Don’t let selection criteria hold you back
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.