Applying For A Job
Careers Passport Workshop 4 Applying For A Job 1
OVERVIEW OF THE CAREER PASSPORT PROGRAM
Career management skills are an essential tool for the successful navigation of repeated
career transition processes that individuals will engage in during their adult life.
In order to enable UNE students to develop the competencies required to develop these
skills, the UNE Careers Service has developed the Career Education Passport. This
series of interactive workshops are designed to be undertaken in sequence, as each
succeeding workshop assumes certain knowledge and competencies.
Topic Duration Workshop Titles
Career self- 3x3 hr workshops 1. Self-reflection
management 2. Surveying the work environment
Job seeking skills 2x2 hr workshops 1. Resume writing & applying for jobs
2. Interviews & assessment centres
Making the transition Various 1. Preparation for Virtual Careers Fair
from study to 2. Internships
workplace 3. WorkReady
4. Work Experience
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In this workshop we will be developing the skills required to market yourself
effectively to potential employers through well presented and targeted written
After completing this workshop you should
• have the skills needed to successfully engage in successive career
transitions throughout your working life
• have an increased self awareness
• be able to confidently engage in the job search process
• be able to identify the skills you have to offer an employer, and
articulate these clearly and effectively in the application
• be more mindful of the importance of developing Graduate Attributes
and generic employability skills, identified by DEETYA as
communication, teamwork, problem-solving, initiative and enterprise,
planning and organising, self-management, learning and technology
This course will contribute to the development of the following Graduate
Attributes: communication skills, information literacy, lifelong learning,
problem solving, and teamwork.
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1. WHERE DO I FIND A JOB?
• Targeted graduate recruitment
• Advertised positions – print media and internet
• Non-advertised positions
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2. THE APPLICATION ‘PACKAGE’
• Covering letter + resume + selection criteria (if required) + supporting
documentation (if required)
3. WHAT IS A RESUME OR CURRICULUM VITAE?
• A resume is primarily a marketing tool - it is the promotional document which
allows you to match your skills and experiences to the needs of an employer.
Like any marketing document it needs to sell the benefits of you as the
'product'. The aim of the resume is to get you to the interview stage where
you can further 'sell' your skills and abilities.
• Careful attention to the format as well as the content of your resume will
significantly enhance your chances of gaining an interview.
"A good CV will get you to first base but it is not until you actually speak to someone
or interview them face to face that the real selection process begins"
John Montague - Belby Executive Search Sydney, Sydney Morning Herald interview
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4. PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR RESUME
• The resume format that we recommend is the skills-based, or functional
style. Research has shown that this style of presentation tends to be more
effective in getting across to potential employers ‘what I can offer your
organisation.’ It is an especially effective format for new graduates who do not
have extensive work experience in their chosen field, or people who are
making a significant change in career direction.
• Producing a document tailored to each application
• Set up 2 documents on your computer – one will contain a list of your Key
Skills with supporting examples, the other will be the template for your
• Before you start work on writing your resume, make a list of all the activities
you have been involved in over the past few years. Include paid work,
volunteer work, academic studies, cultural and sporting activities etc. From
this list, identify the skills that you have developed through participating in
these various activities. This is where it is helpful to work with a friend – often
an outsider can identify a talent that you possess, but which you take for
• Group together similar skills which you may have developed across a range
of activities eg ‘teamwork’ may have been developed in your sporting
activities, community service and part-time job in a retail outlet.
• You will end up with quite an extensive list of ‘transferable skills.’ For each
skill, briefly describe how, and in what context, you have demonstrated that
• This is now your ‘master list’ of skills that you can present to a potential
employer. Each time you prepare your resume to submit to a potential
employer, you will need to select (as a guide) the 5 – 7 most applicable skills
and include them in your resume.
• This SKILLS section in your resume is really the core of the document.
Coming after your personal details and qualifications, it presents in a clear
and concise manner, just what it is you have to offer. It should run to
approximately a page and a half to two pages.
• REMEMBER: Check to ensure that the skills you have to offer are a good
match for the skills that are required for the job you are applying for. Use
language that reflects the language of the employer eg if they refer to
‘networking skills’, change your skill title of ‘liaison skills’ to ‘networking’, if
they refer to ‘client contact’ change your ‘customer service skills’ to ‘client
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MY PERSONAL LIST OF TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
SUPPORTED BY EXAMPLES
HINT: Using the STAR approach to structuring a narrative to clearly
and concisely illustrate each transferable skill.
S: Situation - describe the situation
T: Task or problem - what dilemma or problem did you face?
A: Action - what action did you take?
R: Result - what was the result of your action?
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(My Transferable Skills List page 2)
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YOUR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
1. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
• Caring and understanding
• Interacting effectively with others
• Teaching, coaching, training
• Expressing ideas and feelings openly
• Working effectively under pressure
• Speaking in public
• Leading groups
• Working co-operatively
• Conveying information through a variety of channels
2. Organisational, Management & Administrative Skills
• Analysing tasks
• Identifying people and resources useful for task completion or problem solving
• Motivating and leading people
• Time management
• Decision making
• Setting priorities
• Assessing needs
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3. Research, Investigation & Critical Thinking Skills
• Defining the problem
• Researching data
• Creating innovative solutions to complex problems
• Analysing relationships between events and ideas
• Managing change
• Identifying critical issues for decision making
• Designing an experiment, plan or model for problem solving
• Using a variety of sources for information
• Being observant
• Checking with attention to detail
• Thinking laterally
• Using deductive and analytical reasoning
4. Information Management Skills
• Categorising and storing information
• Retrieving information
• Evaluating data
• Manual calculation
• Compiling and ranking information
• Organising information effectively
5. Technical/Scientific Skills
• Understanding scientific and technological concepts
• Manipulating data, objects, tools, machines etc
• Following instructions
• Give attention to detail
• Deducing how things work from observation and manuals
• Adapting to new machinery
• Learning new skills
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THE RESUME TEMPLATE
CAREER OBJECTIVE (Optional)
This can consist of one or two sentences stating your career objectives. If you include
this section, make sure that your personal career objectives are in line with the
objectives of the organisation to which you are applying.
Dates – Degree - Institution
Descriptor and/or Majors (or what differentiates or personalises your studies)
Any awards, major achievements
(Only list those that are relevant)
This is the central section of your resume. Name the skill, describe how was it
developed how have you demonstrated it. Use a separate paragraph for each key
skill, with a limit of 5-7 skills.
Detail relevant professional experience. Identify the ‘transferable’ nature or value of
Reverse chronological order. This section can include both paid and unpaid work
experience. If you have a number of short term jobs in similar industries (eg
hospitality, labouring etc) you can group them together to illustrate particular skills
or qualities. What is the transferable nature of these experiences? ie what is the value
to the prospective employer. What does each experience demonstrate about you?
Don’t just list – give a descriptor of how well or in what capacity you are involved in
this activity. Focus on those activities and interests that relate to the job you are
Contact details – telephone, fax, and email if available
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Map out a rough draft your own resume on the following 2 pages, using 5 or 6
of the key skills that you have already listed:
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5. ADDRESSING SELECTION CRITERIA
What are selection criteria and why are they used?
• Selection criteria describe the qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities
and experience a person requires in order to do a job effectively. They
are divided into essential and desirable criteria.
• You must meet the essential criteria to be considered for a position
because without having the relevant qualifications, knowledge, skills or
experience you would not be able to do the job. If you do not meet the
essential criteria, you will not be shortlisted for interview.
• It is not necessary for you to have the qualifications, knowledge, skills and
experience described by the desirable criteria, but your chances of being
shortlisted are better if you do. Where there are several applicants who meet
the essential criteria, the selection panel will shortlist on the basis of the
Examples of selection criteria
Apart from qualifications and experience that may be specific to a particular job, there
are several selection criteria that are common to many positions. These include:
• ability to maintain confidentiality
• ability to work as part of a team
• ability to work independently
• ability to work under pressure
• attention to detail
• flexible and adaptable approach to work
• knowledge of XXXX organisation, policy and procedures
• organisational/planning skills
• problem-solving ability
• supervisory skills
• verbal communication/interpersonal skills
• written communication skills.
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Choose 3 examples from those listed on the previous page, and draft out a response
that you might give:
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Why selection criteria must be addressed
• For most positions, the selection panel is required to assess each applicant in
terms of how well they meet the selection criteria.
• However, it is not up to the selection panel, who may have 100 applications to
assess, to wade through your résumé and covering letter trying to find the
relevant information about you that relates to each criterion.
• It is up to you to summarise the relevant information about yourself and to
present it in a form which is easily accessible to the panel.
• This will assist the panel to rate your application against the selection criteria
and against other applicants, and to decide who to shortlist for interview.
Many good applicants are overlooked because they don't clearly address the
selection criteria and assume that the panel will be able to read between the
lines in their résumé.
Format and Layout
There are a number of things you can do to make your selection criteria statement
effective and easy for the selection panel to read.
• Make it a separate attachment from your résumé and covering letter.
• Give the document a heading and include the following details:
• title, e.g. 'Statement Addressing Selection Criteria'
• Name of the position
• Position reference number (e.g. 18/96)
• Address each criterion separately:
• Give each a title, using exactly the same wording as appears on the selection
criteria form, e.g. 'Excellent verbal communication skills'
• List each criterion in the same order as the selection criteria form
• Indicate whether the criterion is essential or desirable
• Under each heading write one or two short paragraphs explaining how you
meet that particular criterion.
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Your statement addressing the selection criteria needs to demonstrate how your
previous experience, skills, education and training have equipped you to meet the
requirements of the position.
Below are some suggestions for what to include in the statement you write for each
• Highlight your relevant skills and experience by describing your major
responsibilities in current or previous employment (this may include relevant
non-paid work). Where possible, mention the same kinds of tasks and
responsibilities as are listed in the advertised duty statement.
• Indicate the extent of your experience in relation to a particular criterion, e.g.
number of years' experience, number of staff supervised, etc. For example:
I have over four years' experience using Microsoft Word 5.1 on a daily basis. I
am able to use advanced features of the program, such as ....'
'In my casual employment I am responsible for supervising the day-to-day
work of five staff ....'
• This is very useful if you want to emphasize that you have lots of experience.
If your experience is limited, you may prefer to be vague about how much you
• Briefly give details of one or two specific things you've done that are good
examples of your ability to meet the criterion. For example:
'I was responsible for organising a large seminar attended by 100 staff. This
'My ability to work well in a team was demonstrated when ....'
• Where possible, indicate how successfully you meet the criterion. You could
do this by referring to feedback you've received from others, or things you've
set up that are still being used. For example:
'A report I wrote about .... was well received by the .... Committee, and
circulated as a discussion paper.'
'The accounting spreadsheet system I introduced two years ago is working
effectively and staff say that they find it easy to use.'
• Mention any relevant qualifications and training you have, particularly if your
experience is limited. These might include:
• details of any relevant training courses you've attended, such as 'Effective
Communication at Work', or 'Introduction to Microsoft Excel'
• subjects studied as part of award courses, such as bookkeeping, office
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6. WRITING A COVERING LETTER
A Covering Letter (Application Letter) provides a potential employer with a first
impression of you therefore it should be an impressive introduction.
Since employers receive hundreds of applications, your letter aims to increase your
chances of being short-listed for interview. A covering letter should accompany all
resumes, except when personally handing your resume over at a face-to-face
There are two types of application letters:
One is written in response to an advertised position (this can also be an
‘expression of interest)
The other is a canvassing letter, written to a company/employer where there is no
advertised position. It is estimated that only 30% of al job vacancies are
advertised, so this type of cover letter can be an effective marketing tool.
The aim of your application letter is to convince the employer that you are
worth talking to.
Begin with a strong positive statement about yourself and how you qualify for the
If you have been referred by a friend or colleague, say so early in the letter.
State why you want to work for the organisation.
As with your resume, the covering letter should be original, prepared anew for
each job application.
Your letter should be typed (unless handwritten is specified) on A4 good quality
paper. Personalised stationery is inappropriate for business correspondence.
Be clear, concise and specific. The letter is usually a single page in length,
consisting of 4 to 5 paragraphs. It may not be read if it's too long.
Edit carefully; grammar, punctuation and spelling must be perfect.
End your letter by asking for an interview.
Neatness, balance, use of space, all these will have something to say about your
personal standards and your mental organisation. The letter should look
If you do not know the name of the person to send the letter to, but you have their
title, try ringing the organisation to ask for their name. Starting the letter with
"Dear Ms Smith" is more friendly that "Dear Sir/Madam"
(Note: if you start with "Dear Ms Smith", it is usual to finish with "Yours sincerely";
if you start with "Dear Sir/Madam" you should finish with "Yours faithfully").
Keep a copy of every letter you write. You will need to re-read it before you go for
Use an A4 envelope so your application can be inserted without folding. Do not
include more documentation than is requested. Do not use folders, binders or
other covers. A secure staple in the top left-hand corner is best.
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SAMPLE FORMAT FOR A COVERING LETTER
Name of Contact
(If replying to an advertisement) - state the position you are applying for and position
number and where you found out about it.
(If cold canvassing) - state the reason for writing and describe the type of work you
State why you are interested in working for the organisation. This sentence should
combine your knowledge of the organisation with your experience and skills, your
goals for the future or your professional philosophy.
Tell the reader of your academic and/or professional background and identify the
kind of work you are looking for. Be specific, indicate if you are willing to re-locate or
if you are seeking work in a particular location.
Create desire by relating yourself to the employer in terms of the contribution you can
make to their organisation. Convince the employer that you are a good candidate for
the job. Choose your main selling points relevant to the Selection Criteria or
advertised job description or general skills if you have no leads about what is
required for the position. For each skill, state
• what the skill is
• how you have demonstrated it and
• how it would be useful to the organisation
Ask for action. State when you are available for interview and how you can be
Enclosures: (eg. resume)
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7. ON-LINE APPLICATIONS
• Increasing use of on-line application forms
• Advantages for recruiters
• Typical questions
• Pitfalls to avoid
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