Skip to main content

Guide to applying for positions

Guide to applying for advertised roles

The department's approach to recruitment has been to streamline the normal public service recruitment and selection processes. We encourage you to use the information below to help you through the process of applying for a role.


Before you start your application

Carefully read the relevant Job and Person Specification / Role Statement / Job Description. Feel free to speak with the contact officer about the role, ask questions and/or request further relevant information.

An applicant for an ongoing role must be an Australian citizen or have permanent residency status. An applicant for a contract role must have a visa, which allows them to work in Australia for the period of the contract. For further information please visit the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Selection and appointment procedures in the department are guided by the Public Sector Act 2009 and determinations made by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment. The Government of South Australia is an equal opportunity employer.

All selection decisions and offers of employment are free from discrimination or favouritism. They are based on an assessment of merit, attitudes/skills, knowledge and experience. Potential for development could also be considered.

Safety is a core value of the South Australian public sector and the department is committed to providing a safe working environment, and the Department is committed to providing a safe working environment.


The job and person specification or role statement

The role is described in the Job and Person Specification document. The Job and Person Specification has two parts, the Job Specification and the Person Specification.

The Job Specification provides information about:

  • the location of the role within the department
  • the role's functions
  • the reporting and working relationships
  • any special conditions associated with the role
  • the outcomes, duties and responsibilities expected to be achieved by the person performing the role.

The Person Specification provides a list of the essential and desirable criteria a person needs to effectively undertake the responsibilities and duties of the role, such as qualifications, abilities, aptitudes and skills, experience and knowledge.

For each criteria listed, both the skill/behaviour required is described as well as the level or extent to which the occupant needs that skill to perform well in the role.

Some examples of wording used to describe the levels or extent of the skill or behaviour that the position occupant needs are: 

  • 'knowledge of' means that you understand the requirement
  • 'demonstrated' means that you have actually performed the activity or used the skill in the past
  • 'thorough', 'sound' or 'high level' indicates that you have an advanced level of knowledge or skill.


Writing your application

It is the responsibility of a selection panel to recommend the applicant who best meets the requirements of the Person Specification in terms of the definition of MERIT contained in the Public Sector Act 2009.

Based on all the written applications received, the selection panel makes an initial assessment of all applicants' merit in relation to the essential, and any desirable, requirements of the job (as listed in the Person Specification), and decide whether the applicants warrant further consideration.

Therefore, to maximise your chances of being considered further, you must demonstrate in your application that:

  • you meet all the essential requirements of the Person Specification
  • you are capable of carrying out the duties of the role concerned.

Applications should contain:

  • a completed application cover sheet (if required).
  • a covering letter of up to two pages providing sufficient information to demonstrate your suitability for the role. 
  • your curriculum vitae or resume, which should include:
    • name, address and telephone contact numbers (work and home)
    • current position title (and remuneration level if currently a Public Sector employee)
    • education details
    • employment history (at least over the past 10 years) and other relevant experience/history 
    • three current referees (include their names, position titles, addresses and telephone numbers). One of your referees should be your immediate supervisor. 
    • if you are not currently employed in the South Australian Public Sector, you must also include an Employment Declaration. This document is attached to the role advertisement.



If you have relevant academic or technical qualifications gained overseas, refer initially to the Skilled Occupations List on the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for contact details of the relevant assessing bodies for the occupations.


Further information

If you need further information about the role you are interested in, please direct your enquiries to the contact officer for the position listed in the advertisement, or contact us.