As we all know, COVID-19 has affected the Australian job market like never before. In these rapidly changing times, the Australian Government is supporting affected Australians looking for work. This has included their development of the Jobs Hub, which is a one-stop online hub listing myriad current vacancies Australia wide. One section of the Jobs Hub is specifically focused on Australian Government jobs and over the next few weeks, we will explore each of the 13 categories and look at current opportunities and the types of jobs available, what you need to do to apply, and what you can expect working at one of many of their departments. This week, we are focusing on APS Jobs – https://www.apsjobs.gov.au/s/job-search.
The APS has a wide range of opportunities, and offers full-time, part-time and temporary or non-ongoing roles across a range of locations in Australia and overseas. There are entry level, management and technical positions, as well as policy, project administrative and support roles. Apprenticeship, Indigenous career pathways, school leaver and graduate programs are also available. Pay and conditions are determined at the individual agency level and vary from one agency to the next. If you are considering applying for a job, you should refer to the agency’s Enterprise Agreement on their website, which will outline their pay and conditions. Each agency may also specify different conditions of engagement. These can include, for example, essential qualifications for a job, security and character clearances or health checks. The APS Values and Employment Principles shape the organisational culture of the APS. All APS employees must uphold the APS Values and Employment Principles and act in line with the APS Code of Conduct.
When you select this link via the JobsHub, you are taken directly to the APSJobs portal. At the time of posting the blog article, the portal was showing hundreds of available vacancies for the APS via the APSJobs site. These are in just about every APS department you could imagine from the Australian Financial Security Authority to the National Archives of Australia, and Department of Defence, amongst many more. Jobs available are extremely diverse and include high-level roles such as Assistant Director – Capability, Projects and Strategy, and Service Delivery Manager through to operational roles such as an Objects Conservator and Vehicle Mechanic, and support roles like Travel Administration Officer and Payroll Officer.
Applying for a job in the APS may be different from applying for a job elsewhere. This is due to the requirement for agencies to conduct a merit-based competitive selection process. In most cases, each agency is responsible for conducting its own recruitment processes. These may differ between different agencies. For example, for the role of Assistant Director – Capability, Projects and Strategy with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the requirements are to submit an up-to-date resume, along with a 750-word pitch that aligns with the job description. On the other hand, for the position of Travel Administration Officer with the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, the requirements are to provide a one-page pitch (no word limit – just needs to be within one page), along with a resume of no more than three pages demonstrating how your skills, qualifications and experience match the duty statement for the position.
APSJobs is a portal for agencies to advertise positions. When you find a position you are interested in and you select ‘Apply Now’, you will be redirected to the advertising agencies website where you will be required to log in so that you can start your application. The APSJobs and agency recruitment sites require separate log ins and APSJobs does not store any job applications for you. Each department has their own merit-based selection process, but you will find that they all uphold stringent practices in line with the APS Values and Employment Principles, which shape the organisational culture of the APS. Merit-based decisions are required, at a minimum, to be based on an assessment of a person’s work-related qualities and the work-related qualities required for efficient and effective organisational performance. Decisions relating to engagement and promotion require a competitive assessment of the relative suitability of the candidates against the genuine requirements of the duties, focusing on the capacity of candidates to achieve outcomes related to the duties.
When applying for an APS role, it is important to clearly demonstrate your work-related qualities that align with the role you are applying for. These may include;
- Skills and abilities
- Qualifications, training and competencies
- Standard of work performance
- Capacity to produce outcomes by effective performance at the level required
- Relevant personal qualities, such as honesty and integrity
- Potential for further development
- Ability to contribute to team performance
Your resume and written response are generally what is used to outline the above qualities and the agency’s selection panel will then assess the responses of all applicants. Sometimes, this will be enough to identify the best person for the role. More commonly though, this process will create a shortlist of applicants suitable to move to the next stage – usually an interview but it may be another form of assessment. If you are shortlisted for further consideration, you may be invited to attend a face-to-face interview. Using the job description as a guide, you may be asked a range of questions to demonstrate your skills and abilities. These could include behavioural-based questions and/or hypothetical scenario questions. As part of, or in place of an interview, you may also be asked to do exercises such as a work sample test, a presentation, or psychometric testing. If an agency is recruiting for a number of jobs, you may go through an assessment centre, which could include group work exercises. Following the interview or other forms of assessment, the selection panel will make a recommendation to the decision-maker about who is most suitable for the job. They may first contact your referees for confirmation of your skills, abilities and experience. Once the panel’s recommendation is approved, the successful applicant may be offered the job. You can ask about the expected timeframe for filling the job. If you have not heard anything in the weeks after the interview, call the contact officer and enquire about the timeframe for announcing the decision. If you are unsuccessful, you can seek feedback from the contact officer. This feedback can help you to improve your application and performance next time.
The APS has a range of career opportunities, while also providing the scope for you to change career direction if you ever so desire. The APS supports professional and personal development, further study, and career and leadership development. They offer great working conditions, including competitive salaries and superannuation, excellent leave conditions, and flexible work practices. The team at Public Service Resumes thrive on completing resumes and written responses for APS roles from entry levels of APS 3-4 to senior executive EL1 and EL2 roles. Many of our highly experienced writers have had direct working history and experiences within the APS and have a proven track record of producing high-quality, correctly structured and professional documents that will support you in the application process. So, if you need assistance with your next APS application, call us today for an obligation-free quote.