Did you know Public Service Resumes also specialise in private sector job applications? While our name might indicate otherwise, the team at Public Service Resumes have assisted hundreds of clients with their resumes and/or applications for private sector job applications! These have been clients with no public sector experience, as well as those who have been working within the Australian Public Service (APS), Local Councils or State Government and are seeking a career change. For these clients, swapping between sectors can be one of the most demanding career moves that anyone can undergo. It often requires a change in mindset along with the ability to fit into a new working culture. But get it right, and it can be an extremely rewarding experience.
Although private sector job applications seem less complex considering that there are usually no targeted questions or suitability statements to write, this may prove to be equally as challenging because you are presented with fewer opportunities to demonstrate how you meet a potential employer’s needs. First and foremost though, you are going to need a plan of attack. No campaign has ever been successful without setting out clear goals and objectives first. So, get yourself focused. Having a plan gives you more control over your performance and allows you to stay on target. If you are not sure of the type of role you are seeking, a good place to start is to look around the people you know that work in the private sector and consider the jobs that they do. Talk to them about their companies and look at what roles suit your skill set the best. You may be lucky enough to know exactly what you want to do and have the necessary skills to secure a role or shift across to the private sector. It may simply be a case of making sure those skills are brought to life in your resume, but you may also find that there are personal skills gaps that you need to fill. If this is the case, some sort of re-training may be necessary.
The best way to identify this is to sit down and work out your skills. If you are struggling with this, get together with a friend (or better yet, pick up the phone and call the team at Public Service Resumes and let us do all of the hard work for you!). Together, you can go through everything you have done inside and outside of work and come up with examples of how these highlight your strengths in key skills areas such as leadership, communication, business acumen, ability to influence others and problem-solving. This will give you an excellent basis from which to start to present yourself on paper, as well as identify any further training that you may need to undertake.
Private Sector Job Applications » Resume and Cover Letter Writers
When applying for roles in the public sector, the deciding part of your application often does not lie in the detail of your resume itself. Rather, it is likely that your supporting statement or cover letter will count the most. This is where you will be asked to give evidence of the skills, experience and knowledge needed for the role. To do this well, you usually need to meet each point on the person/role specification; giving examples to support and demonstrate your claims. Applicants will receive a tick, cross or perhaps a question mark against each of the criteria points, according to the contents of the supporting statement. This means you should use both your resume and supporting documents to reflect every single point mentioned.
You can use your supporting statement, key achievements or skills in your resume to prove you have the required capabilities. Teamwork, using initiative and client-awareness, are usually desirable, but there are many other attributes the recruiter may be looking for too. To achieve this, think back to the STAR technique, which is outlined in this blog article (Government KSC Experts). Focus your evidence on one specific example that you can break down into detail, rather than talking more generally about a range of situations. It is not enough, for example, to respond to a competency requirement, such as flexibility, by saying: “I take an adaptable and pragmatic approach to my work.” You need to prove it through a real-life example with a clear Situation, Task, Action and Result. This approach is also highly effective to give meaning to key achievements on your resume, however, to avoid content overload, keep it simple and only outline the basic facts.
When it comes to writing your documents, using the right kind of language is vital. Therefore, it is necessary that you mirror keywords and the type of language used in the job advertisement and/or position description. On top of this, it is important that you do not over-burden decision makers. Unless otherwise specified, your resume, in particular, should not be longer than four to five pages, with all of the key messages on page one. Think about what conclusion a busy HR manager would draw from the first half page of your resume. Be clear, concise and provide both claims and evidence in your resume and supporting documents.
But remember it is not what you have done, but how you sell your experience – so it is important to use active language like ‘led, organised, built’. Avoid just making claims about your skills (I am a team player) and give clear evidence – times you have used your skills, and what happened as a result. This way, the first page of your resume, and the material you have in mind for interviews, is actually about achievements. So, for every skill you hold, learn at least one short story about what you achieved.
Completing applications like this may seem frustratingly time consuming, but it does come with its benefits. You may not realise it, but completing your supporting statement has already helped you prepare for the next stage of the process – the interview. Interviews often focus on many of the same criteria points. It is essential therefore, that you keep a copy of both your supporting statement and the job ad and/or position description and use them as tools in your interview preparation. Topics that come up for discussion should be reasonably easy to predict and the interview should be structured so that the same questions are asked of all candidates.
The team at Public Service Resumes are experts in writing and delivering high-quality and tailored resumes and cover letters and if applicable statements/key selection criteria responses for private sector job applications. We know exactly the questions to ask to draw out your strongest skills and experience, thereby significantly enhancing your chances of securing that next interview.
Success is not just about what you know or even what you have done – it is also about how you prove it. If you are serious about your career, call us today and let us prove your worth for your private sector job applications!