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Addressing the selection criteria

​Some job applications, especially for government positions, professional appointments and larger businesses, require you to address key selection criteria. The selection criteria is a list of personal qualities, skills, knowledge and work experience you need to have to get the job. It is used by the employer to shortlist applicants for the interview process.

If you need to write 'statements of claims against the selection criteria', then you must be aware this is likely to be the most important document in your application. It is used to assess you against other applicants, with scores often given for each criterion. Usually, these scores are then totalled, and those with the highest scores are granted an interview. Key selection criteria responses need to be accompanied by a covering letter and your resume.

To address the key selection criteria, you will need to obtain the application package including the selection criteria from the employer. Usually you will also need to get the position description to fully understand the job requirements. Explain in writing how well you meet the essential and desirable criteria. To be considered for an interview, you need to show that you meet the essential criteria.

Here is a sample of key selection criteria that might be used for an administrative assisstant position, followed by examples of how to address them.

Examples of how to address 'key selection criteria'

Selection criteria – Administrative Assistant Position No: 23/00
1 Demonstrated skills in working with and knowledge of Microsoft Office programs including Word, Excel and Outlook.

My skills in this area are well developed as my experience in an administrative capacity includes support to Executives at a senior level. Throughout my work history I have been required to utilise the range of Microsoft Office Software in the provision of high quality administrative assistance. This includes the presentation of information in a variety of formats: report writing, database management, management of statistical information, electronic calendar management and the full complement of executive level administrative support.

In my current role as Receptionist/Administration Assistant at Jamieson Automation Pty Ltd I am required to use MS Office programs on a daily basis and am highly proficient in this regard.
Part of my duties includes the provision of administrative support to a team of 37 staff. This team consists of:
• Senior Managers;
• Systems Engineers; and
• Site Supervisors.

I also update access databases and excel spreadsheets on a daily basis in addition to writing various correspondence on behalf of management. My responsibilities include the management of all training documentation and certificates, communicating changes to staff and colleagues, and assisting senior staff with document and drawing formatting.

My other responsibilities include the compilation of a weekly newsletter for staff. I assist by providing information for this newsletter and managing content within an excel spreadsheet of free, family friendly community and social events. In addition, I successfully manage appointments and schedule meetings for the Director and Engineering Managers via access to over 30 staff calendars in MS Outlook.

TIP: Employers are often inundated with applications, so anything that makes reading your application easier or makes it stand out will be to your benefit. Use dot points to summarise detailed information.

2 Excellent word processing skills.
As a professional administrative assistant offering in excess of seven years experience, I am well versed in the provision of superior administrative support to senior managers, including writing and formatting correspondence legal documents and reports. I possess an excellent ability in word processing skills. This also includes, but is not limited to: word processing collation of official company documents such as annual reports, prospectuses, executive summaries and contracts; monitoring existing documents to ensure they remain thorough, accurate and up-to-date; development, formatting and maintenance of databases; formatting and providing content within Power Point presentations; writing letters and memorandums at a senior and general level; data entry within Access databases and Excel spread sheets; electronic mail-outs; preparation of financial cost sheets and efficient and accurate typing skills.

Whilst working within the Properties Branch of the Western Australian Police, I was responsible for the communications strategy regarding the hazardous materials audit. Approximately 300 audits were completed on Western Australian Police properties to assess the presence of hazardous materials and to provide recommendations on the removal of any substances found. My role was to coordinate the database entry of the findings from over 300 Audits. Each individual Audit document ranged from 40 to 400 pages. It took 18 months to enter all of the statistical information into an access database. Once this was completed, I used the data to write a “Condition and Compliance Report” including a two page summary of recommendations. This was then disseminated to Senior Sergeants. In addition to the report, I developed and delivered a number of educational sessions and presentations in Power Point format to Senior Sergeants and other Western Australian Police staff. As a result, action was then taken to address and implement recommendations made in the report.

3 Strong organisational and problem solving skills.
As a competent and experienced Personal, Executive and Administrative Assistant, I pride myself on my strong organisational and problem solving skills.  Some of the basic skills I use each day include the ability to: answer incoming calls and manage multiple calls concurrently; organise functions; coordinate extensive catering for presentations; manage all aspects of events; organise office maintenance; prepare for meetings and completing follow up action; organise material for briefings and presentations; track accounts; cross reference documents for information and accuracy; manage filing systems and implement electronic mail outs.

Example one

In my current role as Receptionist/Administration Assistant at Jamieson Automation Pty Ltd, I provide administrative support to 37 staff comprising of General Managers, senior and general engineering department staff. My organisational ability extends to managing individual electronic calendars for staff and meeting room schedules, answering incoming calls and queries, event management, office management, meeting and greeting Senior Executives from external companies, as well as assisting the Director, Engineering Manager and Marketing Manager with ad hoc duties as required. This requires a high level of personal discipline, time management and ability to prioritise and manage a heavy workload.

Example two
During my previous employment with Western Australian Police, and in particular with the roll out of the findings from the hazardous materials Audit, I was required to exercise superior problem solving skills. Part of the process was to provide presentations to Western Australian Police staff.

1 Ability to work in a team.
My skills include a natural ability to be a resourceful team player who forges good friendships with colleagues and I consider myself to be well respected by those around me. Strengths I possess include building trusting relationships, cultural sensitivity and the ability to build rapport with a diverse workforce particularly in multicultural settings.

In my current role as Receptionist/Administrative Assistant at Jamieson Automation Pty Ltd, I am responsible for the management of over 30 staff electronic calendars. In this regard, I play a pivotal role within the team environment and have established an excellent rapport with the staff.

I am committed to being a positive contributor to this team and my performance appraisals have consistently reflected my success in this regard.

TIP: Try to avoid sounding 'perfect'. Although the employer wants to know you can do the job, try not to reduce your credibility saying things like ‘I always contribute positively to the team’. Rather, say: 'I am committed to being a positive team member and contributor'.

2 Demonstrated understanding of sport and recreation industry trends.

My understanding of sport and recreation trends is that there is a direct relationship to the ever changing nature of our modern society and the Australian community. As the world around us changes, new trends emerge in the way people live, commute, socialise and work. Many of these trends have significant implications for sport and recreation. It can also assist in targeting specific groups and funding of programs to directly impact upon the people belonging to those groups.

As a volunteer member of the WA Institute for Sport, I have been involved in a variety of programs since 2005. This has included various committee meetings and attending presentations from local and interstate guests for the past five years. I have also attended the following Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries workshops:

1 Healthy Active Workplaces (2010)
2 Sports Dimensions (2009)
3 Regional Recreation (2008)
4 Building Stronger Communities (2007)

This voluntary contribution outlines my commitment to the area of sport and recreation as a personal interest and gives evidence of my maintenance of updated knowledge within this field.

Sending a formal application that involves addressing selection criteria

Addressing selection criteria is usually required for more skilled or responsible positions, however this type of application is becoming increasingly common.

If you do not address each criterion individually, your application may not be considered, so it is worthwhile spending some time learning how to respond. You need to show how you meet each criterion individually, giving specific examples of how you've used that skill or quality, when you did this, and what was the result of your actions. This is especially important when the question states the term 'demonstrated'. The STAR (situation, task, action, result) principle is a good format to follow when addressing selection criteria. This involves stating the situation, the task you had to do, the action you took and the result of that action.

If you are addressing selection criteria and do not have the required skills, qualifications or quality, don't leave it blank.

Explain with examples how you have been able to undertake similar challenges in the past and that you can quickly gain the new skill that is required.

Doing it well can take some time and thought. You need to be prepared and not leave it to the last minute. You should always include a covering letter of application along with a resume.

If you need further assistance contact Career Centre.

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