Address what employers are looking for

Selection criteria are statements that describe the personal qualities, qualifications, skills, knowledge, abilities and experience that are required for a job.

In responding to selection criteria, you need to describe how you meet the requirements of the job and provide examples because:

  • An employer would like a summary of how you meet their desirable and essential skills without having to tease this out of your resume/CV.
  • Often a separate statement/document is required to formally and clearly address each of the criteria/how you meet each of the criteria that they are looking for.

What to do

In your CV

  • Identify criteria and make each one a separate heading.
  • Make sure you addressing each one (roughly a paragraph to half a page long).
  • Draw on a range of evidence from o University and other formal education, employment experience and extra-curricular activities.

In your statement/document

Structure your responses in the following way:

  1. Introduction (one sentence): Answer the question; introduce the example.
  2. Body: Support your answer by providing a relevant example. Demonstrate research of the company and role.
    Use the STAR approach:
    • Situation: Brief outline of the situation or setting. Who was involved? What was your role?
    • Task: What did you do? What happened next?
    • Action or Approach: How did you do it?
    • Result: What was the outcome? What was the feedback you received?

Also, make sure to apply the following tips when drafting your responses:

  • Stick to the word limit.
  • Answer the question.
  • Proofread, check grammar, and spelling.
  • Use examples from within the last two years, such as your employment, education and/or extra-curricular activities.
  • Use examples that have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • Focus on your own involvement (use “I” not “We”).
  • Link your transferable skills to the job and company.
  • Keep your responses for future reference, as many jobs have similar selection criteria.
  • Ask more information from employers about what they are looking for in the selection criteria, length of response and format.
  • Have a friend read over it before submitting, or log onto CareerWise on iLearn for further assistance with application writing.

Types of selection criteria

Communication skills (oral and written)

This has to do with your ability to:

  • express yourself clearly and logically both orally and in writing
  • communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals.

Selectors will assess your written communication skills by the clarity and relevance of your response to the selection criteria.

When supporting these skills, you should draw on:

  • Oral: public speaking, debating, tutorial discussions, presentations, conferences, explain solutions to convince audiences, facilitate discussion, customer service
  • Written: research papers, written reports, essays, assignments, story writing, writing for specific purposes, published papers or articles

Teamwork skills

Your teamwork skills are related to your ability to:

  • contribute effectively to a work team to achieve team goals
  • share information and work cooperatively with other team members
  • assist and support team members where necessary
  • understand team dynamics and factors that can affect team performance.

When supporting these skills, you should draw on:

  • Group work
  • Supervision
  • Leadership
  • Goal setting
  • Training
  • Participation
  • How you:
    • show/have shown understanding and valuing of difference
    • use/have used the strengths of members and balanced weaknesses
    • you have effectively contributed to a team.

Problem-solving and innovation skills

These skills show your ability to:

  • analyse and synthesise information presented in a variety of forms (eg verbal and quantitative) to assist in problem-solving
  • identify key issues, trends and interrelationships between issues
  • place information in a broader context and identify likely implications
  • generate new ideas and creative approaches to issues and practices.

When supporting these skills, you should:

  • Demonstrate your capacity to understand and solve complex problems and provide analysis for informed decision making
  • Show your ability to:
    • research and analyse convincingly
    • identify key issues,
    • set out ideas
    • identify and collect information: use the internet, journals, books, research papers, etc

Show your:

  • ability to think differently
  • open-mindedness
  • capacity to introduce new ideas and approaches into existing working practices
  • original and lateral thinking
  • ability to adapt to change, going the extra step
  • way of making a difference
  • ability to devise and implement new skills and ideas.

Leadership and influencing skills

These have to do with capacity or potential to lead and develop individuals and teams. They are related to your ability to provide direction and feedback to others, motivate, influence and engage them in the achievement of goals.

When supporting these skills, you should draw on your experiences in:

  • cultivating a productive working environment
  • supervising and coaching others
  • providing leadership and direction
  • achieving results
  • shaping strategic thinking
  • communicating with influence
  • using enthusiasm and commitment to influence issues

Desire to work in the organisation

Candidates should show employers a genuine interest in and commitment to work for them as well as awareness of their ability to contribute to the workplace.

You should research the organisation via the internet, research papers, media and other sources. After doing so, you can show you meet these criteria by:

  • showing interest in and knowledge of:
    • broad goals
    • aims and objectives of the department
    • how your studies apply
  • explaining what contribution you can make, how your work experience (if any) relates and what the organisation can do for you (in terms of training, career, etc)

Further information

Find more examples of selection criteria and sample responses on the Careers FAQs website.