Selection criteria

Selection criteria is a list of requirements you must satisfy to qualify for a job. You must always address the selection criteria when applying for a job. This is the most important part of your application.

‚ÄčAs part of a job application you may be asked to respond to selection criteria. Usually, your response to the selection criteria is prepared separately from your resume and cover letter. In this case, you will then need to provide three documents for your application. If it is unclear whether you are required to address a selection criteria formally, you should contact the employer. Some organisations also have their own guidelines for responding to selection criteria.

Preparing responses

  • Start a new document and use the exact wording of the selection criteria as headings. Don't be tempted to combine criteria which sound similar.
  • Respond to both the essential and desirable criteria.
  • It is important to respond to all criteria even if you don’t feel you have much to say. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t give a strong response to every criterion.

Different types of criteria

Selection criteria may relate to skills and abilities, experience, qualifications, personal qualities or understanding and knowledge.

  • Skills and abilities

    This is the most common type of selection criteria and often referred to by recruiters as ‘competencies’. The key is to give examples of when you have demonstrated the skill or ability.

    A typical response might consist of two or three examples, or a single substantial example which covers all aspects of the criterion. Use examples from a range of experiences throughout your responses – these examples can be taken from your work, study or extra-curricular activities.

    A useful framework for responses is the STAR model.

    Example: Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

    I have developed excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including interacting one-on-one, speaking to groups and producing written documents of various kinds.

    • In my role as Oaktree Schools4Schools Coordinator, I worked with student leaders to develop and educate a seed group of younger students. My role involved mentoring the leaders as well as facilitating weekly discussion groups, all of which required positive and thoughtful interpersonal communication. Organising the group’s art auction fundraiser required liaising and negotiating with a range of people including school staff, caterers, artists who donated works and the auctioneer. As part of the fundraiser, I produced a brochure and subsequently a report to Oaktree management. The seed group sustained and strengthened throughout the year, and our fundraiser was a success raising $7,000 for our sister school in Cambodia.
    • In my tutoring work with refugee children, I assist individual children and small groups with their homework. This requires a sensitive and positive approach as well as flexibility in communication, as each child has different needs and learning style. As part of my role, I prepare worksheets and instructions for students and complete a reflective journal. I have received very positive feedback from the program coordinator.
  • Experience

    With experience criteria, the more experience the stronger the response. It is good to give the full picture of your experience rather than just examples. List the particular experiences and then give some detail of what you did, including any information which indicates that you performed well.

    Example: Experience in administration

    My experience in administration includes the following:

    • In my voluntary work as Administrative Assistant with The Smith Family, I am responsible for a range of administrative tasks including scheduling client appointments, keeping records in a database, and updating web content; I have been doing this work for over a year now and am very comfortable with administrative work.
    • Many of the tasks undertaken as part of my internship with Careers & Employment were administrative in nature; these included entering events and job listings in a database, preparing promotional flyers and posters, and managing small events.
    • I also completed the Certificate IV in Business Administration concurrently with my degree studies, in which I gained a Distinction average; the course has reinforced and extended the skills gained through work experience, and it also included business financials in which I am now confident
  • Understanding or awareness

    This type of criteria requires you to provide a summary of an issue or topic and some specifics to show your understanding. Consider:

    • How or where you acquired your knowledge.
    • If you have no experience in using this particular ‘understanding’, you might be able provide an example of where you have worked with something similar or related.

    Example: An understanding of ‘inclusive practices’

    I understand that the aim of inclusive practices is to provide increased and equitable access to education for students with a disability. I have read the relevant policy documents on your website. There are a wide range of practices undertaken by the University of Melbourne to achieve inclusion, with the tasks of the Academic Support Worker being part of that set of practices.

    I am also aware that in assisting students, certain principles such as academic integrity and student independence are important. This means, for example, that a support worker must take care not to transfer their own ideas onto the notes taken in lectures for client students and must always seek to maximise the students’ control over the note taking and other support activities.

    In my tutoring work with refugee children, we work with a philosophy and set of principles which guide how we should approach our work, so I am used to working within such guidelines.

  • Qualifications and other factual criteria

    A brief factual response is all that is required, stating your qualifications or other factual information that might be required. Perhaps elaborate a little, such as mentioning relevant subject streams within a course.

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