Let’s start by busting myths about working in the APS. Many in the private sector are convinced APS positions are cushy positions. Amazing pay. No pressure. Flex time.

Here is a list of top tips from face2face Recruitment from those looking to enter the public sector.

Tip #1—get real

Recruitment is no different than any other industry in that not all agencies are equal. Some are large, some small. Some are fabulous, some not so. Some are driven by people first, some by commission structures.

As with any service, it’s important to look for a company that suits you. This is because you’ll want to work closely with your recruiter throughout your search for work, a change of career, or a promotion. And you’ll want advice, coaching and other support.

face2face has been in biz since 2005 and we’re proud of our performance, especially winning the National Recruitment Services Award at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards 2019, held in Sydney 6 April. We can put our hands on our heart and say it’s a pretty big achievement (blush, blush).

We can also put our hands on our heart and say that while we’re boutique we punch above our weight.

Here are seven reasons we won this prestigious national award. They’re all attributes to think about when selecting a recruiter.

  1. Career advice

We don’t ever treat you like a number. We provide career advice, helping you look beyond what you’re doing today and into the future for what you could be doing tomorrow. When we review your resume, we think laterally about your skills and experience. We discuss possibilities with you, including those you may not have thought about. Think includes thinking outside the box and presenting career alternatives that suit your skills. We help you plan for the short term to get you to your long-term goal.

  1. Listen to your story

We take time to listen and by that we mean more than five minutes on the phone. We meet you face-to-face which we believe is the best way to dig deep and learn your story. Recruiters who don’t get to know your story can only help in a superficial way.

  1. Perfect your resume

We get it. Writing your own resume is challenging, frustrating and boring. We don’t just play post box with your resume. We review it thoroughly and provide free enhancement services. We also provide free templates so your resume looks as great as it reads.

  1. Give you a competitive edge

You need to stand out in today’s crowded recruitment field. We’ll work hard to get you there and make you a memorable candidate. We’ll create a ‘60 seconds with f2f’ video which we’ll send to employers along with your hard copy resume. This is a great way to showcase your soft skills and personality. Employers tell us they love our videos for their additional insights.

  1. Never give up

Some recruitment companies work on a commission structure so the faster they place a candidate the faster they earn their commission. Hmmm. We focus on people first and never give up until we’ve placed you in a job your happy with. We believe there’s a job for every candidate. It’s our job to find it.

  1. Non-discriminatory support

We believe in looking after all candidates as equals. Some recruiters only want to work high-profit jobs or ones that are quick to fill so they can score their commission and move on. This type of recruiter isn’t always keen to help candidates struggling to find work, such as return-to-work mums, candidates who have been out of work for a long time or mature-aged workers. We don’t operate on a commission structure because we’re here to help anyone at anytime. We know we’re dealing with your livelihood, and take that seriously. You could be the major bread winner for your family or be experiencing extreme financial pressure and so are desperate for work. We’re here to help.

  1. Free tools and resources

You want as much knowledge from your recruiter as possible. We have heaps of free tools and expert career articles on this website. We also provide all candidates who visit with a free copy of “Resume Success Secrets” written by our Managing Director, designed to get you ready for and nail that interview. This book shot to #1 on Amazon in its category within days of being released.

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Tip #2—test your motivation

The APS is one of Australia’s biggest employers and it offers careers to suit just about anyone at any stage of life—from school leavers and graduates through to senior executives and professionals.

Government agencies are no different than private sector organisations when it comes to recruiting. They want the best talent for the position. They demand a professional approach. They value people who are motivated to make major and meaningful contributions to the administration of government. They want people who want to learn and grow. They want high performers.

Ask yourself your motivation before calling a recruiter, so you’re ready and confident to discuss possibilities. Also, remember that to enter government, you may have to drop a level because it’s a competitive market. If you have the right attitude and skills and perform well, however, you’ll start to rise very quickly.

Tip #3—think about the type of work you want

The APS has a magnificent variety of job categories, reflecting its vast set of responsibilities. Do yourself a favour and conduct some research before approaching a recruitment agency. This will enable the recruitment agency to provide you with the best support.

Are you interested in communications and marketing? What about engineering and technical? Here are other job categories:

  • economics, finance, accounting and audit
  • facilities, trade and property
  • human resources
  • intelligence, security and compliance
  • legal
  • management, business and administration
  • policy, research, program, project and international
  • service delivery
  • science and health.

Tip #4—work through how your talents and skills are a good fit for a department’s mandate

The APS has more than 15 departments and more than 60 agencies touching on many interesting and diverse areas. Think the arts, defence, environment, foreign affairs, health, education, finance, agriculture, transport … the list goes on and on.

Take time to explore the departments that form the Australian Government and work out, as best you can, where your talents can make the most meaningful contribution. We can support you with this at face2face, but it’s best that you have a serious think first.

Tip #5—make sure your resume clarifies how your skills match the selection criteria

When applying for APS roles, make sure your resume is up-to-date and tailored to APS requirements. Start by looking at the type of core skills the public service needs and the information online about writing a winning resume. Think about your transferable skills and reflect these in your resume—in language government relates to. If you don’t do this, you may not be considered by busy recruitment companies.

Once more, the Australian Public Service Commission is a gold mine of information.

Our Managing Director, Kate Prior, has also written a book entitled Resume Success Secrets: How to write a resume that gets the job. It includes bonus interview tips. You can buy this best seller on Amazon.

Tip #6—register with a recruitment agency (it’s free for candidates)

It’s easy to register with a recruiter and the service is free for candidates. It’s worthwhile because a recruiter has access to a range of positions and can help you better understand what level you may be suited for in the public service—APS 1 to 6, EL1 to EL2 and SES.

A recruiter can also help you focus on whether the public sector is for you. Not everyone settles into government work life well. Ask our recruiters about testing out the possibilities by first taking on a contract role.