Targeted résumé headings: How to target for your chosen job

How to address selection criteria is a skill that needs to be learned. Here are some useful tips.

  • When responding to selection criteria, write about half to two-thirds of a page, on average, for each response. For senior positions, you might stretch to one page.
  • Check to see if there is a stipulated page or word limit, font size or margin width.
  • Respond in the order listed on the selection criteria sheet. Number them.
  • No need to start a new page for each new response, but avoid “hangers”.
  • The duty statement is your guide, so always check it carefully and see how they intend you to use the particular skill.
  • The example must be specific. General claims mean nothing.
  • Don’t talk about what you  do generally or what your job requires you to do. Write about something specific that happened on a particular day.
  • The action you took must be concluded and successful. “Work in progress” is not concluded so your skills have not been demonstrated.
  • Use your best example for the written response and use different examples at the interview.
  • Write in the past tense and be consistent in this. Tell the story of something that has happened in the past. Say what you did in your job, not what you do.
  • Use no more than three lines to set the scene.
  • The Action part is where you gain your marks. It shows how you achieved the result. Describe the action you took step by step. This part could take six to 12 lines.
  • Use bullet points in your initial draft to get the sequence right. When you have finished your draft, you might decide to leave the bullet points in (no more than five actions) or take them out and turn the Action part into a paragraph. Do not use bullet points in the Situation part or the Result part.
  • Remember, the example you give is only an excuse to talk about yourself. “I” must be your favourite word.
  • Never use the same example twice.
  • Avoid phrases like, “I am required to…”. Say, “I do…”.
  • When answering selection criteria, never talk about what you do generally.
  • Don’t say, “I would…”.  Say, “I did…”.
  • Never say, “See above” or “See my résumé”. They won’t.
  • Add your referees to this document and your résumé.
  • Supervisors or managers can claim the work done by others under their supervision.

For more information, purchase Write A Winning Job Application, the book – or ebook here.

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