I am applying for a lecturer position in Australia in computer science. The application process asks for "a statement addressing the selection criteria outlined in the position description". An enumerated list of n (say, n=8) selection criteria is available in the job announcement. The criteria are heterogeneous, ranging from simple "PhD title or equivalent" to elaborate "a high level of communication skills". Which high-level structure is expected?

  1. A continuous, consistent, logically ordered, literary perfect text, from which it follows that the applicant satisfies all the criteria.

  2. A list of n paragraphs, one paragraph per criterion, that technically addresses the requirements, but not more.

  3. A list of n sections, one section per criterion, that technically addresses the requirements, but not more.

  4. ...?

How large are the typical statements in each case?

  • The criteria are there to give an institution the required ammo to reject your application legally. Oct 16, 2017 at 3:33
  • Well you may not get a notice in Australia too, depending on the university. My comment relates to hiring laws. Say a university already has a person in mind, a graduating student of theirs for example, and by law, they have to advertise for the position. How does one reject all applications, except from said student, legally? Oct 16, 2017 at 22:18
  • because every is based on 'merit' and 'fairness'. Oct 17, 2017 at 0:35
  • Legally, we can't do that. Due process must be followed. Oct 17, 2017 at 2:20

2 Answers 2


It depends on the nature of the selection criteria. A criterion like

PhD from an accredited institution

requires only a paragraph, but

Research agenda with high probability of publications in leading journals

may require a whole section.

You see a similar thing with NSF research proposals; one question is (paraphrasing)

"what is the grant number of your most recent support"

and another is

"describe the research to be undertaken".


Some combination of approaches 2 and 3 is probably best.

Put yourself in the shoes of the search committee. If you have over 100 applicants (depending on the position not unreasonable), then anything applicants can do to make it easier on committee members will be appreciated. Which would you prefer to read? From personal experiences on search committees, the narrative passages start to run together, but the candidates who use headings that are the criteria stand out.

Bjorn has provided examples of what may require short answers and what may require longer answers.

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