Ah cake, delicious cake. Weddings, birthdays, the fact it’s 3pm on a Wednesday – any excuse will do. My personal favourite is the mini Cookies & Cream cupcake from Cupcake Central, which I used to treat myself to whenever I had a job interview (sadly, Geelong is currently lacking in the Cupcake Central department). Not only is cake a great reward that can be used to celebrate milestones throughout your job search, it is also the perfect metaphor for how you should approach your application documentation.
In this metaphor your resume is the bottom layer of the cake. Targeted to an industry (e.g. Community Services) or occupation (e.g. Youth Counsellor), your resume should outline your relevant skills, experience and training in basic, to-the-point fashion. Use dot points rather than long paragraphs to get the information across, making the document clear, concise and easy for employers to find the details they want. Your resume should provide the base of your application, painting a picture of who you are and what you have to offer.
Your cover letter is the middle layer of the cake and a chance to build upon the information contained within your resume. It is here that you should be highlighting why you want to work for this particular employer, as well as going in to more detail about the skills, experience and training you have to offer that directly match the requirements of the role. It is also an opportunity for you to inject some personality into your application, making yourself memorable to the employer and not just another name on a piece of paper. Just don’t go making yourself memorable for the wrong reasons, you should be making the employer want to find out more about you, not file a restraining order against you!
Key Selection Criteria
If applicable, your responses to key selection criteria are the top layer of the cake. Not all applications will require a separate document addressing key selection criteria, but for those that do this is where you get down to the nitty gritty and provide in-depth, specific examples of situations you have been in where you have demonstrated the relevant skills the employer has indicated the role requires. Each criteria should have a separate response that is 1-3 paragraphs in length, and all should use a different example.
When putting together your application documentation don’t forget that its purpose is to get you to the next stage – an interview. This is where you will have the opportunity to elaborate even further on your suitability for the role, providing the icing on the cake. Now please excuse me while I duck out to the bakery, I’ve suddenly got a craving for a slice of cheesecake!
Written by our resume queen, Christina. Sign up for Christina’s resume workshop to find out all the resume tips and tricks.