We have provided some helpful information which will give you a better understanding of Federal Government job application requirements. If you have found your way to the Public Service Resumes website, then chances are that you are currently exploring your opportunities for a career with the Australian Public Service (APS). The APS is Australia’s Federal Public Service. There are currently 18 Departments and dozens of Agencies. Each of these Departments/Agencies develops and administers policy and services for different sectors. These include Defence, Finance, Environment, Education, Health, Community Services, Workplace Relations, Immigration, Science, Tourism, Transport and many more.
Applying for a role within the APS may seem a daunting feat. However, with the right preparation and a better understanding of Federal Government job application requirements it need not be as difficult as you think. Below are some important areas to consider to ensure that you can put together a strong application that will increase your chances of securing an interview and to gain a better understanding of Federal Government job application requirements.
Gain an understanding of Federal Government job application requirements
Once you have found a role that you would like to apply for, it is important to gain an understanding of the role beyond the job advertisement. Before you commence putting your application together, it is beneficial to speak to the contact officer. They can provide you with more insight into the expectations and requirements of the role than the position description. This can be particularly helpful if you are trying to decide if you are the right fit for the role or if you have the skills they are looking for.
Most APS roles will include an application kit that will explain exactly what to submit with your application. It is important to read this carefully to understand what the employer is looking for. Make sure that you are clear about the structure and length, including the preferred resume format, how to apply, and the closing date.
Once you have determined that the position is a good fit for you and you understand the application requirements, take some time to research the context of the role and where the level sits within the Integrated Leadership System (ILS), which is the APS competency framework. Knowing the competencies that the APS expect at each level will assist you with tailoring your application, including selecting examples of your experience at the appropriate level.
Familiarise yourself with selection criteria
Most of the time, your resume alone will not be enough to get you an APS role. When applying for positions in the public service, it is expected that you will have to address the selection criteria. These are points in the position description that describe the personal qualities, skills, knowledge and qualifications you need to perform the role successfully. They provide a consistent and broad tool to assess potential candidates against the position requirements. This helps recruiters and the selection panel find the right person for the role.
The way that you answer selection criteria will have a significant impact on how the selection team see your competencies compared to what they are looking for. Essentially, this will be the determining factor on whether or not they shortlist you for an interview. While requirements vary in that you may need to only submit a cover letter, or submit individual responses; it remains standard practice that each criterion point is addressed unless otherwise specified.
Learn how to address selection criteria successfully
Once you have read over the application kit and position description and have determined the requirements, you will be ready to start addressing the selection criteria. More and more, agencies are asking candidates to prepare pitch statements or cover letters that outline their suitability for the role. Often these statements are set to one or two pages or a limited number of words. However, regardless of whether the agency wants a ‘pitch’ or a response to a set number of criteria, the content (i.e. the examples of your work) will be similar. No matter what the format, it is important to respond to each criterion. Applications are based on merit, so if you leave any criteria responses out, it is likely your applications will be disregarded.
When writing your application, the first step is to create a structure. Structures help you present information in a way that makes it easy for readers to understand how your skills fit the role. Structures also help keep you on track which is important with set word limits. Choose examples that showcase how you have the experience to do the role and why you are the best candidate. You can use a formula such as STAR to present each example;
STAR: Situation, Task, Action Result
With this formula, you then need to identify a situation or challenge that you were presented with. Then detail what steps you took or what changes you made to fix or improve the situation. Lastly, describe the outcomes or results that happened as a result of your actions. Generally, you will write one to two paragraphs that explain how you have demonstrated the particular skill or quality they require. Make sure you provide relevant examples from your work, study or community roles. Make it relevant, succinct, and factual. Be specific with your evidence and steer away from broad, general statements about what you have done. Focus on outcomes and where possible, highlight how successful you were in achieving the expectations of your previous roles. Focus on the competencies you used to make things happen.
The written application itself shows how well you communicate, but it also provides insight into other skills. If there is a word or page limit, make sure you stick to it. Lastly, do not forget to edit your responses for grammar, spelling and punctuation!
If you are ready for a career in the APS, you can look for position advertisements online at the APS Employment Gazette (the official journal that lists all appointments and vacancies in the APS), on agency websites (you can find a full list of agencies at www.australia.gov.au/directories/government-sites-by-portfolio, as well as on websites such as www.jobsearch.gov.au
If you have any questions relation to Federal Government job application requirements or for full support putting together your APS application, including Resumes, Cover Letters, Selection Criteria, Pitch Statements, LinkedIn Profiles and Interview Skills Coaching, contact the team at Public Service Resumes today.