Deadline looming for an application form?

14th Oct 2020
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Stuck in the weeds with your public service application form? Not sure what examples to use? Or how much detail to include?

Here’s some tips for tackling this part of the interview process:

Get specific – Go through the application form with a highlighter pen and identify each competence required for the role. Applying for Executive Officer? You need to prove you have Interpersonal and Communications Skills, for example. ‘Prove’ is the key word here. Before you start typing, dedicate time to building a bank of impressive, relevant examples to prove you have the competence in each area. There’s no point theorising about what makes a good leader. You need to show the reader of your form what you did in the past to create the understanding that you can do it again in the future.

Structure your answers – People get stuck on how much background detail or context to include in their answers. Remember, each answer in a competency-based application form needs to tell the reader how well you did something and the positive outcome you reached as a result. For example. There was strong resistance from a member of my team to the office’s move from paper-based files to a digitised system and the project was at risk. I met this individual on a one-to-one basis several times, actively listened to their concerns and learned that they were concerned about their technical knowledge and ability to use the new system. I used my communications skills to convince them of the benefits this new system would bring to them in their role in terms of time efficiencies and to assure them that they could avail of extra training. As a result of my ability to communicate clearly and effectively, I drove this project over the line and that individual is now training staff on how to use the new system.

Just write – Don’t spend hours worrying about crafting perfect prose. Just get the words down on the page. No matter how messy. Go back at the end to proof, edit and whip it into shape.

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