Effective job applications

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    Research the employer

    Viewing the company’s website or social media pages before you apply will give you a better understanding of the business and how the role you’ve applied for fits into the organisation. This will help you shape your cover letter and your application to suit what they are looking for and show the hiring manager that you are interested in their company and the position.

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    Tailor your application to the job you are applying for

    Avoid submitting the same application for each job you apply for.  Make sure you refer to the job title stated in the job ad and ensure your application addresses the skills and experience required by that specific employer.

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    Be honest

    Employers will check the information you provide on your application during the interview or through reference checks so make sure to always be truthful.

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    Don’t write too much

    Keep your application simple, concise and to the point. Use clear headings, short sentences and bullet points. Depending on the job and your skills and experience a one-page cover letter and 2-3 page resume are generally sufficient.

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    Sell yourself

    Your job application is the first opportunity you will have to show the employer why you are the best person for the job. Be positive about yourself and your skills and experience to show them why they should interview you.

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    Read and follow instructions carefully

    Make sure you read the job ad carefully and follow the application instructions. Some employers require applicants to submit a cover letter, resume and a statement responding to selection criteria while others may ask applicants to phone between particular hours. Failure to follow the instructions may mean that you are overlooked for the position.

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    Pay attention to detail

    Double check your spelling, grammar and general presentation of your application before sending it. Even if you have the right skills and experience for a job, if your application contains errors this could be enough to stop you being offered an interview.

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    Follow up your application

    Within a few days of submitting your application follow up with a phone call. Some positions will receive hundreds of applications, and this will make you stand out from the crowd and show the employer how eager you are.

Many job applications will ask you to answer key selection criteria to show that you have the skills, abilities, knowledge, personal qualities and qualifications required for the role.

Here are our tips for addressing selection criteria in your job application:

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    Selection criteria examples
    • Excellent interpersonal skills
    • Good written and verbal communication skills
    • Demonstrable previous experience in customer service
    • Professional phone manner
    • Eager to learn and develop
    • Teamwork skills
    • Time management skills
    • Self-starter with energy, drive and ability to work independently
    • Ability to prioritise work
    • Ability to meet set targets
    • Ability to meet deadlines in a high-pressure environment
    • Ability to manage and be receptive to change
    • Continually striving for personal and organisational development
    • Willing to learn and follow instructions
    • Basic computer skills
    • Microsoft Office skills e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint
    • Pre-apprenticeship
    • Current driver license
    • White card (construction site safety training)
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    Responding to selection criteria
    • Understand each of the selection criteria before you address it
    • Make sure that you address each of the selection criteria
    • Be clear and to the point and keep your response as concise as possible
    • Provide evidence through examples. Be specific by using the S.T.A.R. model:
      • Situation – what was the situation?
      • Task – what were you trying to achieve?
      • Action – what did you do?
      • Results – what was the outcome of your action
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    Example response

    Selection criteria

    Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.


    For the past five years, I have been working as a customer service officer.


    In this role, I need to ensure that a high level of customer service is provided in a timely manner to both external and internal customers.


    To achieve this, I treat each customer as I would like to be treated. I am courteous, patient and understanding and actively listen to my customers’ inquiries. If I am unable to provide an immediate resolution to their issue, I advise customers that I will follow up and will respond within 24 hours, then ensure I do so even if I don’t have an answer yet, to show that I am reliable.


    I continually meet all of my weekly and monthly call targets; I maintain strong relationships with my customers, and this ensures that they are loyal to my company. Additionally, I received positive feedback from my customers on our National Customer Service Feedback Survey.