Article - Unlock Your Career Potential

Essential Advice from a Professional Selection Criteria Writer

Unfortunately, by the time many clients come to me they are frustrated and overwhelmed by the complex government job application and selection writing process. There is no doubt that writing selection criteria for government jobs is stressful, time-consuming and can be frustrating when you don’t hear back from the agency or receive rejection letter after rejection letter.

By following these 5 simple tips you will ensure that you are better prepared when writing your next selection criteria statement:

Tip One: Do your homework!

This means learning more about the agency, state/territory government department or local council and the role before you submit your application. The best way to do this is talk to other people, download relevant and appropriate information online and touch base with the contact officer.

For all government roles, a contact officer is assigned to provide information and answer queries about the vacant role, the agency, their expectations and application requirements. Make sure that you use them!

Unfortunately, not all contact officers are forthcoming with answers and information however you should remain respectful and courteous at all times as many contact officers form part of the selection panel/committee or may even be the selection panel chair.

Tip Two: Get organised

If you intend applying for roles in the public service sector you can be assured that you will be required to address selection criteria as part of your application response. So start collating information and data to support your application and make sure that all of your relevant information is up-to-date. This may mean updating your resume, drafting a cover letter that you can tailor to each role and brainstorming relevant accomplishments and achievements that you can incorporate as part of your selection criteria response.

Tip Three: Update your resume

Most job applications are advertised for a period of 2 weeks. This means that you only have 2 weeks to prepare essential documentation such as resumes, cover letters and selection criteria statements.

On average, full blown selection criteria will take you a MINIMUM of 8 hours to complete. Of course, all applications vary in relation to their requirements however most will expect you to address at least 4 criteria (on average, it’s more like 5-8) with responses usually around the ¾ page to one page mark.

Taking all of this into account – you’ll see how important it is to be prepared and organised!

Remember: your selection criteria response will form the primary means of assessment for any public service role that you are applying for. However, your resume plays an important role in supplementing the information that you provide as part of your selection criteria response and will contextualise your experience and support your government application.


  • Make sure that it’s succinct and focused on your achievements and accomplishments.
  • It should support the information that you provide as part of your selection criteria response, so make sure that it’s easy to read and follow.
  • Stick to the facts and evidence and don’t think that by waffling and using verbose (flowery) language you will be able to fool the selection panel member or hiring manager.
  • Exclude irrelevant information such as personal data, photos and personal objectives. If it does not support your application, leave it out completely.

Tip Four: Focus on your accomplishments

This is the most important thing to remember when writing your selection criteria response. Focusing on your contributions and successes, within the context of the role description, will set you apart from other job-seekers and ensure that you prepare a quality selection criteria application.

Think about the challenges that you have overcome, problems you have resolved, systems/procedures you have implemented, money you have saved and productivity improvements you have made.

Your selection statement, like your resume and cover letter, is a marketing document that is designed to secure you an interview. Employers are only interested in what you have to offer them, so you need to focus on what you have achieved and relate this back to what they are hoping to achieve.

Adopting this approach when preparing your job application will ensure that employers see you as a possible solution to the problems/challenges that they may be facing.

Tip Five: Make sure that your application looks good

Although the content of your application is the most important, don’t underestimate the importance of a visually appealing application. This will enhance readability, reduce reader fatigue and ensure that your application is read! You can achieve this through:

  • Good use of white space. Don’t cram your document – make sure that you use single spacing and leave appropriate gaps between relevant and important information. This will draw attention and focus to important information.
  • Use a simple and conservative font such as Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana or Georgia. This is not the time for fancy fonts and styles.
  • Keep your font size to no smaller than 10 Arial point. You may need to make some exceptions to this rule if you are limited by space but just use your judgment and common sense.
  • Make sure that your name and contact information appears on each page. In the public service sector, it is not uncommon to receive in excess of 60 applications per role, so imagine how easy it would be for your information and application to become confused with another applicant. Naming and numbering your pages and ensuring that your contact information appears on each page will make it easier for the hiring manager to keep your information and get hold of you when they need to arrange an interview!

I hope that this information helps when you are preparing your next selection criteria response but please feel free to contact me if you require further information.

Happy Selection Criteria Writing!




For an obligation free quote and assessment please feel free to contact me on or call me on 0404 427 212

PO Box 7180 Mount Crosby QLD 4306 ABN: 82 720 953 027

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Having held a range of diverse and varied roles as Recruiter, Human Resources and Hiring Manager, and selection panel member, having sat on hundreds of selection panels, it seemed only natural that Nikky transition her passion for assisting job-seekers to establish CareerPro, a leading, professional writing business focused on helping job-seekers to effectively market and "sell" themselves to prospective employers. Through her unique writing services (selection criteria, resumes, curriculum vitae, cover/application letters) she assists clients and job-seekers locally, nationally and internationally to achieve their goals of promotion, interview and job success.




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