j0179967Statement of Claims against the Selection Criteria

In today’s competitive job market, aspiring employees must have well-tailored, well-written job applications.

While many public sector Agencies in Australia are reducing the amount of writing required for job applications – most still require candidates to do some analysis of their skills/capabilities/experience and to write about these according to prescribed selection criteria (i.e. to write a ‘statement of claims’ against the selection criteria). Thus, writing a public sector job application can feel like doing an assignment. Unlike school or University assignments where students must sign that the work is their own, employers rarely require any such acknowledgement with job applications.  This opens the door for people with expert knowledge of government selections to become professional job application writers.

Job applicants can spend many hours attending training and reading about how to address selection criteria, and then edit and re-edit to get the content and layout just right. For most candidates, this means well over 10 hours per application.  Alternatively, they may consider it a good investment to hire a professional to write their application.

The Job Application Process – More than Just a Resume

One of my clients recently paid about $300 for a ‘resume writer’ (found through an internet search) to prepare her statement of claims for a government position.  She told me that she got an interview through this application, but froze during the interview.  She felt she did not understand the selection criteria and what the selection committee expected.  I had a look at the papers (resume and selection criteria statement) that had been written for her.  The writer had done an excellent job in capturing my client’s experience and making an argument as to why she was a very suitable candidate for the role. My client will be able to cut and paste from this document and use this for future applications.  With a better understanding of what selection panels look for with common selection criteria and some interview coaching, I am sure she will soon secure a job. 

Another client came to me for job interview coaching. She was particularly stressed because she had been advised that a written test would be conducted just prior to the interview. I had a look at her application.  She had excellent qualifications and experience, and her resume and statement of claims were well-written.   Based on this, with a few tips on how to manage written job tests, she should have had no trouble with a written test.  She admitted that she had received considerable assistance with her written application, and that she did not really have the level of writing skills required for the role. 

The message from these two stories – the written application is only one part of the selection process.  No amount of professional assistance with writing claims against selection criteria will help if a candidate is not able to complete other job assessment tasks at the required level.

Resume Writer Fees

If a candidate decides to hire a professional to prepare their application, they can expect to pay over $300. I did a search today to find current fees in Australia. Usually the client can choose different packages to suit their needs.  For example, one company says that they will prepare ‘ready to lodge applications from just $285 (incl. selection criteria, cover letter & resume tidy)’.  Another consultant lists the costs for an experienced job seeker (ie with over 2 years work experience) as follows:

‘Professional Resume via Phone/Email: $295
Professional Resume with Face-to-Face Consultation: $395
Customised Cover Letter: $95
Selection Criteria Responses: $70 per criteria’

A third provider lists their charges as, ‘Selection criteria response: typically from $250. New résumés from about $150’.

Most writers will ask many questions so they can understand the client’s skills and experience. They won’t make up things (hopefully), but should use their expertise to match what a candidate has to offer to the advertised role. 

Is it Fair/Ethical to Use a Resume Writer to Prepare a Ready to Lodge Job Application?

In the ideal world, all candidates would have equality of opportunity to present their claims. The reality is that candidates have different levels of familiarity and knowledge of the selection criteria process. Candidates also have different access to expertise to assist them to prepare applications, and different levels of comfort about ‘blowing-their-own-trumpet’.

It could be argued that professional job application writers level the playing field for those external (non-public sector) applicants who have had no prior experience with analysing selection criteria.

Where employers use open selection processes that favour candidates who know how to address selection criteria, the professional job application writer will thrive.

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Are you struggling to write the application? Need some ideas on how to address selection criteria? Do you feel you let yourself down at job interviews?

Do you want coaching from an experienced human resource professional? Do you need someone who understands the Intergrated Leadership System (Australian Government)  or Capability Leadership Framework (Queensland Government)?

Contact me at brisbanejobcoach@gmail.com   or 0403766812

Send me your draft resume, and details of any job/s that you are interested in.  Tell me if you need to work on your application (covering letter, resume or selection criteria) or if you need interview practice. I can provide a no obligation free quote.

My specialty is coaching people for job interviews. I enjoy assisting people to win jobs – and would love to hear from you.  

 Cheryl

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