How to write a stand-out APS application

How to write a stand-out APS application

If you’re interested in securing an ongoing role in the Australian Public Service, you’ll need to submit a compelling application that highlights your skills, experience, and suitability for the role. Here are some tips to help you write a stand-out APS application.

  1. Understand the role: Before you begin writing your application, take the time to thoroughly read and understand the job description. Identify the key responsibilities, requirements, and selection criteria for the role, and tailor your application to address these. Candidates who submit generic, copy-pasted cover letters that don’t address the specific role are rarely shortlisted for interview.
  2. Use the STAR method: It is essential to provide specific examples of times when you have demonstrated certain skills or qualities (rather than just stating, for example, “I have strong leadership skills”). Provide your examples most effectively by using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses. (Australian Public Service Commission, 2020) Check out our blog post all about the STAR method, here.
  3. Reference the Integrated Leadership System (ILS): While addressing the selection criteria listed on the job ad (providing evidence from prior professional or personal experience to support your claims), reference the ‘ILS Leadership Pathway’, which describes the capabilities and behaviours required at every level in the APS. For example, the ILS states that employees at the APS5 level need to be responsive to changes in clients’ needs, whereas employees at the APS6 level need to anticipate and respond to changes in clients’ needs. So, if you’re applying for an APS6 level role, and you’re providing an example of your strong client service skills, make sure your example shows how you anticipated (not only responded to) your clients’ needs.
  4. Be concise and clear: Avoid being repetitive, including unnecessary details, or using technical language that might not be familiar to the reader. Use short sentences and paragraphs, breaking up your text to make it easy to read.
  5. Be honest and authentic: It’s important to be honest and authentic in your application. Don’t exaggerate your experience or qualifications, and don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be yourself, and focus on highlighting your strengths and suitability for the role.
  6. Proofread and edit: Before you submit your application, make sure you proofread it carefully. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure your responses are well-structured and easy to understand. Ask a friend or colleague to read over your application and provide feedback.

Want to discover APS opportunities without going through the hassle of a full APS recruitment process?

Reach out to our friendly team to see whether there are any labour-hire contract or non-ongoing APS contract opportunities you might be suited to.

Deedee Allison
Senior Recruitment Consultant | relatbl
0459 985 117

Felix Krecak
Senior Recruitment Consultant | relatbl
0497 711 249


Australian Public Service Commission. (2020). Applying for an APS job: cracking the code.

Australian Public Service Commission. (2021). Integrated Leadership System.

Crosby, O. (2009). Resumes, Applications and Cover Letters. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, 18-22.

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