Selection Criteria - Tailoring Applications

 Tailoring Applications
If you feel like you’re sending off rafts of applications with little success, it might be time to change your approach. Tailoring your application is an important stage in the job search process for many reasons – but it becomes more so in a competitive job market like the one we’re experiencing at the moment. It may mean the difference between your Resume ending up in the YES or NO pile.
Employers use different ways to recruit staff. If you understand how employers recruit, you can match your application to their needs and improve your chances of getting the job.

Do your research
The first step is research. Read the job ad and identify exactly what they are looking for. Highlight skills or experience that seem important and make notes. If the company is advertising directly, have a look at their website, Google the company name and find out if any current company or industry events might impact the job. Writing just one sentence that references your knowledge of a current situation could mean the difference between success and failure at this initial stage.

Gather your evidence
Find the employer’s ‘key words’ in the job description. Include these in your job application. - Think about your past achievements and work history to find examples to include in your application. - Describe past work tasks and responsibilities using the same ‘key words’ from the job ad. - Leave out anything that isn’t relevant to this job. - Use old resumes or cover letters for inspiration.

What is Selection Criteria
Selection criteria is a list of essential skills, knowledge, experience and/or qualifications you must fullfill to be eligible for a job. It is crucial to always answer the selection criteria when submitting an application for a position. This is considered to be a fundamental element of the application process when you are job hunting.
When responding to selection criteria as part of a job application, it is common that the response is submitted as a separate document to your resume and cover letter, making it three different documents to complete your application.
Here are some examples of selection criteria:
•Ability to work in a team and in a collaborative environment
•Exceptional time management skills and ability to meet deadlines
•Ability to demonstrate a high level of effective team management
•A qualification in a relevant industry area

Understanding and dissecting the selection criteria
Read the selection criteria on the job advertisement thoroughly before jumping right in. As an example, let’s look at problem-solving skills. The associated criterion details could be:
Well developed interpersonal skills. This includes the ability to:
•Express opinions, information and key points clearly and concisely via effective verbal communication
•Effectively working with others to resolve interpersonal conflicts in a positive way
•Being able to work in both formal and informal settings with others in groups and teams
If we look into this further, we can see that a breakdown of the desired sub-skills that fall under interpersonal relevant skills according to this description are:
•Verbal communication
•Problem-solving and decision-making skills

Go into further detail and support your claims with ‘the how’
Once you’ve got the base points that surround the overarching selection criteria, you can then go to these and choose which examples suit best. A great way to do this is by employing the STAR Method technique.
Example response to the STAR Method:
Role as Project Manager at X
In this role, I needed to ensure that all team conflicts were resolved effectively and in a positive manner

I ensured that when any conflicts arose, that they were handled straight away and according to business protocol

My doing so led to small conflicts remaining contained, and improved lines of communication between team members.

The opening statement

For each selection criterion, clearly state how you fulfil it in one sentence making sure you incorporate key points. Keep it short – you will go into further details and specific examples and relevant experience in the next step.
For example:
 I possess strong interpersonal skills, which I have developed throughout my role as a Project Manager.
Think about ideas for each selection criterion
Here, you can pull together some examples of your work experiences that are relevant to the role you are pursuing. For example, sticking with the theme of Project Management, an applicant may think of the following scenarios to show how they fulfil the selection criteria prior to writing their response:
•Project Manager at X – have encountered conflicts in the past when managing teams and have resolved these accordingly
•Project Manager at Y – first managerial role; perfected verbal communication through many encounters with fellow team members, learned to deliver my points clearly and concisely
•Project Coordinator at Z – working with teams

Selection criteria checklist
When reading through your final draft, check the following steps before you submit your job application:
Have I addressed all elements of the selection criteria?
Once you’ve completed your application, it is good to revisit the wording of that particular selection criterion found in the position description. Make sure your content correlates and that the descriptors used in the advertisement are directly addressed in your writing. Double check that you have met the requirements of the process itself- there may be a word limit you need to stick to, or the recruiter might ask you to list examples using bullet points, instead of keeping them in paragraph format.
Are your claims justified with relevant examples?
This is as simple as making sure you are specific, concise and that your answers remain relevant with the use of actual experience. There is no use going on a tangent and writing an essay if it is a bunch of useless content that is not relevant to the position.
Have you chosen the right words?
Match your language with that used in the job advertisement. When a recruiter is scanning your document and there are words that he or she believes to be relevant to the position, this will more than likely generate some interest – after all, it has been said that every advertised position gets on average 118 applications, so yours needs to stand out in the selection process to make it on the shortlist!
Also, avoid ambiguous and passive language to really make sure your writing is clear and delivers your point effectively.

Taking the time to tailor your application might seem time consuming, but if it means the difference between success and failure, it’s worth it! There are so many candidates who are seemingly perfect for roles but aren’t achieving interviews. After tweaking their applications, they are amazed at the success they can achieve.

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