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Breaking it down

September 16, 2019 by Susan Surgener

Breaking it down

You’re at the graduate stage of your job hunt; seeking out anything that a) looks like it’s right up your street, and b) looks like you’d be in with a good chance. So, how do you actually know you could be in with that chance?

The guess is, it’s because you not only like the look of the company and the job, but your skills and experience actually match the job.

If your skills don’t come close to matching the job, it could be a case of wishful thinking.

Being Strong on Paper
It’s still the case in Australia, and most other countries, that the first thing you generally need to do to apply for a job is a written application. Even if you have a contact who has put you in touch with someone about a position and recommended you – chances are, you’ll still have to provide electronic docs.

You know the docs – resume, cover letter plus either a separate address to the selection criteria or demonstration that you meet the requirements of the job incorporated succinctly into a letter. How would you know which to choose?

Analyse the advert
Read the job advertisement for any hints on how the employer wants you to apply. For example, if they ask for a resume and a one-page letter demonstrating your fit for the role, then that’s what you’re going to give them.

They might state they only want a resume and no letter or any other doc. By this, it’s guaranteed that what they mean is they want a targeted resume. One that specifically matches the skills, experience, attributes and education level required to do the job. In other words, addressing the selection criteria!

The Hard Part
The difficulty for most applicants is unpacking their strengths and providing evidence of how they actually do things. How do you get to the point of being able to articulate your skills, education, experience and attributes suitable for the actual job? You need to start thinking about a few key things:

  1. What makes you tick?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. How do you know i.e. can you prove it by giving examples?

Addressing Selection Criteria
Everybody groans at the thought of having to sit down for hours to address selection criteria connected to a job. There is, however, a massive advantage in tackling this exercise in perceived torture!

Really thinking about how you actually work well as part of a team, creatively solve problems, come up with innovative solutions and generally communicate really well with others, can see you get the chance to talk about all of this in person at an interview. And, talk about it well – it can get you the job!

For more help in unpacking your skills and strengths and getting this down on your job application docs, we’re running a workshop for Curtin students on Selection Criteria as well as a Power Hour – Job Applications this week. We also have loads of really good resources on this subject, which you can find on UniHub.

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