Written Applications

When you identify a potential employer or position that appeals to you, focus on crafting an application that highlights your skills and experiences, and markets you as a legitimate candidate for the job.

Your application is usually the first point of contact between you and your potential employer, so it’s essential you get it right.

The application process

Make sure you read the application instructions carefully. This is your first test. Employers will not be impressed if you submit an incomplete or generic application. Your application must be targeted to the organisation and position you are applying for.

A job application may consist of the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Statement addressing selection criteria
  • A copy of your Academic Transcript
  • Application form

Information Sheets

Applying online

Many organisations will require an online application. You may be required to upload your documents (cover letter, resume, qualifications) and also complete one or more online forms.

The trick here is to be prepared before you begin, as some online applications are required to be completed in one sitting, whilst others allow you to save your application and return to it at a later date.

Preparing your cover letter

Your cover letter is often your first chance to make a good impression. It should be positive and sell your suitability for the position.

The letter must be individually tailored to the particular position, so be sure to address all of the skills and/or abilities the employer is looking for.

Your cover letter should be:

  • 1 page in length
  • Left justification – all addresses should be aligned to the left of your page
  • Free from commas or full stops within the addresses or opening address
  • All paragraphs should start flush with the left-hand side margin, rather then being indented

In closing your cover letter:

  • Letters addressed to a particular person should be signed off Yours sincerely
  • Letters addressed to a position title signed off with Yours faithfully.
  • If possible, address your letter to a specific person.

Cover Letters Information Sheet (PDF, 102 KB)

Preparing your resume

Your resume is your opportunity to demonstrate to a potential employer that you possess the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities for the position.

Your presentation, format and information should be well thought out and tailored to each employer.

It is recommended that your resume is also accompanied by a cover letter that is also tailored to the specific employer.

What to do What not to do

Tailor your resume to the job description and the employer

Use jargon and slang

Be clear, concise and truthful and keep it to no more than four pages in length

Present a resume that contains spelling or grammatical errors

Use positive action words to highlight your strengths

Include a photo of yourself

Use a simple layout, with consistent font style and bullet points

Add a border or use fancy fonts

Use bullet points to list your employment history, responsibilities and achievements

Write long, confusing paragraphs

Responding to selection criteria

What is selection criteria?

Selection criteria are generally found in job advertisements, mainly in the public sector. Selection criteria is included to ensure fairness and objectivity in selecting the best applicants to shortlist. It is a way for you to indicate your level and range of specific skills plus knowledge and experience deemed necessary by the employer to undertake the duties of a job successfully.

View our Selection Criteria Information Sheet (PDF, 44 KB) for tips on how to respond.

Selection Criteria tips from government websites:

Referees

  • Be sure to request permission of your referee before you nominate them in your job application.
  • Keep your referees informed – they need to know what you are applying for so that they are prepared when an employer contacts them to find out more about you.
  • Your current/most recent Supervisor/Manager is preferred. Academic staff may also be suitable. Avoid personal referees.
  • If possible, use Australian referees for an Australian based job.
  • If using an overseas referee we recommend email contact only.

How we can help you

  • Get some feedback on your cover or resume at the Careers Drop-In Sessions.
  • Make an appointment with Careers and Employment to seek feedback on your selection criteria. Please have a draft prepared before you attend your appointment. The purpose of the appointment is to provide feedback not to have your response written for you.
  • Develop your written application skills with the Career Development Program Graduate Careers stream.
  • Visit our Resources section for examples resumes, cover letters and selection criteria.