How to tackle a statement of claims

During the last couple of years there has been a move across the APS to ask job applicants to write a statement of claims. These statements are usually limited to one or two pages or a word limit.

For example:

  • What skills and qualities would you bring to a role, referring to the key qualities, skills and experience listed?
  • A statement of claims (maximum 2 pages) describing how your skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications would make you suitable for this role, giving consideration to the selection criteria.
  • A pitch (1,550 words max.) addressing … How do you see the position you are applying for supporting the department to achieve this? [this being a high-level goal]. What skills, experience and knowledge will you bring to the position?
  • As part of your application you will need to answer two questions, to tell us how your skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications make you the best candidate for this opportunity.
  • As part of your application you will need to provide a ‘one page pitch’, referencing the ILS detailing your relevant skills and experience against the position requirements.
  • Please prepare a one-page statement in relation to the advertised role, outlining: how your skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to this role; why you are interested in the role and what you can offer us; any specific examples or achievements that demonstrate your ability to perform the role.
  • Please provide an outline of interest outlining how your skills, knowledge and experience equip you to undertake the role. Please provide concrete examples of your relevant experience to date. (750 words)

Applicants may be asked to take account of:

  • The role description
  • Key qualities, skills, experience
  • Our ideal candidate
  • Selection criteria
  • Duties
  • The Integrated Leadership System
  • Work Level Standards.

Some details to note about these statements:

  • They are not asking you to write responses to selection criteria, even where criteria are listed.
  • It is not possible to say why you are the best candidate as you don’t know who you are competing with. It’s the panel’s job to make this decision.
  • Even where selection criteria are used, it is often not possible to cover all of them within the page or word limits.
  • A ‘pitch’ is essentially a marketing document that invites you to make a case to convince the panel that you offer a desirable set of goodies (skills, experience, qualities, knowledge).
  • Departments continue to refer applicants to Cracking the Code. This document provides no help with pitches, statement of claims, nor responding to the ILS.
  • You are likely to have more information than is possible to cover in your document.

Given these restraints, how can you approach crafting your statement or pitch?

  • As with any role, do some research. Search websites, read documents, talk to the contact person.
  • Analyse all the material about the role: duties, essential requirements, capabilities, criteria, standards. Identify what is critical to the role.
  • Note whether you are applying for a role at a level, in which case there may be several roles at level, or a single role where the information is specific to that role. If there are multiple roles at level, then pitching to the level becomes more important.
  • Craft a response using three sections:

Opening short paragraph: summarise your key skills, strengths, experience, knowledge and how these will enable you to make a contribution to the work area, role, organisation (whichever is appropriate)

Bulk of statement: a series of examples that demonstrate several skills and capabilities and are relevant to the role.

Closing sentence or two confirming your interest in the role.

  • Edit to meet the page or word limits.

What you’re aiming to do is write a statement that is:

  • Coherent: has a logical structure that makes your case and is easy to read.
  • Evidence-based: supported with examples that demonstrate several skills.
  • Motivation-based: explains your interest in the role and what your value is.
  • Succinct: Every word must support your case.
  • Tailored: material is tailored to the role, the level, the context (i.e. the agency)

These statements are different from writing responses to selection criteria. They are demanding to write because of the limits placed on them and the change in style.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.