As part of the job application process, you may be asked to respond to key selection criteria (KSC). KSC describe the knowledge, skills, abilities and experience required to successfully do the job. They’re often used for positions in the public sector, education, health and occasionally the private sector. Although it can take a while to get the hang of writing KSC responses, it does get easier with practice.
To address key selection criteria, you’ll need to write statements that describe when, where and how you developed the skills and knowledge required for the position. If you’re not sure how to get started, here are a few simple steps to help you construct your responses.
1. Do some basic research
Spend time researching the employer and the role. Look at what the company’s values are, what their purpose is and what goals they are trying to achieve. This will help you to create more targeted statements that demonstrate how you are a good fit for the role.
2. Read the selection criteria carefully
Think about what the employer is really asking for and make sure you have a clear understanding of the skills and qualities being assessed – highlight key words and phrases, such as ‘Experience in’ and ‘Knowledge of’. It’s important to recognise and address these subtle differences. Then, use the highlighted key words in your KSC response.
3. Support your claims with evidence
Avoid making generic statements such as ‘I have outstanding communication skills’. This is your opinion; the employer needs evidence that this is true – quantify where possible (hint: percentages may sound better than raw figures). Provide concrete examples of your relevant skills and experience gained through university study, internships, employment, volunteer work and extra-curricular activities. Focus on outcomes you have achieved and match these to the selection criteria.
4. Construct statements using the STAR model
For some roles, you’ll need to address key selection criteria in paragraph form. A useful way of constructing your responses is to use the STAR model:
Situation – describe the context of your example (what, when, where, who?)
Task – what was the task you performed or problem you solved?
Action – how did you complete the task, handle the situation or solve the problem?
Result – what was the outcome you achieved? Remember, numbers help.
For help writing a STAR and to see a sample response, check out page 48 of our Graduate Employment e-book.
5. Proofread your application
With some jobs attracting a huge number of applicants, even a small typo or grammatical error can result in your application being thrown onto the ‘no’ pile. With that in mind, make sure you proofread your key selection criteria responses before submitting.