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How to apply for a Council job


Key Selection Criteria and Core Capabilities

Within the job advertisement, we may ask you to address either the Key Selection Criteria or the Core Capabilities as part of the application process.  Key Selection Criteria and Core Capabilities are both outlined within the position description attached to the job advertisement.

Key Selection Criteria outline the most important knowledge, skills, behaviours and experience needed to do the job.  The criteria may include technical knowledge and experience, as well as soft skills, and tend to be specific to the role’s specialisation and industry.

The Core Capabilities outlined in the position description are the most important capabilities and general skillsets required to succeed in the position, selected from the City of Whittlesea Capability Framework.  The capabilities describe broad attributes and skills that may apply across many specialisations and industries.

To address either the Key Selection Criteria or Core Capabilities, you will need to write short statements explaining how you meet the criteria, or how you demonstrate the capability. 

It can be useful to support your claim with an example following the Context Action Result approach:

Context - What was the situation; where and when did it take place?
Action - What did you do in response to the situation and how did you go about it?
Result - What was the result of your actions?

Examples can come from all sorts of situations including previous jobs, experience gained outside of work or from formal study.

We encourage you to keep your responses concise but impactful, aiming for 1 – 2 paragraphs per criteria / capability.  Your efforts will ensure we have rich and relevant information to inform our shortlisting decisions. 

Cover letter tips

The cover letter is important in providing a snapshot of what you have to offer. It should be about one page long and summarise your key competencies for the job you have applied for.

The following tips will help you write an effective cover letter:

Know the position you're applying for

It is important that you study the requirements of the position using the position description before you start writing.

Once you understand what is expected of the role, write down the most important items and examples from your past experience that support them.

Demonstrate how your background, education, work experience and abilities make you the ideal candidate for the position. Try to be specific in your application.

Include relevant content

In addition to maintaining a clear writing style, it is important that you include all relevant content.

Your cover letter should address the reasons you are interested in the position and reasons why we should hire you.

Research our organisation

Understanding what we do is important to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Do some research to find out about our objectives and functions and how the position fits within the organisation.

A good starting point is our website and News and publications section.

Structure your information

Your letter should be structured in a logical manner.

  1. Introduction
    Introduce yourself, the position you are applying for and what interested you in the role. In a sentence or two, explain why you are the best candidate for the job (talk about your skills, education, knowledge or experience).
  2. Body
    In the body of your letter, demonstrate the suitability of your background to the experience and skill requirements of the position. You should identify your strengths and accomplishments. There is no need to repeat your résumé, just highlight key points, and provide some supporting evidence.
  3. Conclusion
    Your closing should be brief. Ensure that you thank the reader for their time and consideration. It is also crucial that you provide contact details such as your address, phone number and/or email.

Pay attention to writing style, spelling, grammar and punctuation

A clear writing style will ensure your points are easily understood by the reader.

It is important to be concise while still giving enough detail. To do this, cut out unnecessary words, avoid jargon and avoid overly complex sentences. Be positive in content, tone and word choice.

Ensure that there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors as these will detract from the quality of your letter.

You may like to get a friend to read over it for you to detect things you may have missed.

Résumé tips

Résumés provide a summary of your skills, employment history, experience, knowledge and abilities relevant to the position.

If you spend time researching and demonstrating how your abilities and attitudes match the role being offered, you will have a greater chance of being short-listed.

Your résumé should be about 2 to 4 pages long.

Tailor your résumé

An effective résumé highlights your skills, behaviours, knowledge and experience for the vacant position. Ensure you have a thorough understanding of the position description and tailor your résumé to show why you’re the most suitable applicant for the role.

Format and layout

Competition is tough so your application needs to stand out. A good résumé is well structured, neatly formatted and flows logically.

You should try to make your résumé easy to read through the use of point form and headings for each section.

Your résumé should include:

  • name
  • address
  • contact details - phone number(s), email
  • employment history – start with your most recent job and work backwards
  • education - brief summary. Please ensure that you are able to produce documentary evidence of any formal qualifications required for the job
  • training - any additional training not covered in education
  • personal achievements
  • extra-curricular activities and community involvement
  • hobbies
  • referees – contact details of at two to three referees who can support your claims in relation to the position. At least two should be professional referees and at least one a character referee. Previous supervisors/managers are preferred for the professional referees

Provide evidence

The best résumés demonstrate skills and competencies with evidence. When making a statement, consider the following questions:

  • What value did you bring to the workplace or activity?
  • How did your actions contribute to the goals of the organisation?
  • What part, however small, did you play in: cutting costs, increasing revenue, improving quality, saving time, using technology and/or motivating others?
  • What were the business outcomes?

Providing strong examples will help support your application.

Talk about your achievements

Rather than simply listing job duties in your employment history, try to demonstrate your achievements, what you have learned or the commitment level involved.

By quantifying your achievements, we will get a clearer picture of what you did to develop the skills and qualities we are looking for.

Rather than simply listing job duties in your employment history, try to demonstrate your achievements, what you have learned or the commitment level involved.

By quantifying your achievements, we will get a clearer picture of what you did to develop the skills and qualities we are looking for.

Frequently asked questions about working at Council

What kind of people are you looking for?

We are looking for employees who are friendly, enthusiastic, self-motivated, conscientious and results-driven.

We seek staff who can think creatively, be innovative, and enjoy working collaboratively as part of a team.

We want staff who understand the complexities of a large organisation and who are committed to quality service provision.

We also want people who strive for excellence, pay attention to detail and have the ability to adapt to change.

We need professionals who are good communicators, and who enjoy challenging and diverse work.

We are also looking for people who reflect and support our staff values.

What hours will I work?

Council's office hours are from 8.30am until 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Full-time indoor employees are generally expected to work the hours above, with the possibility of one rostered day off every four weeks.

Full-time outdoor employees are generally expected to work 7.30am until 4pm, Monday to Friday, with one rostered day off each fortnight.

What is the dress code?

The dress code depends on your area of employment. Generally, the following applies:

  • indoor employees are expected to wear smart business attire
  • customer service staff can choose to wear business attire or the corporate uniform
  • outdoor employees will be issued with a uniform

What If I have overseas gained qualifications?

Overseas Qualifications Units or their equivalents provide assessments of qualifications awarded by overseas educational institutions.

When applying for a position at the City of Whittlesea, we encourage you to include details of your overseas qualifications assessment in your application.

For further information have your overseas qualifications assessed by an Overseas Qualifications Unit.

Interview tips

The interview is a crucial part of the recruitment process that gives you the opportunity to further demonstrate your suitability for the role and give a more detailed picture of your capabilities and personality.

Create a good impression

It is important to make a good impression as first impressions last. You should dress according to the workplace.

You should wear corporate business attire, however, if it is an outdoor position, neat casual clothing is suitable.

At the interview, try to relax and act naturally. Maintain good eye contact with the selection panel and convey your interest by answering questions in a positive manner.

Be thorough

Your application and interview may be the only opportunities to promote yourself so you need to communicate why you’re the best person for the job.

Make sure you have done your research and have examples of your work ready to share as they will demonstrate your knowledge, skills and thought processes.

Consider questions carefully

Most of the interview will be about the key selection criteria so you should focus on these during your preparation.

When asked a question, take the time to think about your response. Answer questions honestly, directly and stick to the point.

A detailed yet clear response may be what distinguishes you from other candidates.

If you’re not sure about the question, simply ask the interviewer to rephrase it.

Engage in conversation

The interview panel would like to know more about you, so treat the interview as a two-way discussion.

Think of it as a conversation between people rather than a test.