2-page Cover Letter Addressing the Statement of Duties

How to write a 2-page cover letter that addresses government requirements

The point is to get the point.

Jacquie Liversidge

By Jacquie Liversidge

How to write a 2-page cover letter that addresses government requirements

More and more, there are content length limitations placed on selection criteria responses. 

This is due to enormous selection criteria responses being submitted for government roles filled with content that is only somewhat relevant.

When applicants write their selection criteria, there is a tendency to fill the selection criteria with ‘padding’, or useless material, to increase the length.

Length certainly isn’t everything. When it comes to selection criteria, you want to get your material out quickly and efficiently with the most impact and the lowest word count.

This is where directions for a 2-page cover letter come in to play.

How to spot it when it applies

Either on the applicant guide or the initial link to the prospective role, there will be a section titled ‘How to Apply’. 

Read this section carefully and make sure you are aware of what the directions are.

What you should do now

Click on the position description and look over what is listed therein.

On the position description for most government applications, you will usually find the following sections titled exactly like this, or very similarly:

  • Position Objective
  • Major Duties
  • Responsibility, Decision-Making and Direction Received
  • Knowledge, Skills and Experience (Selection Criteria – in relation to the major duties)

We need to really know what these are. Great! Now we know what we are writing to.

Here’s an example of a two page cover letter addressing the required sections Queensland Government. Increasingly, these questions are values based, as they were below:

What we did here:

  • Introduction: why you’re applying
  •  The question, included to make this easier for HR.
  • Our response, with the topic sentence (first sentence) repeating the question. (Do this for all questions)
  • A call to action (CTA) statement ending the cover letter
  • Professional sign-off

Tips, tricks and other information to note:

Yes, you still have to address the selection criteria.

Yep. But within a cover letter.

Traditionally, where the position description asks for responses to the selection criteria, you would develop your questions and title them with the question. This still works. It’s not necessary to include the question you are responding to, and sometimes it is explicitly advised against., in which case, our responses above are still perfect. We only have to remove the question which we have inlcuded.

Yes, it’s a little confusing. Basically, you need to demonstrate your knowledge, and the best way to do that is by developing the STAR responses utilising examples, like what we have above.

Be concise.

Get the message out across quickly. 

Basically, a good rule to adhere to, is that if you haven’t told the story in less than 300 words, you’re not telling it right. 

Focus on the inner content

Save your space for the real content that will get you selected by keeping your introduction short and to the point, and your call-to-action statement at the end within 2 sentences.

Introduction example: I wish to submit my application for the position of Communications Officer as listed on the Tasmanian Government jobs website. I am confident I would be an ideal candidate for the position given my extensive experience within the corporate communications environment, my proven successes in a variety of roles and my strong interest in supporting strategic objectives through strong external communication.

Call-to-Action example: Thank you for taking the time to consider my application for the role of Communications Officer. Please do not hesitate to contact me on the details contained herein for further information or to arrange an interview.

Focus on the inner content

Save your space for the real content that will get you selected by keeping your introduction short and to the point, and your call-to-action statement at the end within 2 sentences.”

Keep your content focused on the selection criteria. Keep it concise and make every work count.

And that’s all folks. 

Happy hunting!

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