As a written version of a 30-second elevator speech, a pitch is becoming increasingly popular.
Most Government Departments are now requiring written pitches as part of the application process. These usually replace the traditional method of individually addressing the selection criteria.
Generally, Government Departments and Agencies limit responses between 500 and 1,000 words (or between one and two pages).
How to structure your pitch
Start strong by writing 1-2 sentences to summarise your most relevant skills, experience and qualities.
Example: “With over 10 years of experience at a senior level within the Department of Human Services, most recently spending three years overseeing the performance of five sites within the Zone North area, I have demonstrated the ability to motivate multiple teams to deliver on set objectives at both strategic and operational levels.”
In 2-3 sentences, explain why you’re attracted to the role and the organisation. Try to connect this with the specific objectives, mission and vision of the Department, which are usually found in the ‘Who we are’ or ‘About the department’ section of the job applicant kit. Use this paragraph to share what you know about the prospective employer.
You can then use the succeeding sentences to briefly mention how you can use your skills and personal attributes to help the organisation achieve its objectives and overcome its current challenges.
In the succeeding paragraphs, focus on specific examples that relate to the selection criteria required for the role.
You’re not required to use a different example to demonstrate each skill. For example, if the position overview states that the employer is looking for someone with strong communication skills, the ability to problem solve and work as part of a team, you can use just one example to demonstrate all these skills.
But before providing examples to support the criteria, write a broad statement about meeting each criterion. Make sure to use the same language as the job advertisement so that your audience knows you are referring to the right skill set.
Example: “My advanced research and analytical skills are best demonstrated through my involvement in major programs at the Department of Human Services where I participate in evaluating multifaceted information about complex social issues, such as homelessness and literacy problems.”
The STAR model
Following the broad statement, you can now provide specific examples to demonstrate how you’ve met the criteria. Try to craft your response using the STAR model:
- Situation – Describe the circumstances where you applied the skills or qualities. What was the challenge you faced? Why was it a challenge? What was it difficult? This situation can be from your current or previous job, volunteer role, University courses, or any other relevant event when you can demonstrate your skills against the position overview.
- Task – What was your role or responsibilities in this situation? What was the goal or objective that you were working towards?
- Actions – What actions did you take? Why did you take those actions? Make sure to include the specific steps you took and the skills you demonstrated. If describing a team or group work, be specific on the things you did yourself to contribute to the end result.
- Result – What was the end result or outcome? Try to include numbers and figures, if possible. Don’t just say your work was a success or you got appreciated by your manager or stakeholders. Demonstrate why the result was good, or better yet, how it could have been better and what you did to reflect this moving forward.
If you’re not able to cover all selection criteria using one example, try to use another example in the next paragraphs.
Because of the word and/or page limit, don’t waste space by mentioning information that’s already available on your resume. For example: “In my current role as a Policy Officer at the Department of Home Affairs…”
Close with a strong statement about why you should be considered for an interview. This is where you can also mention any ‘desirable’ requirements that you possess.
Your resume should complement your pitch, so you have to make sure it’s customised to reflect the selection criteria.
The current model of writing a one- or two-page pitch is no doubt much harder for applicants. But the benefits include more streamlined recruitment procedures that are not as labour intensive.
If you’re not selected as the successful candidate, you may choose to seek feedback from the selection panel.
In some cases, where you’re not the preferred candidate, your application may be placed on a merit list where you’ll be considered for future similar roles within the Department within the next 12 months.