5 Steps to get started on an APS job application

Hi there! So why the APS?

You are considering a job, a promotion or even a whole career in the Australian Public Service (APS). There a many great reasons to join the APS. These include:

  • decent pay and conditions, including 15.4% superannuation.

  • a great chance of promotion within a system with a defined path for career progression.

  • a high degree of job security.

  • the opportunities to use and develop skills and have a varied and interesting career.

No more procrastination.

Here are 5 Steps to get you started:

1. Find the jobs

You may already know exactly which job or jobs you want to apply for but, if not, you’ll need to go to the APSjobs website and search for suitable jobs for your skill level and experience.

2. Pick a level

Be realistic about this: don’t aim too high or too low.

  • if you are a school-leaver having completed Year 12, look at APS1-2 roles or traineeships;
  • if you are a graduate, look for Grad Programs or APS 3-4 roles (don't worry about this being too low a level, opportunities for promotion will come along!)
  • if you are a schoolteacher with some years under your belt, look for APS 4-5 roles (don't worry, teachers have awesome skills and soon get promoted!);
  • if you’ve been a Head of Department, a Pastoral Coordinator in a school or an Assistant Principal look for APS6 and Executive Level 1 (EL1) roles.

3. Make sense of selection criteria

Once you’ve found a job or jobs, you’ll need to take a close look at the selection documentation. If you're not already in the APS, this could be off-putting because the selection criteria are a language all their own. I suggest you read them over a few times and try to re-write them into simpler language.

For example:

  • Cultivates Productive Working Relationships could be re-written as Doing my fair share of the work in a team, being pleasant and helpful.
  • Communicates With Influence could be re-written as Speaking and writing clearly and in a way which matches my audience. Being a good listener and able to put forward my point of view.

4. Match before you hatch

Once you have a basic understanding of what the selection criteria mean (note, I didn’t write ‘what you’ll be doing in the job’: that’s a whole other mystery to be explored) you need to start a matching exercise. Do a brainstorm of tasks you’ve completed and skills you’ve developed at school or uni or in your work life or as a volunteer. List the job selection criteria and have a go at placing your tasks and skills under the relevant criterion.

5. Now bake the cake

This is the raw material of your application and now it needs to be written up, expanded upon and refined: 'cooked' into an appetising whole and 'seasoned' with just the right amount of 'APS' language and jargon.

This can be tricky. If you'd like some friendly, individualised help, send me an email (it's free) and we can chat about how we can make your application fabulous!