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Why are Key Selection Criteria so hard to write? In fact, why do employers, particularly government departments demand them?

The main reason is in order to apply the merit principle to the recruitment process, all candidates must be assessed with the same criteria. This is designed to be a fairer process for all candidates applying for the same role.

Because they are sought after, well paying, excellent terms and conditions kind of jobs (like flexible work arrangements, generous leave entitlements, career progression, paid training, discounted public transport, the list is huge!). They need to be treated with respect and we need to value the work that the public service does.

They get loads of applications and the best way to sift through them is asking you to work. Work hard at getting a job with them. They cull their list, by making you do the hard yards. And if you get a government job, you know it’s worth it. This is why people pay good money to get their applications done by experts, because all that is worth it and is paid for after your first week’s pay!

Well can I tell you, when I first went for my first government job over 13 years ago, I couldn’t believe the effort I went to, to get it. Everyone told me how hard it is to get government jobs. Like really hard! In fact, most told me “Don’t bother, if you don’t know someone in there, you’ll never have a chance”.

Being the determined and conscientious person that I am, I thought “Surely it can’t be that hard?”. Um, yep, it’s hard. Really hard to apply for a government job. And get selected for an interview? Even harder. But I was determined to at least get some interview experience, I mean what did I have to lose?

I lost about a week of writing up an application, that’s what, that’s a lot of time and energy! Not only did I have to write up an eye-catching Cover Letter, because that is the first thing they open, an amazingly short and punchy Resume, I had to do what? Key Selection Criteria? What is this Key Selection Criteria thing?

Off I went searching for what they were and how on earth to address them. I did my homework, looked on all government career websites and found some tips called STAR or SAO as they’re commonly known here. SAO is the acronym for:

Situation – where and when you did something
Action – where and when you did something
Outcome – what was the result of your actions

As it turns out, the Cover Letter and Resume are the last thing a government department look at, in fact they look at how you address the Key Selection Criteria first!

I know, because yay, I got that very first government job I applied for. Turns out I’m really really good at doing them. So much so, that I was selected to attend recruitment interview panels after that. I then solidified that experience with a Diploma in Human Resources.

That is why people pay good money to have them written. As I said, it’s worth the money if you can actually secure one of these jobs.

So if you’re having a hard time, find it too hard, can’t make every word count, seek assistance from a Key Selection Criteria expert that has actually been there and done that. That is what I am here for! To book your Key Selection Criteria with me, click here.

Cheers, Athena

Hi, I’m Athena Ali the Founder of The Get Noticed Coach and Get Noticed Resumes.

I am a Flexible Work Advocate – I help women close the gender pay gap by designing and implementing career strategies to get them into leadership positions (particularly in the government sector) using my marketing approach to career advancement.