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Fact sheet 4 : Applying for APS jobs

Get the facts

APS job ads usually include the following, which will help you decide if it is the right job to apply for:

  • the name of the position
  • the location of the job
  • the salary range and the classification level
  • a description of the job and its role
  • whether it is ongoing or non-ongoing
  • a phone number or web link to the duty statement, selection criteria and/or application kit
  • the name and contact details of a contact officer.

Good applications make a positive impression and can lead to an interview. Don’t apply just for the sake of it. Select the right job and prepare a strong (and accurate) application highlighting your skills, experience and abilities, and how they meet the requirements of the job. Your application will be assessed on the basis of merit.

It is important to provide all the information specified in the application kit. This may include some or all of the following:

  • a cover letter advising which job you are applying for, and including a short summary of your skills and abilities
  • a cover sheet
  • a copy of your CV (or resume)
  • a statement addressing the selection criteria
  • contact details for your referees.

You may be asked if you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, from a non-English speaking background or have a disability. It is not compulsory to provide this information. However, by doing so you will assist the APS in providing a fair and equitable selection process and monitoring our commitment to overcoming possible employment-related disadvantage.

In the know…tips and hints

Remember to check spelling, punctuation and grammar, and be succinct. The written application itself shows how well you can communicate, and if written well, can make a positive impression.

In the know…tips and hints

Sometimes people get jobs without going through an interview. Is your application good enough to get you the job?

Find out more


Application kits: provide information about the job, the agency, the duty statement and selection criteria.

Classification: refer to the level of the job. See fact sheet 3.

Contact officer: can provide information about the job. See fact sheet 3.

Cover sheet: a form asking for your contact details, recent work history, citizenship status, whether you have a disability, are from a non-English speaking background, or are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Duty statement (or role description): describes the work you would do in the role, including the key tasks and responsibilities of the job.

Mandatory qualifications: some jobs require specific qualifications or skills that you must have to be considered for the job.

Merit: means you will be assessed on your skills, abilities and experience and how well they meet the requirements of the job, compared to other applicants. See fact sheet 1.

Non ongoing: employment for a specified time frame or task, most commonly 6, 12 or 18 month periods.

Ongoing: permanent employment, subject to termination provisions.

Selection criteria: details the skills and qualities required by the person to perform the role. It is likely that you will have to provide a written response to the selection criteria as part of your job application. See fact sheet 5.

In the know…tips and hints

If you are currently working and you don’t want your employer to know that you are looking for another job, then it is okay to not include referee contact details in the application. However, it is important to clearly state that you are willing to provide these details if you are in close contention for the job.

In the know…tips and hints

If you need more information about the role or the process, call the contact officer and ask them. For example, you may want to know about upcoming work priorities, the work environment or the timeframe for announcing the decision.

Myth versus reality: My CV is all I need to get an interview

Unless otherwise stated, you should include your CV, a response to the selection criteria, a cover sheet or letter, and if possible the contact details of your referees. Read the application kit to ensure you are providing the required information.

Myth versus reality: An internal person is already lined up for the job

The position may be vacant, or it may be temporarily filled by an APS employee. However, this does not guarantee them the job. If that employee wants the job they have to apply through the same process as you and be assessed against the strengths of all applicants. If you want the job and are confident you have the skills and abilities required, then you should apply.