This client applied for an IT-related role within the Queensland Police Service and gained an interview. The applicant pool totaled 82 and only 6 were chosen for interviews. The written component required the addressing of four criteria in two pages. Following are excerpts from three of the criteria.

Sound analytical and problem resolution skills…

I have strong skills in analysing problems and developing effective solutions. I take a systematic approach to problem solving. My analysis and problem solving approach includes identifying and defining the problem, conducting an investigation, consulting or requesting advice if necessary, and formulating a solution based on evidence. A recent example that demonstrates my proficiency in analysing and problem solving was when I was using my laptop to install a piece of software. On my first attempt at installing the software, the installation process failed, bringing up an error message. I used a process of elimination and the first step I took was to uninstall and then reinstall the program again in order to determine if it was a problematic facet of the installation process. When this did not produce any results, I then took the next step in recording the error code and used an online search engine (Google) to find and research the problem. I also used online forums dedicated to discussions on technical-related problems to assist me with finding a resolution. Through the forums, I was redirected to the software producer’s website. From this website I was then able to find and download a patch; I installed the patch which fully rectified the installation error and I was able to successfully use the software.

Sound prioritisation, time management and organisational skills…

Up until 2010, I utilised well developed prioritisation, time management and organisational skills in order to effectively juggle full-time tertiary studies, a part-time employment schedule, family commitments and extra-curricular activities. The key to being well organised is to set in place a plan and to remain flexible in re-prioritising as needed. In order to plan my university schedule (to complete assessment by due dates and to study for examinations), I kept track of my tasks and priorities by using a diary and task sheet where I assigned numbered priorities to my tasks structured on due dates. The most challenging time whilst undertaking studies was during weeks 12 and 13 of any given semester; it was typical for up to five pieces of assessment to be due for completion and submission. During these weeks and several preceding, I allocated additional time over the weekends to review and complete assessments. I utilised a structured approach when organising the undertaking of assessment pieces: I electronically stored between 15-30 drafts for each assessment; and created electronic files/folders containing pertinent information such as reference listings, outlines of actual pieces of assessment, and draft guides based on advice provided by tutors. Essentially, I structured everything required to undertake a piece of assessment before I began. This provided me with a skeleton structure to use a template. My time management skills were utilised when certain parts of an assessment piece would take more time than usual to complete; I prioritised these parts based on predicted time frames to complete the tasks. I also developed an invaluable organisational tool by downloading reference listings, and allocating fragments of references into the assessment piece with allocated page numbers; this assisted in cross referencing, and thus reduced time wastage. I firmly believe the utilisation of these skills played a big part in achieving a very high grade point average of 6.71 (7 is the highest ranking attainable) in my final year (2010) of studies.

Ability to work independently and collaboratively within a team…

An example that demonstrates my ability to work collaboratively within a team was whilst undertaking tertiary studies. One particular course (namely, Information Management and Analysis) involved working regularly with other students on team-based activities. One particular piece of assessment involved working in a team to produce an investigational chart detailing a real-life criminal scenario (the Pong Su incident). I worked with a small team (three colleagues in total) throughout the entire process of undertaking the assessment. Unfortunately, only one computer was available on campus to generate and complete the necessary components of the assessment; therefore, it was mandatory that we all congregated and worked together at the same time. We rotated and took turns in completing sets of tasks and we all spent the same amount of time to check over work. We assisted each other with logic and fact checking; in structuring the investigational time line; and in proof reading to ensure documentation was error free with regard to spelling, grammar, punctuation and typographical errors. Within the team, I initiated and took responsibility for the process of asking advice and assistance from the tutor and I would then relay this information to the other team members. I also initiated discussions with other teams involved in this project to ensure we were on track and to gather further suggestions and feedback to incorporate into the assessment. As a result, we worked well together to effectively complete the assessment within the required deadline.

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Annie Cerone