The Key to Standing Out
It’s no good having a
stellar application full of features and demonstrations of your skills
in action, if the next application does exactly the same thing. What’s
important, is ensuring your reader understands that all that you offer
can come from you, and you alone.
It is going to be a lot easier to sell yourself if you have something that sets you apart from your competition – the other applicants.
This is called your unique value
This is an advanced
selection criteria writing
technique, so if this is your first attempt at writing selection
criteria, I would recommend starting
with something simpler. If you
have written selection criteria in the past or are in a management or
executive position, this technique is perfect
Your Unique Value Proposition
Why should the panel choose you and not someone else?
What extra value can you offer? (think about key achievements in the past)
What are the core skills and strengths that you have overall, and relating to each selection criteria? (think about key experiences in the past)
How will you apply these to the position?
How will it solve the employers problems?
What is different about you and your skills, abilities and experiences?
Can you offer something extra?
If you can answer the question “What’s in it for me?” from the employer’s point of view, you’re already halfway there. Put it all together, and this is your unique value proposition.
The employer will
benefit from me
financially because I have a track record of launching efficient and
cost effective public programs.
The employer will benefit from me because I have a track record of implementing process improvements which save the organisation time and gets deliverables faster.
The employer will benefit from me because I have extraordinary negotiation skills. I am able to obtain win-win situations while creating respect within the workforce.
How to Add it to Your Selection Criteria
introduction should be brief and to the point. The purpose of the
introduction is to introduce the specific argument you are going to
explore later in your selection criteria statement. Your argument, of
course, is that you have the particular knowledge, skills or abilities
that the selection criteria is asking for.
Avoid irrelevant introductions or warm ups. Start selling from the get go, and don’t let up.
The job of each sentence is to lead the reader to the next sentence. If it doesn’t, it’s a waste of space, so delete it. Grab their attention. Stir their interest. If you want people to read what you write, you need to give them a reason to read it, and keep reading.
The open will start with your lead (the leading sentence) and will be followed by a sentence that includes your unique value proposition and two reasons to believe it. You don't need to go into detail at this point. That will come next.
A job application involves two things. Figuring out what to say. Then figuring out how to say it.
Do you remember writing essays during high school? The
structure of an essay is much like the structure of statements
addressing selection criteria. Just like the body of an essay, the body
of your selection criteria is where you fulfill the promises you made
in the introduction. You will be working systematically to show the
selection panel how you meet the selection criteria.
A logical order and progression of ideas is vital for producing a strong argument. In most cases, you should organise your material on the basis of ideas, and group them together. You should avoid giving detailed descriptions of theory or your understanding (unless the selection criteria is asking for your understanding) and keep in mind that your selection criteria is a collection of arguments that are designed to sell yourself to the selection panel. The most powerful arguments are backed up with solid evidence.
You should only include details that are relevant to the selection criteria, and relevant to the job you are applying for. The distinction between showing and telling is important.
This part is simple. Infact, you can totally skip the
conclusion of you want to. I am not a believer in the value of a
conclusion in selection criteria documents, but if you feel that yours
needs one, then the conclusion should be a straight forward repetition
of the main points (your key strengths relating to the selection
criterion) and your unique value proposition.
Our book The Selection Criteria Coach contains over 150 pages of information, tools and templates to make your selection criteria quick and easy to write.
More help with your job application:
Our top 5 selection criteria
Your government job application at a glance
What to expect at a government interview