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Careers in the APS

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The Australian Public Service

Applying to the Public Service

Public service application procedures differ slightly from those of private sector employers. Usually you are required to submit:
• An application form
• A resume
• A cover letter
• A document that addresses the selection criteria for the position

Advertisements for public service roles will usually ask you to contact them for an "Information Pack" which would include a position description and a list of the selection criteria. This is sometimes also available on the department's website (usually doc or pdf format) It is essential that you obtain this information before you apply, otherwise, how else are you going to make your claims against the selection criteria?!

Selection Criteria?

The selection criteria is used essentially in every job advertisement for a job in the public sector at all levels including the police force, health, education, defence etc. Many applicants fail to address the selection criteria properly, or even at all, for their job application & thus, are not (in most instances) successful in application.

IT is important for you to understand the importance of the selection criteria & how to address. There are many good books written in this area which I suggest you take a look at. Your career advisor is bound to make good referrals.

The point of having the criteria is for the selection panel, if there is one, to decide whether they want to interview you. It's up to you to show that you meet the requirements & not for them to have to guess from your CV whether you'd have the appropriate qualities, skills & experience.

What are the steps involved in addressing Selection Criteria?

1. When addressing the selection criteria, make sure that you start with a new document. Don't bundle it with your cover letter or your resume. Always attach it/send it as a seperate document. You might like to use the heading: "Response to Selection Criteria" or "Statement Addressing Selection Criteria". Type out each of the criterion exactly as they are stated. Don't miss out any! Leave space under each criterion for your response. Include the position title and your name on each page
2. Identify the specific factors in each criterion. Underline key words in order to break down the criteria into components
3. Under each criterion, you need to prepare a response about how you meet the criteria (required knowledge, skills and attitudes) and back it up with specific examples. Refer to a variety of experiences: your tertiary studies, employment experience, sporting or other team activities, membership of any societies, community organisations, awards, publications etc. Write a paragraph or two outlining how you meet those criteria. Be specific in doing this - refer to specific examples of your background etc. It is fine to use bullet points as long as you remember to be consistent in what you use.

Other things to do...

Research -- There's almost always plenty of information about the organisation (esp. on the internet) which you can read

Questions -- Think about some of the questions you'd like to ask beforehand

Read through the Cover Letter guide.


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