Just like writing a job application, the key to writing an application for the WA Training Awards is to sell yourself.
Sometimes it can be hard to sell yourself in an application or an interview – you may feel like you are boasting about yourself. Don’t think of it as boasting – what you’re doing is providing the panel with the evidence they need to select you as a semi-finalist.
The most important thing you can do is talk about your skills, abilities and achievements in relation to the selection criteria and back it up with examples of when you’ve used those skills in your training and work.
Your written application is the deciding factor for whether you get an interview or not, so you need to ensure you’ve given the panel every reason to shortlist you.
Show don’t tell
Your application must include examples from your training and work. To really sell yourself, you need to show the panel through an example of when you’ve used those skills, don’t just tell them that you have the skills. If you’re not sure what examples to use, visit the Tools page on the WA Training Awards website and download the evidence guide for your category. Alternatively, brainstorm with your employer, lecturer, VET Coordinator or a colleague.
What’s your message?
Be clear on what your message is. Why is your VET qualification and your career pathway important to you? What difference has it made in your life and therefore, what difference could a VET pathway make in anyone’s life? Once you are clear on this, weave your experiences around this message into your application.
For example, WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2014 Taylor Wood wanted to show other school students that taking on a VET pathway isn’t a ‘second option’, that VET qualifications lead to rewarding careers just as tertiary pathways do. Taylor’s message was to encourage school students to pick a pathway that leads them to their dream career regardless of whether it was through VET or university.
WA Apprentice of the Year 2016 Brendan Carlson had been in the army for six years prior to starting his apprenticeship. For Brendan, it was his electrical apprenticeship that helped him to transition from military life back into civilian life. Brendan’s message was about the power of apprenticeships – how they can change your life and the opportunities apprenticeship pathways can provide for ex-Australian Defence Force personnel.
Understand the end goal
The judging panels are looking for ambassadors for the VET sector. People whose stories inspire others to follow in their footsteps. People who are passionate about what they do and know the value of the skills they’ve learnt to work in their field and have a successful career. When you apply for a WA Training Award, you are applying to be an ambassador, so show the panel why your knowledge, experience, journey and message sets a positive example for others.
Selling yourself might not come naturally to you. For most people, it is not common place to self-promote and it would rarely be appropriate in any other social interaction. But when it comes to writing an application and preparing for an interview, put the time into considering your strengths and what sets you apart from others and ensure that is what you put into your application.
Applications for this year’s WA Training Awards close on Friday 5 May 2017. Sell yourself to our judging panels this year and submit your application today. Visit dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards for further information.