This client applied for the role of Business Services Officer in state (NSW) government and was successful in reaching the job interview stage. Eight (8) criteria required addressing; following are excerpts from three (3) of the criteria.

Client engagement and customer service skills and capacity to establish and maintain effective working partnerships with internal and external stakeholders…

I am innovative in networking, building effective working relationships and developing partnerships with internal and external stakeholders. While working for my current employer – the Department of RRR in both the CCC and MMM divisions as a Senior Administrative Support Officer, I have been responsible for initiating client engagement and building strong reciprocal relationships. I proactively use relationship management skills as a risk management tool. When I encounter areas of disagreement and anticipate potential conflict, I facilitate cooperation and mediate between parties while valuing the diversity that different opinions can bring. This approach has resulted in the elimination of many potential challenging issues, and has mitigated small problems before they have become large.

I recently needed to obtain the re-opening of a court result as an incorrect Law Part code which led to the provision of an incorrect sentencing disqualification period for a client. To rectify this issue, I wrote a letter to the Magistrate to have the matter re-opened under S43 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedures) Act 1999 for the primary goal of having the sentencing error corrected. As a result, the matter was reheard and the sentencing error was corrected; and the customer was informed in writing of the new outcome.

Capacity to work as part of a team…

Demonstrating myself to be an active team member, I have been instrumental in contributing to exceptional teams working in fast paced environments. I have worked in various sized teams, ranging in size from 3 up to 16 staff. I have superseded previous performance levels with a track history of cultivating relationships, strong teamwork skills, and removing obstacles to build trust and enhance productivity through various avenues, including improved workplace communication and relationships.

An example of my collaborative teamwork skills was when I was tasked with establishing an office environment from scratch – a temporary mortuary in London after the bombings. I worked closely with two (2) other team members from different companies. I had never met these individuals before and I was unsure of their work style or work ethic. Therefore, I facilitated an initial meeting to discuss and document the most important tasks that needed to be completed within the next 12 hours, and to determine who would do what tasks and how best to tackle each task. We unanimously decided that at the start and end of each day we would sit down and discuss the day’s outcomes and any issues that had arisen. We worked closely on task work and provided hands-on support when any of us felt overwhelmed or challenged. Overall, through this collaborative effort, I established not only strong ongoing working relationships with these two individuals but also enduring friendships.

Effective time management, organisational skills and planning skills and ability to meet deadlines and range of competing priorities…

In my long tenure in previous administrative and business support roles, I routinely worked on up to ten (10) tasks concurrently; tasks were consistently completed on deadline or earlier. To achieve this, I undertook several organisational strategies. Firstly, I prepared detailed plans with corresponding timelines for task completion, ensuring time allocation to allow for contingencies and unforseen emergencies. Secondly, I set up periodic meetings with all stakeholders to discuss task progress and changes. Finally, I used four (4) concurrent methods of monitoring task progress. These included white board for big picture, Gantt chart for milestones, log of all important emails to recall task details and needs quickly, and hardcopy notebook with reminder dates and milestones keyed out of context with the task.

In my previous role, I frequently encountered competing client priorities and managed them accordingly. Many clients had deadlines for the procurement of items and required advice regarding procurement options and legislative requirements within a certain timeframe in order to complete their procurement. I made well-informed decisions as to the priority of clients based on their deadlines and the importance of the procurement. For example, if a client required advice regarding the procurement of an item for an overseas operation, I allocated this task a higher priority than a client requiring advice on the procurement of a new photocopier. Once I have made a determination regarding client priority, I informed them of turnaround time, explained any delays or higher priority issues and then make an appointment with them at a later date to discuss the issues and viable strategies to counter them.

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Annie Cerone