Advice and Tips

JK aims to help everyone with their career journey. We understand how confusing it can be to prepare an application for particular roles and sometimes, difficult to know where to start.

We have included some helpful tips and pieces of advice you may find valuable when preparing an application, regardless of the level or role you are applying for.

We have also provided some free templates you can download and edit. We recommend that you select your preferred font style, text size and colour to make your application unique!

Applying for a job; refer to our tips below

Should I Call?

Writing a Cover Letter

Preparing a Resume

Getting your referees right

Preparing Key Selection Criteria

Tips for Interview

Should I call?

  • If you find an advertised role that you think is perfect for you, be bold and pick up the phone! Especially if the advertisement includes contact information – it is important to make the employer aware of your application and separate yourself from the other applicants
  • If the advertisement specifically asks you to request a position description, you MUST do this. Not doing so will reflect negatively on your level of interest in the role
  • Sometimes it can take up to 2 or more weeks after the closing date for an employer to get back to you. If you do not hear back in this time frame, it can be a good idea to follow up to check on the progress of the recruitment process
  • Alternatively, you may decide to follow up with an email – you need to attempt to assess the situation as there is no golden rule

Cover Letters:

  • All applications should include a cover letter customised for each position you are applying for
  • A cover letter should be no more than one page, 3 paragraphs which address the following:
    • Why you are applying
    • Relevant skills and experience you have demonstrated in previous roles, just the highlights – keep it short
    • Personal qualities and attributes which will see you be successful in the role
  • Y ou should also make mention of the title of the position you are applying for and your contact information
  • When writing a cover letter, refer back to the job ad and make sure what you are highlighting, is relevant to the job
  • Use some of the language/phrases/descriptive words from the job ad in your cover letter
  • Presentation:
    • Match the font style to the text in your resume
    • Ensure accurate spelling and punctuation
  • Never submit an application without having it proof read, get a friend or family member to look over it for you

Cover Letter Template


  • Ensure all information is up to date and accurate
  • Ensure you have included a contact number and/or email address to enable employers to contact you
  • List employment history in chronological order from your most recent position to the oldest. Include start and finish dates for each role
  • Be concise, you don’t need to record the same responsibility under multiple jobs (a 2-3 page resume is ideal). Each job should include 4-6 dot points explaining your duties
  • Any qualifications or licences mentioned on a resume must be valid and current, ensure you have copies to provide the employer if requested
  • Include hobbies and interests at the end of the resume so the employer can get to know more about you personally
  • It is recommended to send your resume as a PDF to prevent the format from changing when uploading
  • It is recommended to use the same font style throughout the document, matched to your cover letter
  • Never submit an application without having it proof read, get a friend or family member to look over it for you

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Referee Details

  • It is not necessary to include referee contact details with your initial application. If the employer would like to contact them, they can request these later
  • The employer will want to confirm the following information with your referee(s):
    • How long you worked with the referee for
    • What your responsibilities were when you worked with them and;
    • Your general work performance (punctuality, attendance, attitude, etc)
  • Before providing your referee’s contact information, make sure you have asked the referee to speak on your behalf, this is very important
  • Inform the referee what role(s) you are applying for
  • Ensure the contact information is accurate
  • Ideal referees are people you have worked for or reported to (a manager, supervisor or business owner)

Key Selection Criteria:

  • The purpose of addressing key selection criteria is to demonstrate relevant skills to the role. This is only required when the job advertisement requests a response to the key selection criteria
  • Responses to key selection criteria should be submitted as a separate document from the cover letter and resume
  • The key selection criteria will be listed in the position description. Copy these points to a word document and write maximum of 3 paragraphs for each criteria
  • The responses must include examples of when you have demonstrated the key selection criteria in a previous position. Key Selection are evidence based and provide you an opportunity to demonstrate specific examples of your capability, relevant to the role requirements
  • If there is a key selection you have not had experience with, acknowledge this and include a paragraph about how you would overcome this. You will be more likely to be successful in the position if you are honest and genuine about your experience

Key Selection Criteria Template

Tips once you have submitted an application

  • Make sure your phone message bank has an appropriate and clear voice message
  • Once you have submitted an application, the employer may call you to discuss your application. Be prepared for this – make sure you keep relevant information to the job as handy as possible so when they call you can quickly refer to it
  • If the employer calls you at an inconvenient time, you are better off not taking the call or letting them know it is inconvenient and arranging a mutually suitable time for them to call back
  • If you have applied for a role, regularly check your messages and respond promptly

Tips for Interview

  • Research the company before you attend the interview (their website, social media or any other third party sources)
  • Look at the job ad, position description or any other relevant information prior to interview and prepare to share examples of when you have demonstrated the skills/experience they would be looking for. This preparation may prevent you getting lost for words at interview or having unnecessary silences
  • It is also valuable to prepare some questions to ask at the conclusion of the interview to demonstrate your enthusiasm
  • Research their location and available parking. Make sure you arrive to your appointment 5 minutes early (avoid arriving any earlier as this can be seen as rude if the interviewer has a busy schedule. 1 minute late is also far too late)
  • All interviewers expect people to be nervous so don’t be concerned if you come across as nervous. Remember that you are there to let them know how and why you would be able to do a great job in the role
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and let them know you look forward to hearing from them


  • Take pride in your appearance and take time and care, make an effort – the interviewer will notice!
  • When deciding what to wear, we recommend you wear something that enables the employer to see you doing the job, you can just as easily over dress as under dress
  • Don’t wear a hat or sunglasses
  • Don’t take unrelated things into the interview eg. drinks
  • Don’t take your phone in to the interview – you won’t need it
  • If you are a smoker, don’t have a cigarette immediately prior to your interview
  • Remove facial piercings
  • If you are interviewing for a labouring or hands on role:
    • Simply wearing jeans and a shirt will be sufficient. It is up to you to assess whether or not to wear work boots
    • If you are interviewing at a work site, it is always a good idea to have work boots and hi-vys in your car ready to go
    • Shave or tidy your facial hair
  • If you are interviewing for a clerical role:
    • Dress conservatively and professionally, an employer will notice the effort
    • Unless the role is a professional/ corporate role, wearing a formal suit/jacket and tie may be unnecessary
    • If you are unsure, be ready to ask the interviewer what to wear when they call you initially to book in the interview


Final tip from JK when looking for work, particularly if that work is in the retail, hospitality or beauty industries – Be Proactive!

Ballarat is a small community and it is beneficial to print off copies of your resume and “hit the pavement”

Approach local businesses directly and hand in your resume even if they may not have a vacancy advertised. Many employers wont advertise a role, being in the right place at the right time may be all you need.

It can also be worth while to contact businesses directly and enquire about their hiring process so next time they are looking, you don’t miss out!