Jobs at UWA

Deciding to apply for a job

Further information

  • Writing your application

Before applying for a vacancy, consider what you really want from your employment.

When you have done so, you can decide whether a job is going to meet your needs and if it is worth applying for.

  1. Exercises
  2. Job availability
  3. Position information
  4. Your decision
  5. Article references


These exercises will help you to determine:

  • whether you want to apply for another job; that is does your current job meet your short-term goals, needs and work values?
  • whether a position you are interested in applying for meets your goals, needs and work values
  • what skills and achievements you already have that you can bring to another position.

Job availability

Advertised positions

Positions at UWA are normally advertised internally and often externally through newspapers and other sources. The main exceptions to this are for appointments lasting less than three months or special cases where an executive dean approves the appointment of someone to a position without it being advertised.

Internal advertising
Most positions are advertised electronically on the Jobs@UWA web page. Information includes the position description, selection criteria, period of appointment, salary range, closing date for applications, and a contact person. Short-term and casual positions may be advertised through email lists such as the Secretaries and University Managers Groups, through the Mobility Program or through the Expressions of Interest list.
External advertising
The most common source of external advertising is the Saturday edition of The West Australian. Newspapers such as The Australian may be used for more senior positions. Positions may also be advertised through email and other external networks.

Unadvertised positions

Some short-term and casual appointments may not be advertised. You can contact different departments to find out if such positions are available.

You may be interested in such positions if you are looking to broaden your skills and experience in the short-term but don't wish to give up your current position. In this case you would have to negotiate a secondment to the position with your head of department and the department where the vacancy has arisen.

If you are considering short-term positions, write to departments where you would particularly like to work, enclosing your résumé and details of what you have to offer, and ask them to consider you if suitable short-term vacancies arise.

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Position information

Position description

All advertised jobs will have a position description that provides:

  • the main role, key tasks and responsibilities of the position
  • to whom the position reports
  • how many positions are supervised, if any

Selection criteria

The selection criteria for the job are usually listed in order of priority.

The criteria identify what is required in order for someone to perform the job effectively, including education, qualifications, training, abilities, knowledge, personal attributes, skills and experience.

You should address the selection criteria in your application.

Copies of the position description and selection criteria for advertised vacancies are available electronically from the Jobs@UWA site or by contacting Human Resources on the 24-hour "hotline" number 6488 3723.

Additional sources of information

You may have additional questions about the duties listed or want more information about certain aspects of the position. The contact person listed in the advertisement should be able to answer specific questions about the duties, as well as general questions about the department or section.

While you can get the information over the telephone, it is better to see the contact person. That way you may also have an opportunity to see the working environment and possibly  meet some of the staff.

Current job-holder

You could also find out more by speaking to the person currently doing the job. They should be able to tell you about the job in detail, as well as what other members of the department or section are like. However, bear in mind that they may have a biased view of the position depending on their reasons for leaving it.

Another option would be to talk to someone who holds a position similar to the one you are considering. This should give you a general picture of the type of work involved, although the specific duties may be different.

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Your decision

You now need to look at your requirements in terms of goals, needs, skills and work values (refer to exercises 1 - 3) to see if they match the job and if they do, you will probably want to apply for it.

This involves submitting a written application, which includes a covering letter and résumé, and which indicates how you meet the requirements of the position.

It will more than likely involve attending an interview.

If the job doesn't meet your needs, it is important to consider carefully whether you want to apply for it. You may decide to apply anyway, for example:

  • if your present appointment is due to expire and you need to look for an alternative position
  • if you want to gain more experience in preparing an application and being interviewed

Remember that you don't have to apply for something that doesn't interest you.

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Article references

  • Bolles, R.N. (1996) What Color is your Parachute? A practical manual for job-hunters and career changers. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
  • Hopson, B. & Scally, M. (1993) Build Your Own Rainbow: A Workbook for Career and Life Management. San Diego: Pfeiffer & Co.
  • Shmerling, H. (1993) Job Applications: The Winning Edge. South Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia.
  • Stevens, P. (1981) Career Development Training Resources: Participant's Resources. Sydney: The Centre for Worklife Counselling

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