Apply for jobs online

Apart from having an online profile that employers can view, your job application is the first point of contact with a potential employer. Take the time to consider and prepare your application properly.

Most job applications will expect you to supply a cover letter, resume and a statement addressing the selection criteria. Read the advertisement thoroughly and assess whether you accurately meet the selection criteria.

It is always best to communicate with the contact person listed for any clarification you may need.

Make sure your application looks professional and is error free. Proof reading is essential – a poorly presented application will make a bad first impression!

Man in a brightly light study area, working on his laptop.

Things to do

Understand selection criteria

Selection criteria describe the key skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications and capabilities required to successfully fulfil a job role. employers use this criteria to assess applicants fairly and consistently so they can select on merit. All job applications will ask you to address them.

Some examples are:

  • good communication skills
  • ability to work well in a team
  • attention to detail
  • a relevant qualification.

When applying for a job you must address each selection criteria by stating how your skills meet the requirements, including relevant examples to support your case. Examples can be from your experience, volunteer work, sport or hobbies. Employers use these criteria to short list applicants for an interview.

Write a short statement for each criteria that demonstrates how you meet the qualities, including:

  • where and when you did something
  • what you did and how you did it
  • what the result was.

Write a good cover letter

Most employers will ask for a cover letter to be included in the application. A cover letter will be the first impression an employer has of you, so make it effective, interesting and unique to you. It is your opportunity to promote your suitability for the organisation. A good cover letter will highlight your written communication skills as well as your personality.

A cover letter should:

  • tell the employer why you want the job
  • express your motivation for the position
  • highlight skills and experience relevant to the position
  • repeat your resume
  • demonstrate knowledge of the organisation
  • have consistent formatting.

Things to avoid in a cover letter include:

  • excessive use of formal or academic language
  • starting every sentence with “I”
  • going over one page in length.

For all the documents you create for a job application, make sure you check the spelling and proof read everything twice!

Apply for jobs online

More and more organisations are expecting you to apply for jobs online. This could be through a registered employment agency, through their own network or via email.

Here are some things to know about applying for jobs online:

  • You may have to register and create a username and password. This will allow you to pause and return to the application process.
  • Before you begin, read the instructions thoroughly.
  • Read through the questions first if possible.
  • Have all of your supporting documentation (resumes, certificates, etc.) ready to submit.
  • Type your responses into a Word document first and save, then transfer online. This protects any technical issues such a computer or server crashes.
  • Stick to the requested word count.
  • Keep a copy of each application you make.
  • Make sure you receive and save the confirmation message that your application has been submitted.
  • Respond to all the questions and write not applicable rather than leave something blank.
  • Use any optional questions to highlight other skills or knowledge that will fit the organisation.
  • Provide relevant examples to your responses.