Almost every position advertised these days will have a selection criteria that wants you to demonstrate skills in prioritising your work. Even if the selection criteria is all about organisation, prioritising is an important sub-set of this skill. This article will help you to address these criteria more effectively.
The first step in addressing one of these selection criteria is determining what kind of selection criteria it is. There are five kinds of selection criteria, and in this case, we are dealing with a skills and abilities selection criteria.
Skills and abilities selection criteria can include skills which are quantitative (or measurable) such as engineering skills, computer skills, mathematical abilities etc. It can also include more conceptual skills (which are harder to measure) such as interpersonal and negotiation skills, strategic planning abilities etc. If a criterion asks about your ability to do something, you should describing your skills and giving an example of your level of ability.
- How can you prove your skill/ability?
- How have you improved your skill/ability?
- How much experience do you have in this area?
- What skills do you have that are transferable to the position and would support your ability?
- Provide a few examples of your skills/abilities in action.
Areas to Cover When Writing About Prioritising Skills
(TIP: Cut and paste this section and keep it somewhere safe your your next job application!)
Show that you:
Still Stuck? Try Answering These Questions:
- What sort of deadlines are you required to meet as both an individual and a member of a team? How do you go about successfully managing your workload to achieve these required deadlines?
- How do you plan your work on a daily basis, and when there is an extra important or special task to complete?
- What tools do you use to organise your workload?
- How do you decide which tasks are the most important?
- What issues do you take into consideration when prioritising or reprioritising your workload?
- How would you ensure that your work is correctly prioritised & completed when you have conflicting deadlines?
- Write about a time when you have had to adjust your work schedule. Why did you have to do this, and and how did you go about it?
- What is your procedure for keeping track of items
that require your attention? Write about a time when you used
Selection Criteria Example
My current position as Project Reporter is extremely autonomous. I am
responsible for identifying projects within the organisation that have
specific reporting needs, and completing project reports on an
independent basis. I am faced with tight timeframes to complete these
exercises, write the reports and submit to relevant delegates, and I
work without supervision.
This position requires high level prioritising skills, and I regularly use my strong negotiation skills to negotiate with different work areas regarding competing priorities. I currently spend half of my working hours in an office, and the other half consulting at various sites around Queensland. This requires forward planning abilities, excellent time management skills, and a solid work ethic.
Because I often work on up to four projects at one time, I use a variety of tools to prioritise and organise my work, and schedule my time. I use a smartphone as a mobile diary and task list, and I have authored an Access database and Excel spreadsheet to assist with tracking projects, which I also carry with me at all times on my smartphone. The Access database contains details of each individual reporting project and the Excel spreadsheet is used as a timesheet so that I can track my daily hours against each project. Although these are simple tools, the accuracy of the information contained is crucial for tracking productivity information and reporting against personal and team key performance indicators. It also helps me to prioritise tasks against approaching deadlines and can highlight bottlenecks in timelines. I have found that by identifying bottlenecks I am able to prioritise the most important tasks to ensure that my timelines and plans are not compromised. I have found that embracing IT tools and automating a lot of general organisation has reduced the time needed for general administration, allowing me to concentrate on the work at hand.
I have the ability to prioritise tasks and continually re-assess work flows and priorities in a busy and demanding environment. The key factors I use when assessing priorities are deadlines and operational implications. I have also demonstrated my strong prioritising skills in my previous role as Project Manager where I organised my work between:
- Managing four contracts with a value of approximately $12 million dollars
- Supervising and coordinating the work of a team of five Project Assistants
- Participating on tender evaluation boards as an independent member
- Acting as subject matter expert on selection advisory committees for recruitment actions within my own team and other projects
- Taking on the role of Occupational Health and Safety representative for my building
- Acting as Project Manager when the permanent manager is on leave or working internationally
All of these tasks required different time inputs with varying and often conflicting deadlines. In addition, I reported to different people for most of these tasks and have found over the past four years in this role that I have gained exceptional skills in balancing different managers and stakeholders who invariably all want my attention at the same time. I think my excellent organisational skills and negotiation skills have made it possible to juggle these priorities and keep all parties satisfied that their task has my full attention.
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