Responding to job requirements

Most job advertisements will include some requirements you need to respond to. These are often called ‘selection criteria’, ‘prerequisites’ or ‘general requirements’.

These requirements are the qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities or experience you will need to get the job.

For example, you may be asked if you have attained a particular qualification or if you have a licence for a certain kind of vehicle. You could be asked to explain how you have met deadlines and prioritised tasks. You might be asked how you have dealt with difficult people or how you have shown leadership.

In many job listings, the selection criteria are provided as a separate document and are broken down into 'essential' and 'desirable' qualities. You must have the essential qualities to be considered for the job. If you also have the desirable qualities, you have an even better chance of getting the job. Remember that the desirable qualities are not critical to getting the job. Even if you think you don’t have some of the desirable qualities, you should still go ahead and apply for the job.

Some key tips for responding to job requirements

  • Respond to the criteria with actual, specific examples of what you have done and how well you did it
  • For each example, mention what happened as a result of your actions
  • Keep your answers focused and clearly written
  • Talk to other people who have applied for jobs using selection criteria
  • Unless the number of words is specified, aim to write two to three solid paragraphs for each response
  • Format your document as requested in the advertisement
  • Type your document in a plain font
  • Remember that it’s okay to phone the employer to ask for more information about what they are looking for in the selection criteria, length of response, formatting and so on
  • Check over your responses, then ask a friend or family member to check over them for spelling or typing mistakes
  • Save your responses (you may need to refer to them if you get an interview for the job, or you might be able to adapt them for future job applications)
  • If you have been asked to post or hand-deliver your application, print your document on white A4 paper and staple it in the top left corner (unless you have been asked to present it in another way)

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