Although I've yet to receive my actual residency permit, the majority of the ordeal is over. So here it is, the summary post on how to get through the application process.
This applies to the quota system, so if you are exempt, you will have to produce whichever documents prove you are exempt, and go from there.
6-12 months before beginning
-talk to people who have done it, plan out your steps (for example, what visa you will use to be in the country while applying)
a few months before applying
-look into what it will take to get your criminal background check, as well as appropriate authentication. This is by far the most time consuming as it requires waiting on several different parties and working with the policies of two different countries