Writing a job application

A written job application should help you secure an interview. It introduces you to the prospective employer and provides an overview of your attributes, employment history, and qualifications. Many positions these days require a résumé and a document addressing the selection criteria. The following résumé outline will get you started and is followed by how to address selection criteria.

The résumé

The style or look of your résumé is entirely up to you, as it is a reflection of your personality and even the industry you wish to enter. A simple and easy to read résumé is preferred by most employers, so although a bit of individuality can be shown, don’t go over-the-top with coloured headings and crazy fonts. Make sure your résumé is easy to read, succinct and error-free.

What to include in your résumé

  • Address: Include a correct postal address
  • Phone: Use a professional voicemail message
  • Career Profile: Tell the employer what you bring to their organisation
  • Education: In reverse chronological order starting with the current year and working backwards
  • Key Achievements: Academic and private
  • Employment History: In reverse chronological order because employers like to see your most current activities first
  • Extracurricular Activities: Emphasise those relevant to your degree
  • Memberships of clubs and professional bodies
  • Referees: Two or three referees that a prospective employer can contact to discuss your application and suitability for the position

Your résumé should be no more than three pages. It should be clear and easy to read. Your choice of font will make the difference — don’t go below 12pt and use space wisely to improve the look and readability of your document.

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Selection criteria

An excellent job application takes commitment, hard work, and research. Use the STAR approach to comprehensively answer each criterion.

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The simple way to address selection criteria

STAR: S = Situation, T= Task, A = Action, R = Result

  • Situation — Where you were when you acquired the skill, competency and/or experience. E.g. university, playing sport, part-time job, travelling …
  • Task — What were you doing? E.g. Captain of a sporting team, leader of a study team, helping teaching others, public speaking tutorial/presentation, travelling through Asia on your own
  • Action — How did you make it happen? Leading by example, planning, organisation, research, goal setting, preparation and practice
  • Result — What was the outcome? E.g. led your team to victory, achieved an HD for tutorial presentation, successfully passed information onto others, gained self-reliance, problem-solving and negotiation skills

Good luck with your application and don’t forget to access our Resumes and Applications resource and sample resumes from the CareerSuccess resources.

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