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Application hints and tips

We get a lot of questions from graduates wanting to know how they can increase their chances of success.  Every department will conduct their recruitment processes differently so the following tips are provided to applicants as a general guide only.

Resume tips

  • Use a clear, simple layout
  • Include information such as:
    • your professional work history
    • other relevant work experience (paid and unpaid)
    • professional memberships
    • education and training qualifications
    • professional certifications
    • your experience with hardware, software, languages and databases (if you're applying for a technical role).
  • Your resume is the first impression the graduate program coordinators will have of you. Use a professional font, check your spelling and grammar and include relevant information about your degree.
  • Supply a professional email address and phone number that you use and access regularly. Does your email address and voicemail message provide a good first impression to a potential employer?
  • Make sure your referees know you are providing their contact details as referees. Provide them with a copy of the role description you are being considered for where possible.
  • What would Google tell an employer about you? Google your name regularly - you would be surprised at what can come up in the search results. This includes your social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.  Ensure your posts don't jeopardise your future career opportunities.

Graduate Portal tips

  • Enter your graduation date correctly on the application form. In your resume, include the date you will actually complete your studies and the date you expect to have your degree conferred.
  • You only need to apply once to be considered for all opportunities in participating departments. If you apply early in the year, you will be considered for opportunities until the portal closes.
  • If you are a current student, register for student opportunities such as cadetships and scholarships, work experience, vacation employment and industry placements. Find out more.

Written application tips

  • If you are asked to submit a written application, it is critical that you follow the instructions carefully. This may appear obvious but many people trip up by not providing what they are asked to.
  • Where possible, use examples in your written application that demonstrate you have experience/skills/knowledge to perform the job you are applying for.
  • Keep your written application short and factual.
  • Avoid using phrases in your resume and written application like "participated in" - this could simply mean you made the coffee! Instead, be specific and tell the panel exactly what you did i.e. "I was responsible for" or "I supported the committee by".
  • A good way of responding to a written application and interview question is to make sure your examples follow the START method:
    • explain the Situation
    • what your Task was
    • what Action you took
    • the Result, and
    • how this experience would Transfer to the position you are being considered for.
  • Online testing: complete the test in a quiet room without distractions (ie phones/TV) and avoid testing while you are feeling unwell or tired.

Interview tips

Preparation is the key to your success.

  • Always research the organisation you are being interviewed by to get a good understanding of  its business, its customers and any other information that might be relevant to your role.
  • Think about some situations you have handled previously that may be relevant to the role you're being interviewed for. Consider the steps you took to resolve the situation or tackle the task and how these steps could be applied to hypothetical questions you might be asked at interview.
  • Your general skills may have been derived from other experiences (i.e. uni group assignments), but can be just as valid – think about how you can transfer these skills from one role or experience to another.
  • Be prepared to talk about what didn't go well and what you have learnt from these experiences.
  • Check if you are required to bring any supporting documentation or items of completed work.
  • Write down any questions you might have about the role or the organisation and ask them at the end of the interview.

On the day

  • You will usually be allowed to read the questions before your interview (generally 10-15 minutes perusal).
  • Present yourself well, be punctual and friendly and try to relax
  • If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification.
  • Use as many examples as you can to demonstrate your breadth of skills/abilities (preferably different ones to the ones in your application). Just saying you can do something isn't enough - you need to be able to demonstrate it.

General tips

  • Give your referees a copy of the role description for positions you are interviewed for so they can prepare their responses and give the best referee report possible.
  • Consider questions such as, "Why do I want this job? What can I offer to the organisation that no one else can?"
  • Talk about the outcomes of your work, where possible and relevant  in both your written application and your interview. Try asking yourself "so what?" after each point or sentence. Does it clearly demonstrate what you achieved? 'Managed the project budget' is not as impressive as 'managed a $2000 budget, delivered all outcomes and saved 15%'.

Last updated:
3 May, 2016

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