How to get that job!

It's not always easy to find the perfect job. It's even harder to find the perfect job and win it the first time. Sometimes the best way to find the perfect job in the APS is to join, get the experience and transfer to something else once you've got a strong track record. Many people join with a specific job in mind, and eventually get to that dream job. Other people discover the range of interesting opportunities available in the Australian Government and progress to a rewarding career they hadn't originally considered.

To be considered for any APS job you just need to apply. The first important step, however, is to find the job that interests you either personally or professionally. In the APS, all agencies are required to publicly advertise all their vacancies on APSJobs, which is the public service gazette. Vacancies can be advertised for one position or many.

You may notice that some positions are advertised as a special measure. This means that only Indigenous Australians can apply for them. Every job you see in the jobs listing on this site are open only to Indigenous Australians. However an important point is that these positions are not just in Indigenous focussed roles.

You may also notice that some positions are advertised as a identified positions. These positions will involve the development or delivery of Indigenous policies or programmes. Identified positions requires applicants to show that they have an understanding of Indigenous culture, issues affecting Indigenous Australians and the ability to communicate effectively with them.

The listing on APSJobs and the employer's recruitment pack will make it clear whether one job is being filled or there are several jobs. It will also specify whether it is an identified position or if it's open only to Indigenous Australians.

I've found the job I want. What do I do?

We recruit people based on merit, which means you will be asked to complete some tests to demonstrate your ability to do the job. We use different tools and techniques and each process might be different.

Generally, you will need to complete an application, provide referee reports and attend an interview. You may also need to complete a written exercise, deliver a presentation or complete a psychometric test.

Whatever the process is, you will notice that testing is developed around what we call selection criteria – these are the core skills, knowledge and expertise to do the job well. These criteria will remain the same throughout the entire process. For example, if you need to demonstrate your project management skills in your application, you will also need to talk about them at an interview. 

Before you apply, do some research

All job advertisements will give details for a Contact Officer. The Contact Officer is the best person to speak to if you want to know more information about the job, and whether you may be suitable for it.

They can also tell you more about the assessment process and the work environment. Here are some questions you may need to ask if it's not covered in the advertisement or selection pack:

  • What tasks the job actually involves e.g. project work, public contact, outdoor work, writing, computer work, driving?
  • Who are the clients?
  • Who will you report to?
  • Who will you be working with?
  • What are the opportunities for career development?
  • What's the team like?

The conversation with the Contact Officer can be a big help in deciding if your skills and expertise are a match for the position.

Your Application

Your application is your first opportunity to tell us about the skills and experience you have, so take the time to make sure it's as good as it can be. With each application there will be particular steps you need to take, such as submitting your resume, addressing selection criteria, or providing proof of academic qualifications or your Indigenous heritage.

This may be the first time a prospective employer gets to see what you can do, so you want to project a professional image and give a good first impression.

Tips on how to write a good application are available here.

The Interview

If your application hit the mark and the agency wants to further test your ability to do the job, you will be invited to undertake further assessment. This will generally include an interview but may also include other tests such as a written exercise.

Proof of your Indigenous heritage

If you are applying for a position that is 'Special Measure – Indigenous' (open only to Indigenous Australians), you will need to provide documentation to confirm your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage. There is no 'one size fits all' approach, but generally the following will be sufficient:

  • A letter signed by the Chairperson of an incorporated Indigenous organisation confirming that you are recognised as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, or
  • A confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent document executed by an Indigenous organisation.

There are resources on the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website that can assist you.

If you are having any difficulty getting hold of your documentation, you should contact the agency advertising the job to discuss your situation and agree on a way forward.


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