How do I apply for a NSW government job?

Where to find NSW government jobs, and how to respond to 'targeted questions'.
District photos looking over the tree tops towards Sydney Harbour Bridge

How to find NSW government jobs – and a little about ‘targeted questions’.

You can browse New South Wales government jobs on the government’s website at

What are targeted questions?

Job vacancy advertisements on iworkfornsw sometimes require applicants to respond in writing to a number of ‘targeted questions’.

Targeted questions are open-ended questions that allow you to give examples of how you have demonstrated the behaviours of a particular capability. Be sure to adhere to the required word limit.

To respond to a targeted question you need to relate how you have shown the types of behaviours in other jobs, contexts or scenarios (usually in a past role). It is a good idea to look at the behavioural indicators for the relevant capability outlined in the role description to better understand the types of behaviours that apply.

Example of a targeted question

You can also use structures such as STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) or SAO (Situation, Action, Outcome) to highlight specific achievements that are directly related to the question.

Be aware that the capability of ‘communicate effectively’ may be assessed in the way you respond to a targeted question or in how you have written your cover letter. Use full sentences and correct spelling and grammar when writing your application.

How to respond to a targeted question

A capability (or criterion) for an Administrative Support Officer, Clerk Grade 3/4 role is to ‘Commit to customer service’.

A targeted question on this capability at the intermediate level might ask you to , “Give an example of a situation where you provided customer-focused services.”

In responding to this question, look at the behavioural indicators relating to this capability level in the NSW public sector capability framework.

You can use these to shape your response. For example, you could describe your current or past roles, or other contexts, where you provided customer service, and give examples of how you did some or all of the following:

  • identified and responded to customer needs
  • developed solutions to assist customers
  • resolved complex customer issues
  • worked with others to improve outcomes.


Helpful links:


The NSW Public Sector Capability Framework and supporting resources have been updated. The framework is now known as NSW Public Sector Capability Framework Version 2: 2020

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