Research has shown that in order to produce a high quality application addressing selection criteria (five or six per application) requires up to eight solid nights work, up to two to three hours per night! That’s quite the process and daunting for the majority of individuals. You will be relieved to know that the process of writing and addressing selection criteria is changing – it’s becoming a shorter more refined process. It is not unusual now to be asked to prepare a two page statement or synopsis addressing a few key criteria or points; you can be asked to adhere to a word count for each criterion, for example, maximum word count of 200. The days of addressing selection criteria requiring up to one page in length is dying, although there are still applications requiring this quantity. When addressing selection criteria it is very important to write clearly and logically. There a two key techniques or rules you can follow which will make the selection criteria process simpler for you and help you write concisely.
The most commonly applied method is the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) technique. First, what was the SITUATION? Start by providing an example of a situation where you have demonstrated the particular knowledge, skills or abilities outlined in the particular selection criterion. Second, what was the TASK? Outline the task undertaken and other responsibilities in this particular situation. Third, what ACTION/S did you take to achieve the tasks? What skills, knowledge and abilities did you use? Be specific and provide detail of what you do or did. Finally, what RESULTED from the action/s you undertook? What was the outcome (positive) of doing the above? This can be any positive outcome or result relating to you, the team, the customer, the organisation, and so forth.
The Claims-Evidence-Benefit rule is a variant of the STAR method and can simplify the process to a degree. First, you make the claim, for example: ‘my written communication skills are of a very high level’. Second, you back this up with evidence and state what areas you excel in written communication skills, for example, complex report writing, university assignment writing, and so forth. Finally, state how your written communication skills have been of benefit, the positive outcomes that have ensued as a result, and so forth.
The important thing to remember when addressing selection criteria is to provide specific concrete demonstrable examples that show how you meet the criteria. ‘Philosophical’ statements will get you no where without the backup. If you are going to make these types of statements keep them short (one to two sentences only) and incorporate them either at the beginning or the end of each criterion. Also, once you have written and addressed selection criteria applying the technique or rule outlined above, you will have a solid template from which to work from when addressing future criteria. Sure, selection criteria will differ for other positions, but the process remains the same and you can apply this to each subsequent application that you develop and prepare.
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