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 for those looking to enter the public sector.
Tip 1: Get real
If you’re thinking about applying for APS jobs because it’s easy, chances are you won’t get far. To secure that coveted APS position you need to compete often against hundreds of other applicants. You also need to adopt the right mentality and positioning.
The APS is changing and there’s more pressure for government to perform at higher levels, which means recruiting staff who can perform at higher levels.
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
- management, business and administration
- policy, research, program, project and international
- service delivery
- science and health.
Tip 4: Work through how your talent and skills are a good fit
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 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 (with us 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 orSES.
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.
You can learn more about securing your dream blog by reading our article on what to do when a recruiter calls and how to interview like a pro. Also, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for ongoing tips and ideas.