Yes they can. Unless the selection documentation (or recruitment policy, and in this case it should also be specified in the selection documentation) specifically states that you must write your own.
I recently read some interesting comments on a forum about this exact topic. Someone posed the exact same question and the responses they got varied a lot. One person even recounted a story of how they had sat on a government recruitment panel and decided not to interview someone because the panel suspected they had not written their own statements addressing the selection criteria.
I found it interesting that this panel member was happy to reveal this publicly, given that it's not government recruitment policy to eliminate someone from the recruitment process based the authorship of their application (unless it is specifically stated to applicants that they must author their own applications). Assessments must be made on the suitability of the applicant based on their responses to the selection criteria, not based on who wrote the words on the piece of paper. Not only that, but the selection panel had no proof that the applicant didn't write their own selection criteria, it was just a suspicion. If the applicant had found out that this was the reason for their elimination, they could have appealed and had the whole recruitment process thrown out.
What lessons can you learn from this?
1. You can get a friend, family member or professional resume writer to write your application for you. However, the content of your application must relate to your skills and abilities (not those of the friend, family member or resume writer).
2. If you suspect your application has not been accepted because you didn't write it yourself, ask the panel if this is the case.
3. If the panel ask you if you wrote it yourself, be honest. And also remind the panel that there was no statement in the selection documentation saying that the application had to be written by the applicant. If you explain that you are so keen to get the job that you got professional help with your application, they cannot hold this against you. If the selection panel are using the written applications as evidence of written communication skills (which sometimes happens) offer to give them something work related and more relevant that demonstrates your written communication skills.
4. If someone else is writing your application, avoid
duplication may be an issue. For example, some professional resume / selection criteria
writers will not guarantee that your application will be original. They might not state this upfront, but often they reuse generic paragraphs or even publish their work on their website. The
last thing you want to do is have an application that looks the same as
another applicant's, so if you are using a professional selection criteria writer make sure that what they provide will be original, and not used again (and get this in writing!)
If you are looking for a
professional selection criteria writer the best way to find an
application writer is to ask around for recommendations.
We have a team of great independent professional application/selection criteria writers that we can refer you to. For details, please contact us.
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