We previously looked at addressing selection criteria and how this is sometimes a requirement when you’re applying for a job. While they can be painful and time consuming to write, selection criteria are used by an employer to shortlist applicants for an interview, so let’s take a deeper dive.
So, you’re scrolling through potential graduate positions on your favourite job search website and one jumps out at you. The job description sounds like it was made for you. As you continue to read through to the application process, you find that not only are you required to provide a cover letter and resume, but there is also a list of six selection criteria you’re expected to address.
Some criteria are labelled as ‘Essential’ while others are listed as ‘Desirable’ – what’s the difference? Great question. Essential criteria means they are necessary skills you must possess in order to undertake the role. Desirable criteria on the other hand are not absolutely necessary for you to possess, but would assist you in the role or can be learnt on the job. So while failing to provide evidence of a desirable criteria isn’t a deal-breaker, not being able to show your ability for an essential criteria will be.
Now that we’ve got that sorted, it’s time to think about how you’re going to approach each criteria. A good start would be to gather evidence of your existing skills set by conducting a stocktake. This will include the course you’re studying, your current or previous employment, any placements you’ve undertaken, community or volunteer work you’ve been involved in, other extra-curricular activities as well as any other training or professional development participation you’ve put your hand up for.
For example, the job ad may list one essential criteria as: ‘Demonstrated initiative and sound organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines and prioritise tasks.’
Don’t panic, you’ve got this! Using the STAR technique, map out your own example, while we have a look at how this person approached it:
Situation and Task
As a committee member of the Curtin Guild, I was tasked with organising a networking event involving students and industry professionals.
I firstly created a project plan in collaboration with other committee members which included all key tasks. I allocated a schedule completion time for each task by analysing the priorities. For example, I ensured that the venue, catering and speakers were booked before commencing other tasks such as sending out invitations.I applied initiative by successfully securing employer sponsorship which provided the Employability Club with a $5000 budget for the event.
The event was delivered on schedule and within budget. Positive feedback was received from students and employers, and student membership to the Curtin Employability Club increased by 25% one month after the event.
Voila! One selection criteria down, five to go…