually be successful in their application. (more…)

Compiling a resume that makes it through the crowd

Compiling A Resume that makes it trhough the crowd
  • by Admin
  • Jan 11, 2022
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It will come as no surprise to many job seekers that the current job market is ultra-competitive and the sheer numbers of applicants for some positions is overwhelmingly large. So how does one ensure their resume stands out from the crowd in this fast-paced world? Its definitely not through producing a showy, blingy resume. (more…)

Free range approach to grant writing

Free Range Approach To Grant Writing
  • by Admin
  • Dec 20, 2021
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As a grant writer it can be tempting to try to write the ‘perfect’ grant as soon as you commence the project.

Reality is that when grant writing it is often more effective to let creativity flow for the first draft of the application. As you read the grant invitation start writing what comes into your head in note form, bullet points or sentences. The important part of this process is to simply let your thoughts and ideas flow. They can be organised later.

As you write the first rough draft, add notes about facts or research you want to include or information you need to find out, documentation you have to read or include. It can be useful to use different coloured fonts to highlight these in your draft.

If the grant writer finds themselves struggling during this process and unable to get the sentences to form or the paragraph to be complete simply highlight them to look at later and continue moving on. This first draft – the free-range draft if you will – is all about brainstorming and following the flow of thoughts that are prompted by the grant invitation. This is your rough diamond; the cutting and polishing can come later.

On this first draft don’t try and stick to word counts or word limits. It is actually better to have too many words and be able to refine and edit than to have to add more words later. Our grant writer in Sydney can edit the free-range draft to be more specific and focused after all their ideas and thoughts are committed to either paper or screen.

When the grant writer starts editing, they can highlight the key words from the grant invitation in order to demonstrate that they have addressed each criterion in focused and specific detail.
The most effective time to write the introductory summary that will be in the grant submission is after everything else is written, edited, polished and finalised. Having written all the more detailed requirements of the grant submission such as the work plan, the benefits, the needs statement for the grant application writing the summary should be relatively easy and straight forward.

The grant writer will demonstrate clearly why the project or program funding is being sought for is important. They will provide an outline of what the need is and how it can be addressed as well as why the applicant organisation is best qualified to provide a solution for the need. This is where the grant writer is persuading and motivating the selection committee to select the organisation and their project or program to receive the funding so be persuasive and convincing.

When the free-range draft is complete the grant writer can then begin their polishing process. As part of their editing and polishing the grant writer pays attention to formatting –

  • Using short sentences; short paragraphs; and bullet points rather than large blocks of information.
  • Using bold headings to clearly identify each section of the grant application.
  • Selecting a professional and legible font and appropriate font size for clarity and ease of reading.
  • Checking word counts

The grant writer also ensures the free-range brainstorming draft has now become a professionally written grant application that is simple and concise to read. Avoid the use of jargon instead choose concise and clear language. The grant writer attaches all the requested documentation and supplies detailed information about the applying organisation or company and the core personnel who will be associated with putting the grant project into place.