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From my experience, these two words mean the same thing in most Australian jobs.

Wikipedia has a good summary account of the role of the résumé which includes:

A résumé (pronounced /ˈrɛzjʊmeɪ/ rez-ew-may or /rɛzjʊˈmeɪ/; French: [ʁezyme]; sometimes spelled resume) is a document used by individuals to present their background and skillsets. Résumés can be used
for a variety of reasons but most often to secure new employment.[1] A typical résumé contains a summary of relevant job experience and education. The résumé is usually one of the first items, along with a cover letter and sometimes job application packet, that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment. The résumé is comparable to a curriculum vitae (CV) in many countries, although in English Canada and the United States résumé is substantially shorter than CV.

To decide how long your résumé should be, make sure you follow any instructions given. It is becoming more common in government job vacancies for the size of the application to have a word or page limit.  For example the DEEDI ‘Guide for Applicants – Making a difference’, the following guidance is given:

You are required as part of your application to provide the selection panel with a resume. Your resume is to provide the selection panel with a summary of your education, work history, and any other training and
skills you have gained through school, study, work experience and hobbies. Your resume should include where you have worked to date, jobs held during your period of employment and major duties performed. Your resume may also contain the details of two referees who can provide an objective assessment of your work performance. Your resume may be considered as a part of an application or may be considered on its own, so it may be vital to include as much information as possible to allow the panel to assess your suitability for the role. A resume should generally be no more than four pages.


 If no limit is given – ask the contact officer or recruitment area what is expected. Generally, if your résumé exceeds four pages, it is too long.


Many government selection panels will give you 15 – 20 minutes to peruse the questions and think of answers before you meet the interview panel.  Good preparation to anticipate questions (especially examples of achievements to demonstrate your capabilities) will assist to maximise this time. Remember that you can take notes with you into this perusal time.

This is a sample sheet that I give to my clients to help them to prepare for interview.









SHAPES STRATEGIC THINKING  (What are the five key messages  that I must get across in relation to this capability?)






EXAMPLE:  (What is the most relevant example I have to demonstrate this capability –  which shows that I have addressed these 5 points)







































Good Luck preparing for your next interview.



Leadership Capability Frameworks are used by organisations to identify the types of capabilities and behaviours expected of their leaders.  Reviewing a framework should give you ideas about achievements to list in your résumé, and appropriate ‘leadership’ words to use.  If the particular organisation where you are applying for a job does not have a framework , there are many frameworks that you can use to prompt your thinking. For example:

1 . Health

NHS Leadership Qualities Framework

2. Education

Education Queensland

Victorian Education

3. Public Service

Australian Public Service  

Glasgow City Council

4.  Business

SHL Leadership Model

Health is a large and complex industry sector, with many funding and workforce challenges in the coming decades (increase and aging of the population, chronic disease, increased use of technologies etc). If you are about to apply for a health leadership role you will probably know a lot about these – if not, you might struggle to be competitive.

When considering a leadership role in the public system, it would be wise to show that you are familiar with State Government Strategic Health Plans, and the Business Plans and Priorities of your local district.  Also you should show that you have thought about the impact of the Australian National Health Reform Agreement on the advertised role.

As a busy clinician/technician wanting to move into a health leadership role, you may not have taken the time to find out what leadership frameworks or development opportunities exist in your organisation. Thanks to the intranet and Google, these are now easier to find.

Here are a few:

NHS Leadership Framework

Queensland Health – Healthcare Culture and Leadership Framework 2010

Victoria Health – LINK in Health (Leadership, Innovation, Networks and Knowledge)

Pan-Canadian Health Leadership Capability Framework Project

Good Luck with your Leadership application. The health sector needs great leaders to lead the coordination and cultural changes required for the future.

If you are applying for a leadership role, your language should reflect that you have shown leadership. Your resume and job interview should show that you are a person
who has ‘ succeeded in …..’ ‘initiated ……..’, ‘championed…………….’, ‘worked in partnership…………….’  etc.  Here is a list of verbs to have in your repertoire:

  •   Championed


  • Positioned


  •   Promoted


  • Anticipated


  •   Modelled


  • Capitalised


  •   Led


  • Focussed


  •   Inspired


  • Nurtured


  •   Motivated


  • Created


  •   Translated


  • Integrated


  •   Challenged


  • Oversaw


  •   Defined


  • Drove


  •   Ensured


  • Delegated


  •   Enabled


  • Built


  •   Sustained


  • Negotiated


  •   Resolved


  • Identified


  •   Represented


  • Mentored and Coached


  •   Took responsibility


  • Committed to action


  •   Established


  • Galvanised


  •   Persisted


  • Overcame


  •   Consulted and Listened


  • Acknowledged


  • Reflected


  •   Achieved

Any other suggestions?

In yesterday’s Courier Mail’s Careerone (p3) the following  was suggested by Phillip Hesketh as a way to end a job interview:

“When you’re being interviewed just say ‘Before I go, on a scale of one to 10, where one is you wish you hadn’t interviewed me, and 10 is you want to offer me the job, where are we?’  ‘Not where am I, but where are we?’

‘They might say ‘eight’.  “And you say, ‘OK, what do we have to do to get it to a 10’.”

I haven’t yet seen a candidate try this – but I notice that this type of question (e.g. ‘Do you have any reservations about my skills that I could address for you?’)  is being used more often by candidates at the end of job interviews . Trying to clarify any misgivings the interviewer may have is a good idea. However, you may find this question doesn’t work when:

  • it sounds like you read it in a ‘how to attend job interviews book and you thought you’d give it a try
  • it comes across as an overly arrogant sales pitch
  • you have already used up your interview time and this question is just a further indicator to the interviewer of your lack of time management and courtesy
  • the interview is conducted by a rigid ‘merit based’ panel process, where panel members may feel that you have had ample opportunity to present what you have to offer, and that responding to this type of question just allows you an unfair advantage

Job interviewers have differing styles, preferences and biases about how to conduct interviews and what to look for in candidates. Some will see it as bad form if candidates do not ask questions.  Others run very tight processes that dont allow time for candidates to seek out any futher information.  These are my tips:

  • questions are a way to engage in a more personal and real way with an interviewer, and can show that you have researched their Company and thought about how you could fit.
  • check out the interviewer’s body language when they ask ‘Do you have any questions?’ See if they are relaxed and truly looking for you to ask questions – or turning the page, shuffling and looking at their Blackberry/watch.
  • if you ask a question, make sure that it is something that you are genuinely interested in about the job, and shows a high level of research and analysis about the Company.  Maybe:  ‘ I notice your Company/Department has just acquired ……………… In my last assignment in Economics I did a lot of reading about…………………Will there be opportunities in the first year to have a placement in this new area?’
  • definitely do not ask for information about something that is readily available to you by internet research about the Company. Most employers put out a lot of information about their graduate programmes, so it is very lame to ask basic questions like, ‘How many rotations will I have in the first year?’  
  • avoid just saying ‘No’. Maybe the best way to end is to say in your own words:  ‘Thank you, I don’t have any questions but I do want to thank you for the opportunity to attend this interview.  I have attended Career Fairs and spoken to people from your company, followed discussions on your Graduate Facebook page and online chat sessions, and read about the experiences of your previous graduates. I am confident that your Company is where I would like to start a career. If it is all right with you may I quickly summarise what I have to offer?’ Then follow this up with three key attributes that you can bring to the Company (sometimes referred to as your ‘thirty second sell’).


Good Luck with your Graduate application and interview.

When you are engaging someone to assist you with the writing of selection criteria, you need to decide if you require a basic or more expert level of support.

The basic level of support includes providing information to a writer, who will then take this information and ensure it is well presented, and in the appropriate format.

If you need more expert assistance, including understanding recruitment processes and selection criteria, you may need to engage the services of a ‘job coach/writer’ with recruitment and human resource experience.  A good job coach will brainstorm with you to find your most complex and relevant examples for the advertised role.

For example, when addressing the criteria/capability ‘personal drive and integrity’, I will ask my clients questions like:

  • When have you enthusiastically attended or organised training in relation to Values, Code of Conduct, Ethics, Respectful (harassment-free and non-discriminatory) Workplaces, Fraud or Conflict of Interest?
  • When have you taken on roles to show your commitment to quality workplaces (e.g. harassment contact officer)?
  • Can you think of a time when you have identified something that needed to be improved in your team, then went and did something about it?
  • Tell me about some times when you have been given a difficult job (lack of staff, tight deadlines, technology problems…..), but stuck at it and achieved a good result?

If the vacancy is a team leadership role, I will be looking for higher-level examples, through questions such as:

  • What have you done to ensure everyone in your team has had the appropriate corporate training? Have you ever introduced a ‘Values’ training session to show your Agency’s commitment to these Values?
  • What do you do in your team meetings to show that you are committed to non-discriminatory workplaces?
  • Have you identified, investigated or worked with corporate service teams to resolve harassment of fraud or code of conduct matters?
  • When have you been selected to undertake a challenging project?

For senior leadership roles, examples that are more significant will be sought through discussing:

  • What have you done to ensure your division/Department has shown leadership in engaging and retaining employees?
  • Where have you identified something that would enhance a new policy initiative and worked across divisions or with other government departments to make this happen?
  • What have you done to build a culture that reinforces appropriate risk-taking, initiative and personal resilience?

Following this brainstorming, it is important to select examples that are most relevant to the advertised role, and to present these concisely within the word limit.

For more tips on addressing selection criteria – please subscribe to this blog (top left corner).

For expert assistance with writing your claims against selection criteria, you can contact me at


The main season for graduate recruitment in Australia is here. I know this because I am starting to get requests for assistance with filling in graduate application forms. Between March and April, many of the large graduate employers are open for graduate applications. Click here to find the closing dates for a number of significant 2011 graduate programs. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade closes on 22nd March, Centrelink on 27th April, and Commonwealth Bank on 7th April. If you want more details about the major graduate employers in Australia, visit Career Fairs or Grad Connection.

To give you some idea of what you will need to address in an application, the following questions are asked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade graduate application form.

Question 1: Qualifications and knowledge Why are you applying for the Graduate Trainee program in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade? What skills and attributes would you be able to contribute to DFAT’s goals and work? You should give examples based on your academic achievements, work experience and/or extracurricular activities.

Question 2: Written and oral communication skills Provide examples of where your written and oral communication and negotiation skills have been most effective in the workplace or elsewhere. What outcomes were achieved?

Question 3: Conceptual and analytical skills  Describe a situation in which you have had to identify and analyse a problem or issue and then recommend a solution. How did you go about the task? What was the outcome? What constraints did you face in developing the solution?

Question 4: Effective working relations  What makes you an effective team member? How do you respond to problems or conflict within a team? Give an example of how you have contributed to a team’s achievements.

Question 5: Flexibility, adaptability and initiative  Give an example of where you have taken on an unfamiliar task or faced a challenge, whether in the workplace, your studies or extra-curricular activities. Describe how you prepared for and took on that task or challenge. What did you find most difficult about the experience?

If you are applying for a graduate role in the Commonwealth Bank, be prepared to answer the following:

 • Select up to two business unit program preferences. Please tell us why we should consider you for your first preference.

• Please tell us why we should consider you for your second preference.

• Please tell us about the extracurricular activities you have been involved in.

• Why have you chosen the Commonwealth Bank group as a potential future employer?

Why do you think the Commonwealth Bank graduate program aligns with your career goals?

• What does good customer service mean to you?

• Did you attend a Career Fair? Please specify at which Careers Fair you spoke with a Commonwealth Bank representative

• Did you attend a Commonwealth Bank campus presentation? Which campus presentation did you attend?

• Are you a member of a university or industrial society? • What was the main factor that influenced you to apply for the, Commonwealth Bank graduate program?

 Some Tips for completing a Graduate Application Form:

• remember that in these programs employers are not just offering a job. They hope you will grow into one of their future leaders.

 • while employers understand that graduates will apply for a number of organisations, they will be expecting that you are genuinely motivated to work for them. Therefore, you need to research the company or government agency and to make sure you match your achievements, interests and skills to how you can add most value to that employer.

 • it will take time to write good responses for the application form. So set aside quality time, draft your responses in Word, and get someone to proof read your answers before you transfer them across to the online application form.

• start by brainstorming all of your experience, knowledge and achievements – in your studies (individual and group assignments), work, voluntary and community activities. Try to use a different example to highlight your claims for each question.

• talk to people that you respect and get their ideas on what they see as your achievements and strengths. I find that most people overlook significant achievements.

 • it is okay to seek professional help with the writing of responses for your application form, you will not be the only person who does this. However you need to feel that the end result truly represents and matches how you will present to an assessment committee.

• be honest, as the application form is just the start of the selection process. If you overstate your claims you will need to live up to this in the interviews and other assessment processes.

• if you are stuck for the right words to use to fully present your case, you can access free online information, borrow books on selection criteria from the University or Council libraries, or purchase books written about addressing selection criteria. Just make sure that you access contemporary information.

 The good news is that new research by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) shows 21 per cent of employers will increase the scale of their graduate programs in 2010.

Good luck with your application.

For more tips on answering graduate questions – please subscribe to this blog (top left corner).

For expert assistance with preparing your application you can contact me at  or ph 0403766812

If you do a Google search you will find many resume and selection criteria writers – all offering different services. The fees differ significantly, and vary according to what services are included (eg amount of personal consultation, number of drafts provided, level of specialisation of the job, turnaround time;  and whether resume, cover letters, selection criteria and interview coaching are purchased at the same time).

You will find providers who advertise that they will provide a resume for $110.  You should ask if the resume writer will help you with the content of your resume – or whether they just reformat your old resume.  At the higher end, prices are advertised at $349 for Early Career, $549 for Mid Career and $749 for Executive resumes.

With selection criteria, it depends on the number of criteria and length of writing required (i.e is one page per criterion required? or two pages only to cover 5 criteria?).  You should anticipate paying somewhere between $150 – $300 per page.  With very specific technical or executive roles, which require a much greater time commitment and expertise of the writer, a quote of up to $2000 is possible.

You will need to provide information to the job coach or writer. Some providers send you a set of questions based on the job and criteria. Others will interview you. Some prepare a first draft and ask you to fill in specific details.

Most providers will ask for payment before the service commences. Unfortunately – the few clients who dont pay, even when happy with the service – drive providers to establish this rule of business.

Would you invest $200 to $2000 to win that dream job? For many the answer is a clear YES.


Do you need someone who understands the Integrated Leadership System (Australian Government)  or Capability Leadership Framework (Queensland Government)?

Contact me at   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


For further tips on addressing selection criteria – please subscribe to this blog (top left corner).

Good job interview preparation includes anticipating what questions the interviewer may ask. In my job coaching service, I examine the job advertisement and documentation, and draft a set of possible interview questions that link to the vacancy. I coach my clients to structure good answers to these questions and talk about what other questions might be asked.

As all interviewers and interview panels have different preferences, it is impossible to predict exactly what will be asked in an interview. However, it is likely that candidates will be asked to talk about experience and past behaviours. The best candidates will be able to relate this to the job that they are applying for.

I suggest to my clients that they use a ‘CARLA’ approach as part of their interview preparation.

Think of 5-10 of your best achievements – make sure these are relevant to the role you are applying for, and are at the right level of complexity. For each of these achievements write down –

What was CHALLENGING or COMPLEX (strategically and operationally) about this project?

What ACTIONS did you take? Why?

What RESULTS (s) did you achieve? Was it the expected result?

What did you LEARN from this experience?

How can you APPLY what you have learnt to add value to the advertised role?

If you are using this interview preparation approach, it is best to have a CARLA for all the capabilities/criteria that you can identify (from the job documentation) that the employer is seeking. For example, for ‘Team Skills’, your achievement may be CHALLENGING/COMPLEX for any number of reasons – e.g. multidisciplinary team, everyone new to the team, need to produce an outcome in a short timeframe, project linked to a key organisational initiative, matrix structure, new or multiple changes to leadership, shared leadership, resource shortages, redundancies and downsizing of a team, large team, team dispersed across a number of locations, intercultural communication, history of conflict, team brought together from a several divisions, …………

When discussion ACTIONS, consider what factors were significant in the achievements of this team. You need to be ready to discuss what your role was in the team, what strengths you bought to the team, and show a good understanding of what makes an effective team. The factors that you may consider discussing include:

• How was clarity about how the team project fitted with strategic or business goals, and a team vision established?

• Was there a shared understanding of expected outcomes?

• How was awareness of team dynamics, different styles, strengths and weaknesses displayed?

• What strategies were adopted to enhance working together? – planning, prioritising, roles and responsibilities, work allocation, helping others, sharing knowledge

• What communication channels were most effective?

• Was there a focus on collaboration and cooperation?

• What conflict arose and what productive conflict management strategies were utilised?

• Were stress management and celebration of successes relevant?

• How were Values, Code of Conduct, and flexible work practices managed?

• What was the role of respect, tolerance, non – discriminatory work practices, trust and confidence?

• How did team members (and you) display initiative, a solutions focus, resilience and a receptiveness to change?

• How did the team manage setbacks? risks? health and safety issues?

• How did the team monitor and evaluate their effectiveness?


Contact me at   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.





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