Applying for Government jobs

Let's just get this out of the way now - I'm not a fan of the public service.

You see, in my book Job Secrets Revealed I try to teach that there are no rules when you're applying for jobs. This isn't true in the public service. They have a rule for everything, including how to apply, what to say and how to say it.

The public service isn't noted for its customer service or expense reduction abilities, so if you want to work for them then you are in for a battle. The fact is that they have "selection criteria" which you must meet. Generally there will be an address for you to write to get a list of these criteria.

Once you have this list, simply organize your experiences and skills that match the criteria. Make it easy for the personnel department by writing down the individual criterion as a heading and then show how your skills match the criteria. You�re marked on how closely to the selection criteria you respond. Similarly, if you make it to a shortlisted interview, your responses are similarly marked and then plotted on a grid with your written application.

As you can see, the public service is a totally different animal to private enterprise. Customer service isn't as crucial here as it is private enterprise, and the desire to make a profit or save money isn't as strong.

What I'm trying to say is that the savings or profit-making ideas you may have that would really interest an employer in the private sector may be met with a yawn in the public sector.

With this in mind try to address the selection criteria as best you can. You could well be competing with thousands of people for certain advertised positions.

When you are interviewed it will probably be a panel interview of about 3 people. (Private companies usually have one person do the interviewing - starting to see what I mean about public service not wanting to save money?)

The fact is that the public service is so regulated by rules that you simply have to play THEIR game. Talk to some people in the department you want to work for. Have a chat with the personnel officer and see what they're looking for and mention speaking to them on the application (who is usually in the area of the unfilled position.)

Also - in order to save you time, check if the position is in fact vacant: many advertised positions are already filled by �temporary� or �acting� public servants who are being put through a formalized process of having their position advertised � thereby ensuring equity when they apply for their own position they may have been acting in for years.

Unfortunately you're pretty much on your own on this one. Prayer, crossing your fingers, networking and even dumb luck may get you the job. I'd try them all.

I'm going to leave it here with the public service. But before you start thinking "But he hasn't told me what to do", let me say this: I don't have to. The selection criteria will do that for you.

If you are particularly skilled at negotiating or lobbying for budget increases or more funding, that may help. Every department would love more money.

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