Here at are-able, we love asking employers and recruiters for tips to help job hunters. This week we’re sharing one of the most common mistakes that stands between a job applicant and an interview; failing to address the key selection criteria.

Human resources staff tell us a huge number of applicants skip this crucial step, so let’s break it down to ensure your job application has the best shot!

What’s the deal with selection criteria?

Think of it as an employer wish-list; the different skills, qualifications, attributes and experience a business desires in their future employee. It can include things like computer skills, up-to-date OH&S or first aid training, licenses, leadership skills, tertiary education, self-confidence, a current working with children check, willingness to learn and a proven ability to work independently. Job seekers who don’t directly address the selection criteria are significantly risking their chances of scoring an interview.

I’ve already got those details in my resume, why do I need to write it all out again?

Selection criteria varies for each individual job. The person assessing the job applications will score each candidate based on how well they fit the specified criteria, so you need to have your achievements and skills outlined in a separate attachment or statement.

Where do I find the list of selection criteria?

Most jobs list the key selection criteria in a formal document called a position description. These are usually found on the same web page as the job vacancy, or you can ask the employer to email or post you a copy. Sometimes smaller businesses have a more relaxed approach and list their selection criteria within the job advert. Look for a sentence that starts with ‘applicants must have…’ or ‘your key responsibilities include…’

How do I go about addressing the selection criteria?

The easiest way is creating a new document to submit along with your resume and cover letter. Call this something like ‘Selection criteria statement – Joe Bloggs – Forklift Driver position’ so you can easily find it on your computer, and the employer knows exactly what it is.

In your statement, write subheadings for each of the points, or group some of them together. For example, if the position description lists key responsibilities like forklift driving, experience operating machinery and meeting daily KPIs, Joe Bloggs could write a paragraph like this:

In my previous job at the butter factory, I was in charge of loading and unloading trucks, using the forklift and pallet jack. Each of my jobs were done in a timely and safe fashion, which allowed the company to meet their daily distribution schedules. During my six months at the butter factory, my team had a 98% success rate with meeting these targets.

Help! I don’t have every skill they’re after, but I’m still keen to apply

Don’t lose heart. If you’re a good fit for the position, but you don’t meet all of the key selection criteria, elaborate on the skills that do suit the job. You may lose marks in the overall scoring process, but your efforts to submit a comprehensive job application will certainly put you in good stead.

What do I do if I’m unsure about the selection criteria for a specific job?

Employers are usually happy to point you in the right direction, and we can assure you that applications covering the selection criteria put a smile on their dial. Simply give them a call on 1800 566 066 and they’ll guide you in the right direction.

If you still have queries, please get in touch. We love helping our job seekers make a great impression! You can request a call back here or call 1800 566 066.