Tips and Techniques

The whole job application process, from writing your resume to preparing for the interview, can be a daunting task, so we have prepared some useful tips and techniques to give you a little bit of guidance on how to prepare for each stage.

Writing your resume

Presentation

  • Tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying
  • Use plenty of white space, and a clear font size and style
  • Avoid fancy borders
  • Write in the present tense
  • Use bullet points to highlight accountabilities and responsibilities
  • Explain periods of unemployment such as overseas holidays or home duties

What to include

  • Personal details: full name, address, telephone 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 institution.
  • Employment history: listed in chronological order of the year employed, starting with the current or most recent. Include:
    • Period of employment
    • Position title
    • Organisation
    • Responsibilities
    • 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 conferences
  • Community work: optional
  • Personal interests: optional
  • Referees: include the name, title, organisation, telephone number, and relationship between you and the referee.

Addressing selection criteria

The following information is a guide specifically for people applying for an advertised position with The Housing Trust, as each organisation can differ in what they expect in the selection criteria.

What are selection criteria and why are they used?

The Housing Trust uses selection criteria to determine what qualifications, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities that applicants have for each position.

You must meet the essential criteria to be considered for a position because without having the relevant qualifications, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities you would not be able to do the job. If you do not address or meet the essential criteria you will not be short-listed for interview.

The selection criteria will also form the basis for your interview questions.

The steps in addressing selection criteria

  • Make a separate document from your cover letter and resume.
  • Start your document with your name and title of the job you are applying to.
  • Copy all criteria from the job ad to your document, set them as headings.
  • Go through each criterion and decide if subheadings are needed.
  • Refer to your resume and brainstorm on the examples you are going to use.
  • Address ALL criteria with relevant and specific examples.
  • Use the 3 part structure: general statement + example(s) + statement linked to the job (see detailed example below)
  • Refer to the STAR approach when describing your experience, or use achievement statements when listing examples in bullet points
  • Proof read the document

STAR Approach

  • Situation: What was the situation? This is a brief outline of the situation faced and your role.
  • Task: What were the main issues involved with the situation? What task/s needed to be achieved and what was the desired outcome?
  • Action: What were the steps you took to complete the task?
  • Result: What was the outcome?

Preparing for an interview

Preparation

Being well-prepared will help you feel more confident and relaxed in an interview. 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 Housing Trust.

  • Research the organisation
  • Familiarise yourself with the position description
  • Think about your achievements and the lessons you have learned. Prepare some examples
  • Speak to the recruiter to find out what you can expect at the interview
  • Practise your responses or do a mock interview
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the interview.
  • Dress appropriately – it’s 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 efficiently.

  • Relax and be confident
  • Engage the selection committee in your responses
  • Listen to questions carefully. Take time to think about your responses and structure them to best answer the questions
  • Keep your answers clear and concise
  • If you are unclear about a question, clarify it or ask for it to be repeated
  • Ask any questions relating to the position, projects, business unit, and anything that may impact your desire to work at The Housing Trust
  • For information on the salary, work hours, and terms and conditions, speak to the recruiter or contact officer listed on the advertisement
  • Be yourself

Competency/behavioural questions

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. Again you can use the STAR approach above.

Please contact human resources (link to form that connects to recruitment@housingtrust.org.au) with any questions about your interview.