Preparing a Job Application

Preparing a Job Application


Employers and recruitment agencies have different ways of finding people for jobs. Many provide a job description and a list of selection criteria. A job description outlines what the employee is expected to do in the job. The selection criteria outline the personal skills and abilities required of the employee. Most employers expect job applicants to provide a copy of their resume or curriculum vitae (CV) and to respond to the selection criteria.

Your resume

A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) tells a prospective employer about your education, training and work history. A well-structured resume can present you as the best person for the job.

What to do

There are different ways to write a resume so first check if the recruitment agency or the employer require a particular format. Here are some general tips.

  • Include your name, address, contact numbers and email address.
  • Consider the type of organisation you are applying to when choosing a style for your resume for example an arts company might welcome a creative approach more so than a finance company - use your discretion.
  • Use easy-to-read fonts for example Arial, Times New Roman, Tahoma and font sizes for example 14 point for headings and 12 point for text.
  • Put things in chronological order - list your most recent education and work history first. Recruiters are mostly interested in the last 15 years of your working life.
  • Provide real examples of how your experience, skills, personal attributes, qualifications, knowledge and expertise show you can do the job.
  • Make sure that the information you provide can be validated and supported at an interview and by referees.
What not to do

You should not include personal details that could give the employer the chance to unfairly discriminate against you. Unless you have a specific reason, do not include:

  • A photograph.
  • Your age or date of birth.
  • Whether you are single, married or in a relationship. 
  • whether you have children or are pregnant.
  • your religion, unless it is necessary for the position.

If you are short-listed, it should be based on your skills and abilities, not personal characteristics that do not relate to the job.

Responding to selection criteria

Responding to selection criteria can be time-consuming and challenging. Here are a few tips to help with your response:

  • Work out how your abilities and skills match each of the selection criteria.
  • Give examples of situations that show your experience and demonstrate your knowledge.
  • Present your responses in sentences where possible or dot points if appropriate.
  • Check whether your response shows that you are the best person for the job.
  • Check your spelling and get someone to double check it for you.

Remember, don't just say you can do it, give examples that show you can. If you think you have been discriminated against as a result of filling in a job application form, contact us for advice.