Generally, applications for government tertiary institutions require the submission of a written response to a set of criteria, key capabilities, responsibilities or questions. In place of a cover letter, more commonly used for private sector applications, the criteria response is a critical component of your application. Applicants are required to demonstrate competency according to the specified criteria through evidence and examples.
Key characteristics of a quality criteria response include:
Writing skills: Given the length and structure requirements of a criteria response, it also acts as an opportunity to highlight your writing skills, in particular your ability to form a structured response, persuasive writing ability, vocabulary, grammar, formatting and spelling. When done thoroughly, a strong criteria response is able to prove to the panel more than just how you compare against given criteria.
Expand on your resume: The criteria response should not be a repeat of what is in your resume. You have limited space to make a strong claim to why you would be a suitable applicant, so avoid repetition. In conjunction with your resume, the criteria response is where you expand on your relevant experience and support claims you have made regarding your skills, experience and abilities.
Ability to perform in the role: The responsibilities and selection criteria within the role description is designed to assess a candidate on their ability to perform. This means that your capacity to illustrate how you meet the specified criteria is a form of assessment on your ability also. While slightly different across the various levels of government, common themes include strategic direction, achieving results, relationships, morals/ethics and communication.