Preparing your application

Each job advertisement is unique. It’s important to pay close attention to the instructions in the advertisement.

Preparing your cover letter or screening question responses

Your application (cover letter and resume) will open or close the door for you in a selection process.

In order to be a successful candidate you must follow the specific instructions for the process.

Some processes require you to explain how your skills and experience directly relate to specific qualifications. Provide specific details about your accomplishments, including dates, places, projects and files. Since the people reading your response may not have military experience, try to provide plain language explanation about your role, particularly when it was a group effort. See examples.

You can also review your resume to ensure it clearly identifies the skills and experience you have that match the merit criteria on the job advertisement.


The job advertising system doesn’t have the features of a word processing program. This means it doesn’t have spell check, so you may wish to write your cover letter and resume using a word processing program. When you’re finished, you can copy and paste your text into the system. On the other hand, the system may not recognize any formatting that you used in the word processing program. This means you may want to use other strategies, for example to ensure that your headers are clearly identified, some people use “ALL CAPS” for the headers, followed by a space, then begin the paragraph. You can test the result using a ‘notepad’ app on your computer, which also works with text-only information. You can do a quick check at the end to see if the final formatting of the information you entered looks acceptable.

How to demonstrate that you meet a qualification

The following examples are provided to explain how to identify the skills and experience you have gained in the military and how these meet an essential qualification identified in a job advertisement.

Example 1

Experience using computers including keyboarding and operating various software packages such as email and word processing in an office setting.

Example Response

In my position over the last 3 years as the Chief Clerk for 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR), I have been required to use a variety of computer applications in the performance of my duties. For example:

Example 2

Experience in supervising staff.

Example Response

I was a Naval Weapons Technician (NWT) in the Royal Canadian Navy from date to date. In that role, I supervised junior ranks (AS-01/02 equivalent) while leading a team of ten other technicians. As a senior journeyman weapons technician from date to date, I was also responsible for leading the Naval Weapons Department as directed by my supervisor, the Petty Officer 1st Class. My responsibilities included assigning tasks to my team and monitoring the completion of those tasks, such as preventative maintenance routines and corrective actions for trouble-shooting of onboard weapon systems. I also conducted on-the-job training, ensuring that junior rank training was completed within the allotted time frame and that my team members were prepared to begin their next phase of national level training. I was involved in the Performance Evaluation Report (PER) process in which I monitored staff’s performance throughout the year, completed written evaluations and conducted regular individual performance reviews with team members.

Example 3

Experience in the provision of client service including providing information or clarification to clients.

Example Response

I held a position as an Information Technology (IT) Help Desk service agent with the Signal Squadron at Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown from date to date. In this role, I provided direct service to clients throughout the Base on IT service issues and IT resources available to them. My responsibilities included providing clients with information on how to trouble-shoot certain issues over the phone, remotely accessing client computers to solve problems with them on the phone, face-to-face meetings with some clients to advise them on the physical configuration of their IT resources, and clarifying proper use and regulations of Department of National Defence IT assets. Interaction with a client would typically start with a phone call from a client asking for a certain software application to be downloaded to their workstation. I first consulted the regulations to determine if it was software that the client was permitted to use. If the software was permitted, I remotely accessed the client’s workstation to install the software. If the software was not permitted, I explained the reasons, and if possible, suggested another application that would allow the client to perform the necessary tasks.

Need more information?

The Veterans in the Public Service Unit (VPSU) was created by Veterans Affairs Canada to help Veterans understand and succeed in the application process for public service jobs. If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact the VPSU by sending a message through My VAC Account or by calling the Department at 1-866-522-2122.

Date modified: