Right now, you’re probably proud of that resume you have spent countless sleeping nights on and are ready to apply for your dream job. Then, you read this strange job search requirement, “submit your resume and a cover letter that address the selection criteria on the position description.” Wait! What?
Are you asking yourself, “what in the world are Key Selection Criteria?” Have you been storming the internet in order to find 5-minute hacks on how to write one before the deadline? Thinking of just passing this once in a lifetime opportunity because you are clueless on how to address the Key Selection Criteria effectively?
Stop right there!
Addressing selection criteria can seem frightening, but it can be easy to highlight your skills and experience with the right approach. In this blog post, career change experts from The Perfect Resume will help you understand what Key Selection Criteria are, provide tips on how to address key selection criteria effectively, and even give FREE examples from which you can gain insight. Read on for more information and craft the perfect responses for your dream job!
Professional Resume Writers Say About Selection Criteria and Why YOU need Interview-Ready Responses!
A key selection criterion is a critical factor that an employer will use to shortlist applicants for a job. Unlike a cover letter, a selection criteria response is a direct, concise, and focused explanation to a situational question, for example, ‘Demonstrate a time when you had to meet a tight deadlines’ or ‘Explain a situation when you had to be flexible,’
The selection criteria response is an important part of your application that will go towards demonstrating how well suited you are for the job. It should highlight examples from past experiences where you have met certain demands, which can include relevant skills, knowledge, and competencies. By answering this question, you are ensuring that nothing is left to chance in your job application.
Sometimes, it can feel like you’re just filling out a form and not telling your story. The problem for employers is that there are many stories in your resume, but they only want one of them told per the selection criteria statement when they read your response. They also don’t want to read a generic resume builder type application. So, if you miss the mark, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 years’ experience as an accountant or 20 years’ experience working in an entry-level position – you’ll look exactly the same on paper for not effectively exemplifying how YOU could solve your next potential employer’s problems
The Perfect Resume Can Show You the Right way to Respond to a Selection Criteria
When addressing the selection criteria, there are 3 core aspects to keep in mind in order to make sure your response comes across as clear and concise.
- Firstly, put yourself into the shoes of the recruiter or employer - What are they looking for in the candidate? What are they trying to find out?
- Secondly, try to thoroughly understand what is required of you. You MUST include all necessary information and do not omit any key detail.
- Thirdly, ensure that your response is tailored specifically to the role, especially that you have undertaken research into the role’s requirements.
Responding to selection criteria is extremely time-consuming, even for resume writing experts such as those on The Perfect Resume team. They are designed like this to reduce the number of candidates the employer needs to review, before they commence to interview. They also make sure the candidate has the correct capabilities in the skills section that the employer needs.
It is important that you follow these steps to ensure that your response comes across as concise, relevant, and ultimately successful in helping you secure your new job title.
Our band of career experts have put together a list of 7 things that are essential for addressing selection criteria successfully:
1. Do not miss out on any essential details.
Selection criteria can vary from employer to employer, so it’s important to read through the job ad thoroughly and understand what is required before you start writing your application. Follow the instructions: make sure you read and understand the selection criteria before starting to write your response.
2. Be Specific when letting the employer know your experience.
When you begin to write your selection criteria, start by answering each selection criteria question separately rather than lumping them together – it’s easier for employers to read. The way you structure your answers in paragraphs is vital in demonstrating the skills factors. Be specific in your examples. Make sure you use an appropriate level of detail when referring to your experiences, both in volume and depth of detail. If you want the employer to get a picture of what happened, give them all the facts they need to understand it clearly. Do not be afraid of referring to previous roles. Employers want someone who can hit the ground running. Therefore, make sure that if you have experience in a similar role and the required qualifications and skills for the position, you want your next employer to know.
3. Be clear and concise; use short, easy-to-read sentences that get straight to the point.
There is no need for flowery language or using big words. Instead, structure your answer like a story. All the skills factors are important, but employers don’t want to hear them in isolation; they want to know how you use them in practical situations – what you actually did when faced with certain problem-solving scenarios. Lastly, a good story needs a powerful ending, so focus on your achievements in the last statement of each criteria response.
4. Address all of the points raised in the selection criteria: don’t miss any out!
Criteria requests can be from 1-2 targeted questions to 8+ specific statements, demanding each to have its own evidence to back up your claim that you can do the responsibilities in the job description. The best way to address a selection criteria response is to summarise the points in question then provide evidence that backs up each point. If you’re struggling, ask yourself: what aspect of this statement presents an opportunity for me to show I have the necessary skills? Think about ways you’ve overcome challenges or solved problems in the past – no matter how small – and use these stories as evidence.
5. This is an applicant tracking systems formula for addressing criteria responses:
Example Statement + Example Situation + How you overcame the challenge/problem = Criteria Response Evidence
For example: Demonstrate that you have strong communication skills.
(Situation) While working at my previous place of employment, I helped to plan our company’s first-ever staff social event. (How you overcame the challenge/problem) I lead a team of three people who didn’t know each other, so there was a lot of communication involved in organising a day to suit everyone’s needs. (The actions - what you actually did to overcome the challenge/problem) During the event, the schedule of activities went missing. I had a group of staff members in my office waiting for activities to start and I had only a few minutes before the event was due to begin. Without panicking, I improvised a revised schedule on a whiteboard in our staffroom. Using my strong communication skills, I quickly grouped the three staff members who didn’t know each other together and led a quick brainstorming session. Each member was offered the opportunity to explain their background and offer an idea to wow the social member attendees for the day. Excitedly, they all gave their insights and instantly bonded for the rest of the shift. (Result) In the end, our social day was a huge success, and everyone went home feeling relaxed and ready for another week of work.
6. The job market is hot! So, use a professional resume template and excellent resume examples to back up your claims
A professional resume template will help to strengthen your argument and show that you have what it takes to do the particular job. Numbers and statistics can help add credibility to a document by providing concrete evidence to support a claim. When used effectively, they can help back up an argument with factual information. In addition, they can help to persuade your readers – and make them say, “this is the one!” The best way to use numbers in a selection criteria response is to back up general claims with specific examples. For example, rather than writing, “I am reliable,” you could write, “In the past year, I have worked consistently 5 days per week and have had ZERO unaccounted days off or arrived late on any occasions.” Who would you employ if you could choose between the “I am reliable” guy or someone who has had ZERO unaccounted days off?
Here is another FREE selection criteria response example:
I had been working as a customer service representative for a telecommunications company for 2 years. During the day, I would answer 30-50 customer enquiries per day, depending on the complexity of the customer’s needs. On one particular day, it was rather busy, and I received a call from a customer who was extremely angry. The customer had been trying to call the company for two days and was unable to get through, so she decided she was going to her business elsewhere. Even though I was busy, I knew this customer had called for a reason, other than to tell us that she had chosen another provider, so I decided to take some time to listen to her needs. She told me that her primary line (which she would normally use to call us on) had disconnected after a power outage and she couldn’t turn it back on. She felt isolated and upset not being able to communicate with her family throughout the evening. I assured her that we would investigate this issue immediately and asked if there were any other questions or concerns, she had. After a quick investigation, I discovered that the primary line had not disconnected but there was an outstanding payment on her account which had placed a suspension on the account (which meant the power outage was really not the cause of the problem). I checked the accounts and since this customer had received five years of excellent service from our company, I let her know that I would waive the outstanding charges. She was ever so grateful and let me know that she has now decided to remain with the company.
7. Triple-check your cover letter to catch spelling and grammar mistakes.
Nothing looks worse than a sloppy job application! Proofreading is so important for job seekers because it is the first impression that you make on a potential employer. If there are spelling and grammar mistakes in your application, it signals to the employer that you are not detail-oriented and that you may not be taking the job application seriously. It also shows that you may not be capable of doing the specific job if you cannot even take the time to proofread your application. By proofreading your job application, you can ensure that your application looks polished and professional.
How do I know if I'm answering the selection criteria questions correctly?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to answer selection criteria questions correctly depends on the specific question being asked and the job you are applying for. However, there are a few general tips that can help you to answer selection criteria questions effectively:
- Read the question carefully and make sure you understand what is being asked of you
- Outline how your skills, experience and qualifications match up with what is being asked for in the question
- Use specific examples to back up your claims and show that you have what it takes to do the job
- Check for spelling and grammar mistakes before submitting your application
How can I make sure my answers stand out from other job applicants?
There are a few ways to make sure your answers stand out from other candidates. Firstly, use specific examples to back up your claims and show that you have what it takes to do the job. Secondly, tailor your responses to match the particular selection criteria questions being asked and lastly, stay positive and upbeat, even if you have faced some complex challenges in the past.
What is the best way to showcase my skills and experience?
Show the employer what you can do, rather than telling them, and that means writing 2 - 3-page cover letters and selection criteria that detail your essential skills, accomplishments, and qualifications. This will complement your best resume template and cover letter, which will also be a detailed list of your work experiences and how they relate to the job for which you are applying.
Can I use resume samples from previous jobs in my answers?
Yes, you can use examples from previous jobs in your answers, as long as they are relevant to the question being asked. However, be sure to focus on the skills and experience you have that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. As well, make sure that your examples are well-written and error-free.
How to stand out from the crowd with your response to selection criteria?
Applying for jobs can be really tough, especially when you don’t know how to answer the selection criteria questions. We know how frustrating it can be when you spend hours on your resume summary and general cover letter only to have them rejected because you didn’t answer the selection criteria questions correctly. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! If you would like to learn how to answer selection criteria questions effectively, we will help proofread your work so that your application stands out from the crowd. Alternatively, if you don’t have the time to invest in your application, we can formulate responses on your behalf. Your professional writer will make sure that you’ll impress potential employers with your responses!
Why do most candidates get selection criteria wrong, and how to fix it?
Responding to selection criteria is a highly creative exercise. Some people really struggle to write about themselves in such an optimistic light, so Jade, one of our successful clients, was really excited that her dream job was being advertised. She knew she needed our help. She had read the selection criteria questions, and after spending a lot of time trying to come up with a response, she disappointedly thought she didn’t have the skills or experience they were looking for. So, when Jade reached out to The Perfect Resume writers, asking us to have a look and see whether she was qualified for the position, she was delighted to hear us say YES!
We helped Jade position her skills and experiences in an achievement-oriented way, highlighted her transferable skills and placed her soft skills, such as motivation and can-do attitude, throughout the application. After the masterpiece was created and she applied for the job, she was much more hopeful. We even provided resume resources to ensure she was armed with the knowledge of how she could tailor her resume for future applications. One week later, she received a call from the employer to come down for a job interview. “OMG!!!!! I have an interview!!! It’s really happening! Thank you sooooooooo much!”
We may have received a silent email from Jade, but I’m sure she heard all the office cheer back very loudly when we opened it! After the interview, we received another saying many employers commended her for writing such a compelling resume! We love hearing all our clients are securing interviews for the jobs of their dreams.
How to show that you're the perfect candidate for the job even if you don't meet all the requirements?
Transferable skills on resumes showcase skills that can be used in a number of different settings. No two resumes are the same; therefore, you will have skills that you have acquired through your work experiences, education, or other activities that other people don’t have. For example, a great resume will show examples of transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, organisation, leadership, and teamwork.
When you are applying for a job, it is essential to highlight the transferable skills you have relevant to the position. You can do this by including examples of times when you have used these skills in past jobs or activities. For example, if you are applying for a job as a project manager and you have experience leading teams on previous projects, you can highlight this experience in your good resume, cover letter and selection criteria responses.
How to fast-track the time between looking for jobs and securing an interview?
You want to apply for jobs, but you don’t know how to answer the selection criteria questions, AND that is OK because applying for jobs can be really tough, especially when you don’t understand what is expected of you. We know how frustrating it can be when you spend hours on your resume and cover letter only to have them rejected because you didn’t answer the selection criteria questions correctly. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! If you would like us to answer the difficult questions or if you just need a professional writer who will make sure that your application stands out from the crowd, then we are here for you!
Would you like some career advice to...
- Answer all the selection criteria questions in a way that will impress employers?
- Stand out from the crowd and show why you're perfect for the job?
- Get your dream job with our help?
Many things can go wrong when you’re trying to get a job. Even the most qualified candidate has to worry about answering selection criteria questions correctly, highlighting transferable skills and soft skills in their premium resume templates, cover letter or application, and overcoming any objections an employer might have for not meeting all requirements. Fortunately, career experts are available to help with free resume writing resources to complement your selection criteria and cover letters! We’ll make sure your application stands out from the crowd so employers will be impressed with your qualifications.
Alternatively, if you are not sure which job you should apply for, you may benefit from a career counselling session with one of our coaches. They can look at your career history, have a chat about what motivates you and help give you direction on which jobs would best suit your needs.
Click here to contact a professional resume writer for a free 15-minute consultation, or send your resume to email@example.com for a free resume review.
Recommended Reading Resources and Career Blog Post:
- Why calling the recruiter before you apply for a job helps you land an interview?
- Here’s everything candidates need to know about an ATS
- Job Search Tips: How long do you wait for an interview call?
- Address selection criteria examples
- Create a winning resume format 2022
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- Free resume review
- Have a look at our resume writing packages available for employees by clicking here.