Ability to Work Independently

Selection criteria that specifically ask for the demonstrated ability to work independently are looking for evidence that you are able to work without direct supervision all of the time.

They need someone who can plan and organise their own work day and tasks, who can initiate change to work practices or policies or their own personal working style. Someone who can understand the operational environment and adapt accordingly, and someone who can act proactively and with integrity.

'Work Independently' Selection Criteria May Be Worded Like This:

Demonstrated ability to work independently.
Demonstrated ability to work without supervision.
Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
Demonstrated self motivation and the ability to work independently.
Or any variation of the above.

What to Write About

When addressing your selection criteria, some of the things you could look at and mention are:

  • Explain how you work regularly and consistently without supervision.

  • Write about how you have achieved results in the past with limited supervision.

  • Demonstrate that you can make independent decisions and solve problems on your own.

  • Show that you can plan, organise and prioritise work by yourself.

  • Give practical examples that show you can meet deadlines when unsupervised.

  • Demonstrate an awareness of any limitations that you have, but back them up with strategies for overcoming these limitations

  • Show that you can identify factors that contribute to stress, and that you have strategies and support systems to alleviate stress.

  • Show that you can control your actions and workflow during stressful or busy periods (e.g., you are able to maintain perspective, manage anger and frustration and ‘get on with the job’).

  • Show a real solid confidence in your abilities.

  • And by all means, definitely do not mention that you refer to your supervisor often or asking for help a lot!

Answer These Questions

Still stuck? Here are some questions you can ask yourself, or even answer when writing your statements addressing this kind of selection criteria.

When do you normally work as an individual?
Example: In my current role, (Title), I have a high degree of responsibility and autonomy in deciding the relative priority of most of my tasks, and I am held solely responsible for my output quantity and quality.

How do you organise and prioritise your work to ensure you complete it without prompting?
Example: I use various tools to organise my work including the Outlook diary, Outlook reminders and the Outlook to-do list. I spend time each morning planning the day ahead of me and prioritising tasks in order of importance and due date; however, I remain aware of the need to reprioritise these tasks as the day progresses and things change. I also assess my work progress at the end of each day and update Outlook to reflect the next day’s priorities.

How do you make sure that you can cope without a supervisor?
Example: While I work autonomously, I have also built up a side network of contacts that I am able to draw on for assistance or technical expertise when the occasion arises, and I leverage these networks as required.

When have you made a decision without guidance from others?
Example: All my decisions are made following appropriate research, sound verification and documentation, but I am also able to make judgements about when I should consult with others prior to making a decision. (Insert specific example).

What are some of the things you have achieved when working alone?

What are some of the things that you do to ensure that your time is being used effectively?

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