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Selection criteria

Selection criteria are the specific skills, knowledge and experience needed to undertake the duties of a job successfully. Job applicants are assessed how they fit against the selection criteria to determine their suitability.


Does every job have selection criteria?

Every job has selection criteria. Some jobs identify them more explicitly than others. Employers may want you to address them in one of the following ways:

  1. A separate document or 'Statements addressing the selection criteria' is usually required for jobs in fields related to the Public Service, such as education, health or government. This is in addition to your resume and cover letter.
  2. Where a separate document is not required, your cover letter and resume should be tailored to focus on the selection criteria.

Types of selection criteria

Selection criteria are often categorised as 'essential' or desirable'.

  • Essential criteria are required in order to be short-listed for an interview.
  • Desirable criteria are valued by the employer. While not essential, your chances of being short-listed would be greatly enhanced if you possess them.

Writing selection criteria

Your document needs to clearly demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the position.

  • Read the wording of each selection criteria carefully. You need to respond to all of it. You might need to break it into sub-sections
  • Under each heading brainstorm and write down all examples that show how you meet the criterion
  • Use the STAR technique when formulating your responses
  • Include all relevant work and non-work activities
  • Prioritise your examples, citing the most important ones first
  • You can refer to the Australian Public Service Commission's publication 'Cracking the code' for advice on writing selection criteria for the Australian Public Service

When you are satisfied that you have good examples to address each criterion, write a final draft.

Address all listed criteria

Do not skip any! If you come across one you cannot satisfy:

  • Write about your understanding of the criterion, such as the theory or knowledge of best practice in the area, or your proven ability to acquire similar skills or knowledge.
  • Convince the employer that you possess the potential to satisfy it at a later date. Outline the steps you would take.

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