Selection Criteria

What are selection criteria?

Selection criteria describe the key skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications and capabilities required to successfully fulfil a job role. All job advertisements contain selection criteria, such as:

  • good communication skills
  • ability to work well in a team
  • attention to detail
  • a qualifying degree

Employers will shortlist applicants for interview based on how well their job application addresses the selection criteria in the job ad.

STAR formula for selection criteria

A good way of addressing selection criteria is to use the STAR formula:

  • Situation - where, when and context of your example
  • Task - the task or problem to be solved
  • Action - how you solved the problem, fulfilled the task or handled the situation
  • Result - the outcome achieved as result of your action/s

For each of the headings refer to the one example from your work or study experience.
80% of your answer should focus on the 'Action', describing what you did and how you did it.

STAR method

Selection criteria and Public Service job applications

The public service, the welfare sector, professional associations and various educational institutions require job candidates to complete a separate document, in addition to a cover letter and resume. This document needs to address the selection criterion in detail.

The Australian Public Service Commission has information and fact sheets available on Cracking the Code: How to apply for jobs in the Australian Public Service. This guide can help applicants in writing their applications, including addressing the selection criteria.

Dr Ann Villiers has written a great book "How to Write and Talk to Selection Criteria" (published by Mental Nutrition, 2005) which has a chapter dedicated to writing for APS positions. A copy of this is available for students to read at the Careers Centre Resource Library.

The Selection Criteria website has more information such as writing applications, working for the APS and living/working in Canberra.

Selection criteria and Graduate Program job applications

Many Graduate Program applications require candidates to complete a separate (often online) application form that addresses selection criteria in further detail than the cover letter and resume.

Selection criteria and private sector job applications

Most private sector organisations expect candidates to address the selection criteria in the cover letter and resume. It is important to tailor each resume and cover letter to address the unique selection criteria in each job advertisement.