Your Application & Interview Tips
It is important to include a covering letter with your application as it is the first impression a selection committee will receive from you. Some important notes to remember when writing a covering letter are:
- Should be no more than 1 page.
- Use clear font size and type.
- Should be written in first person "I have 5 years experience" and written in clear direct language.
- Be engaging to ensure that you are obtaining the reader's interest.
- Start with a brief introduction about yourself and state the purpose of the letter. Ensure you mention the job you are applying for.
- Give a brief description of relevant skills, qualifications and experience that relate to the job description, basically a few lines summarising the content of your resume.
- Mention that your resume and response to selection criteria are attached and then finish with a call-to-action, such as looking forward to hearing from you.
- Use a different heading for each criteria
- Carefully construct your answers
- Include in each answer how you achieved something (behaviour). how well you did it and how you overcame challenges (performance) and the outcome (effectiveness)
- Use clear font size and type.
- Use verbs actively to illustrate your experience - use phrases such as "I negotiated", "I achieved" or "I edited".
- Ensure spelling and grammar are correct. have someone with a good command of English look over your application and avoid too much technical jargon.
What to include
- You should effectively be highlightly your suitability to the role, and draw the selection committee's attention to your relevant skills by addressing each of the selection criteria. Below are some techniques that can help demonstrate how you meet the selection criteria. Note in detail how your previous experience will be used in the job that you are applying for.
- Address all of the selection criteria.
- Be sure to break down the elements within each criteria and provide examples of how you meet each criteria. The STAR model may be useful:
- Situation: explain the context and challenges of the situation
- Task: what was your aim?
- Action: how did you achieve the desired outcome?
- Response: how did colleagues respond, and what was the result?
- Where possible, quantify your achievements - refer to them in terms of cost or time savings, value of grants received, increases in productivity, implementation of recommendations, simplified processes. Include goals and achievements from previous performance or development reviews.
- Avoid language which suggests your work is perfect - "I always provide superior customer service" or "I never miss deadlines".
Some important things to remember when writing your resume are:
- tailor your resume to the position that you are applying for;
- Use a clear font size and type
- Avoid fancy borders
- Only include relevant personal information (e.g leave out age, marital status, religion, nationality, pictures)
- Write in the present tense
- Use bullet points to highlight responsibilities you had within each job
- Explain periods of unemployment such as overseas holidays or home duties
What to include
Your resume should include the following information:
- Contact details: full name, address, phone numbers, email address
- Career Objective: a brief, powerful statement about your career objectives
- Qualifications: listed in chronological order of the year completed, starting with the most recent. Include the institute.
- Employment History: listed in chronological order of the year employed, starting with the current or most recent. Include:
- Period of Employment
- Position Title
- Key achievements
- Relevant Training (listed in chronological order of the year completed, starting with the most recent).
- Professional membership/certification: listed in chronological order the associations of which you are an active member, and the professional or learning activities you have undertaken, e.g coordinator and/or attendance at conferenes.
if you are applying for an Academic position then you should also include the following:
- Publications: listed in chronological order, starting with the most recent.
- Research activities and interests: listed in chronological order, starting with the most recent.
It may be daunting, but an interview is also an opportunity for you and the employer to determine how well you suit the role.
Every interview is different, so here are some basic tips to help you feel more prepared and present yourself in the best possible way.
Being well-prepared will help you feel more confident and relaxed in an interview and eliminate any element of surprise. Your preparation should encompass not only familiarising yourself with the position, but also how you will relate your skills, experience and achievements to the requirements of the job and the needs of the University.
Before your interview you should do the following:
- Familarise yourself with the position description
- Have numerous examples for each criteria within the position description, as the interview will be based on those questions.
- Research the relevant department/faculty/division
- Think about your achievements and the lessons you have learned. Prepare some examples.
- Practice your responses or do a mock interview.
- Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. If you are unfamilar with the location, obtain accurate and detailed instructions on how to get there. Be prepared for issues such as parking or public transport delays.
- Dress appropriately - business attire is the best option and remember its better to be more formal than too casual.
At the interview
This may be the only opportunity the selection committee has to determine whether you are the most suitable candidate for the position, so ensure you use the time as effectively as possible and answer questions clearly.
During your interview you should consider the below:
- Relax and be confident
- Engage the selection committee in your responses
- Listen to questions carefully. Take time to think about your responses and ensure that you answer the question you are being asked and give plenty of examples.
- Keep your answers clear and concise. Be brief, but don't compromise your answers by leaving out information.
- If you are unclear about a question, clarify it or ask for it to be repeated.
- Ask any questions relating to the position, projects, department and anything that may impact your desire to work at UOW.
- Don't ask questions purely to fill in time.
- For information on the salary, work hours and terms and conditions, speak to the recruiter listed on the advertisement.
- Be yourself
- Many interviewers ask competency or behavioural questions, based on the principle that past behaviour predicts future actions. Use real examples in your responses - explain what you did, not what you would have done. It is acceptable to use an example in which the outcome was not positive if you can demonstrate how you learned from it. You may want to use the STAR method explained above.