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Understanding the state application process

Applying for a State of Oregon job can be quite time consuming and we have several tips to help you understand the process so you can be successful.

Challenges job seekers face

There are three challenges that job seekers commonly experience when applying for state jobs:

  1. Not meeting the minimum qualifications. If you do not meet the minimum qualifications, your current experience does not meet the job needs and you should look at some different job classifications where you can say “yes” to the minimum qualification statement.
  2. Not invited to interview. If you meet the minimum qualifications, but are not being invited to an interview, you need to strengthen your application materials and make sure you are customizing your application for the information given in the job announcement.
  3. Interviewed, but not offered the job. If you are getting interviews, but not being offered the job, you need to strengthen your interviewing skills.

How competitive will you be for the job?

Before you start filling out the application materials, it will be helpful to see how competitive you will be for this job. It might not be worth the several hours it may take you to complete the application materials if you do not have a specific type of experience requested in the announcement. Find out how competitive you will be with a quick review of three parts of the announcement.

  • Minimum qualifications – Do you meet the minimum qualification statement? Yes or no.
  • Look at requested skills – How many of these tasks have you done?
  • Review the supplemental questions – Can you answer all the questions?

If you meet the minimum qualifications, that’s great. If you can answer yes to most or all of the requested skills, that’s great. If you know how you will answer the supplemental questions, that’s great. However, if you do not have all the requested skills and don’t know how you will answer the supplemental questions, you probably will not be competitive for this particular job and will need to decide if you want to spend the time applying for it.

Developing your application materials

Now that you know you will be competitive, it’s time to start working on the application materials.

  • Understand what you need to do and follow the directions. Read the How to Apply section of the announcement so you know what you need to submit or do. 
  • If you are required to submit a cover letter, make sure you cover all the topics that are requested. If the instructions tell you to submit no more than two pages, do not go over two pages, but use the full two pages to get your information across in a meaningful manner.
  • To be most successful, you may need a different application or resume for each job you apply for, as they should be tailored to the specific job.
  • Update or enter your work history into your profile. If you have a master resume, it makes it easier to update in a separate document and then cut and paste that information into your Workday profile. Make sure you customize your work history so that it addresses the requested skills for the job you are applying for. For example, if customer service is listed as No. 1 on the requested skills list, and it is in the middle of your job duties description in your profile, move it to the top. Do not embellish or lie about your experience, but definitely let us know what you have done and how it is relevant to the job described in the announcement.
  • Talk about accomplishments, not just tasks, and use quantitative information when possible. For example, if this announcement was for a training position, someone might put in the application materials this description: “developed and conducted training.” A much stronger explanation is “developed and conducted a variety of training for many audiences. Training included: quarterly, four-hour sessions on safety procedures given to audiences of up to 75 members of the public; and monthly training to 30 staff members on safety topics.”
  • You have one chance to make a good first impression, so don’t blow it by having typos, grammar, spelling, punctuation, or other errors in your materials.
  • Take your time in developing responses to narrative questions. The hiring manager uses these to determine who to invite for interview. Make sure the requested skills are included, just as in your work history.
  • Make sure you attach all the required documents. What about transcripts or veterans preference documentation?
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to apply. The Workday system occasionally has issues. The announcement closes at 11:59 p.m.; if you miss the deadline, there is nothing that can be done.

Preparing for the interview

You know the duties from the announcement. List the duties, make up a question, and think of a specific example. The Department of Consumer and Business Services uses behavioral-based questions (the best indicator of future performance and behaviors is past performance and behaviors), which require a specific example as part of your answer. Then practice. Ask a friend to help you, or schedule a mock interview. Check with your WorkSource Oregon office for mock interview help.

If you have questions about this Department of Consumer and Business Services job announcement, call 503-378-3200, or email