How to get a job with the APS

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You want to work in the government sector, but not sure how to get a job with the APS?

Read on for information and tips about working with the Australian Public Service.

The Australian Public Service, or APS, has more than 100 separate organisations, and employs more than 150,000 people.

It actively promotes an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Australian Government (APS) coat of arms

There’s a broad range of opportunities when seeking government work, and it’s worth asking yourself questions like:

  1. Who do you know in the APS to ask for job advice?
  2. What are your skill levels in relation to APS bandings?
  3. When is a security clearance required?
  4. Where would you prefer to work in terms of agency and location?
  5. Why do you want to work with the government?
  6. How can you apply your skillset to an APS job?
batman thinking saying "how do my skills fit with the public service?"
With so many options, you’ll find something just for you.

Jobs with the APS range from entry level roles to executive level and specialist positions. There is something for everyone.

Insider advice on APS jobs

Ask someone employed with an agency about what it’s like to work with the APS; it might be different to what you have imagined.

A current staff member will have lived experience with how to get a job with the APS, and might have some great tips for your application.

Working with the government varies from private enterprise because of the level of governance, compliance, and bureaucracy.

It can take some getting used to, but it’s certainly not a bad thing.

Where to find a job with the APS

If you want to know how to get a job with the APS, then it helps to know where to look for the vacancies, right?

You can find public service jobs on the APSjobs site and also on external job boards such as jobactive, Seek, LinkedIn, and careerone.

picture of a man with his son pointing and saying 'that's where you apply for APS jobs'
Look on your smart phone; it’s that easy!

How to apply direct to the APS

Apply direct for public service jobs by searching on the APS Employment Gazette, and see current roles by signing up for email job alerts.

APS applications are quite an involved process. Your suitability for a position is based on merit assessment.

Read Cracking the Code on the Australian Public Service Commission for insights into how to write to selection criteria.

The Public Service job application process can be lengthy, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a while to hear back.

When you get to the interview stage, make sure you are familiar with the S.T.A.R. method of interview questions. Think about how you can best demonstrate the key skills and requirements of the role by drawing on actual scenarios in your professional experience.

Get your foot in the door by contracting

Get valuable experience with the public service by taking on some contracting work through a recruiting agency.

car taking off ramp toward APS experience through contract work
Real world experience with the APS is a great option.

The Australian Public Service engages a large number of contractors across agencies so there’s a broad range of job options available.

The benefit of contracting is you can “try before you buy”.

Remember though, this test phase is a two-way street!

While working with the APS, you are bound by the Values and Code of Conduct, so you need to show you’re an employee the agency wants.

Please leave any idea, suggestions, or thoughts in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

images: istock, imgflip

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