Your written application is the first formal contact between you and your prospective employer, and it is the most significant contact you will have until you meet at the interview.
You need to present yourself as a highly desirable employee, while conveying all relevant information clearly and concisely.
Your written application is not just an outline of what you have done and what you can do, it is a product – you!
The purpose of your application is to demonstrate to a prospective employer that you are not only a suitable applicant, but you are a superior applicant. If you use your application to merely outline your work history and a few examples of what you have done in the past you will end up producing something that is very self centred and says little about how you can add value to the employer and meet their essential needs.
Lots of suitable applicants, and even very good applicants miss out on an interview simply because there is a very high quality applicant field, and they are not competitive in comparison.
Therefore, writing a good application is not necessarily good enough. Your application is a crucial step in showing that you possess superior merit to the other applicants, and where you demonstrate that you are a high quality applicant that warrants an interview.
The best applications:
- Are well thought out marketing documents;
- Communicate a sense of career direction and purpose throughout;
- Guide the reader easily through all parts of the application, from start to end;
- Show good levels of literacy and solid writing skills;
- Don’t make any assumptions about who the reader might be;
- Show that the writer is able to analyse their own skills;
- Provide evidence to back up their claims;
- Focus on the needs of the organisation, not those of the writer.
A written application for a position within any of the Public Services will generally include:
- A cover letter
- A resume
- Statements addressing the selection criteria
- Referee details
- Any supplementary evidence (e.g a qualification or license)
In order to ensure that you are providing all the required information, it is necessary to obtain the full job description and selection criteria from the recruiting agency. Also, don’t forget to research the agency and position as outlined in the previous section.
If you wish to apply for more than one vacancy within an agency or department you will need to submit multiple applications.
More help with your job application:
How to make sure your selection criteria are pitched at the right level
Are you following any of these selection criteria myths?
Questions you should ask before applying for a government job