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Breaking the APS barrier?

By UrbanAdventure.org 8 March 2010 36

I am currently working in a temporary, non ongoing APS job which finishes at the end of this month. I am trying to find an ongoing APS job to work in. However I have always had problems with answering the selection criteria. Although I consider my writing skills (I am a Technical writer / IT support person) and qualifications to be quite good, I just don’t get interviews for APS jobs. I’m obviously doing something wrong when answering the selection criteria. I need help to answer then. I do answer honestly, and try to give examples which I think are good, but I am still not getting interviews. Mind you I have no problem getting private industry jobs and short term jobs.

This is very frustrating as I need the security of a long term job. I have a medical condition which mostly does not affect my ability to work, but which will require ongoing and moderately expensive medical attention from time to time. Hence the need for a steady income. I used to be in an APS job before, but after we were privatised my position was made redundant.

I got my current job through an employment agency. I have found though that employment agencies are geared up to getting people contracting positions and short term jobs because then they get more finders fees.

Has anyone had any success with an employment agency which has gotten them an ongoing APS job? Or can they recommend any employment agencies as being better than others? Also, does anyone know where to get help with applying for APS jobs? I just want to have a steady job where I help people and have some job satisfaction thrown in.

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Breaking the APS barrier?
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EvanJames 9:52 am 05 Feb 12

Sadly, anyone thinking of this would be best to think about alternatives for a while. The increased efficiency dividend imposed on most departments constitutes an unofficial recruitment freeze.

astrojax 8:21 am 05 Feb 12

never too late for good advice!

2.0 11:22 pm 04 Feb 12

CLM said :

You’d probably have more luck applying directly than through an employment agency.

Im sure there are people around with services to help you write applications. What level roles are you applying for?

If it is an Executive Level role, then look up the ILS (Integrated Leadership Program) which will give you some really helpful info and language to use in your application.

If you are still having trouble, you could try getting in touch with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), they often run classes in writing this kind of thing.

Good luck!

Um.. You do realise this thread is almost 2 years old.

1337Hax0r 10:27 pm 04 Feb 12

CLM, why did you drag out an almosdt 2 year old thread which has not been posted into since 2010? The OP either has a job now, has given up looking or is dead.

Woody Mann-Caruso 7:55 pm 04 Feb 12

*checks year*
*facepalm*

CLM 11:07 am 04 Feb 12

You’d probably have more luck applying directly than through an employment agency.

Im sure there are people around with services to help you write applications. What level roles are you applying for?

If it is an Executive Level role, then look up the ILS (Integrated Leadership Program) which will give you some really helpful info and language to use in your application.

If you are still having trouble, you could try getting in touch with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), they often run classes in writing this kind of thing.

Good luck!

Gungahlin Al 11:11 am 10 Mar 10

One of the APSC’s better courses “Marketing yourself into an executive level position” by Brian Austin takes an approach quite different from the STAR method promoted by almost everyone else. One key component of this course is to use (or consider) a 2×2 matrix when prepping your answers (for applications and for interview questions.

On the X axis is time – Past and Future
On the Y axis is viewpoint – Strategic and Operational

This gives four boxes you should ensure are ticked off every time:

Past/Operational: What have I done? What am I doing now? Section/Branch/Group/Individual perspectives

Past/Strategic: Why did I do it that way? What role or contribution did it make to the bigger picture?

Future/Operational: What would I do differently/better in the future?

Past/Strategic: Why would I make these changes? How would it improve things?

If you haven’t ‘done it’ then answer from a hypothetical perspective.

And remember to have your 30-second “elevator pitch” well honed. You can use this as a wrap-up speil when asked if you have any final questions, adding in brief words addressing any concerns or shortfalls you make have detected in your interview performance.

Of course there is more to it than that, and I recommend the course to any 6s out there looking to bust through to the next broadband.

Ian 10:53 pm 09 Mar 10

Felix the Cat said :

First off make sure there are no spelling/grammatical/typo mistakes in your application. It surprises me greatly the number of people of all ages that can’t spell even basic words (break and brake are two words often used incorrectly). If I was in a position of going through applications these ones are the first I would toss in the bin, regardless of the experience or qualifications of the writer.

There are usually a couple of adverts in the Saturday edition of The Canberra Times for people/businesses that (for a price) will help you write selection criteria replies for APS jobs. Avoid one called To The Letter, I had a bad experience with them.

Spelling/grammar mistakes tells me the applicant doesn’t care enough to check something as important as their job application. Big strikeout if I’m interviewing.

I’m always wary of people who get professional resume writers – help with their own work is ok, but when its clear the applicant has had very little to do with what has been submitted on their behalf its a big negative to me. After all, its not like they’re going to get the same help when they actually have to do the work.

SammyLivesHere 9:19 pm 09 Mar 10

post #14, ACTing like a Mama has it – keep working on your application, keep honing in on your skills and the STAR Principal, consider it part of the learning curve – you’ll do well if you keep going, don’t give up. Always talk to the contact officer and always make sure you pick a job that you can do, not that you want to do, particularly as there aren’t that many jobs around – we’ve all been in your shoes at one time or another 🙂 The trick is not to give in, think ‘one door closes, another opens’; ‘things happen for a reason’ and it will happen, it’s all about timing – but then, isn’t everything! One day, all the people who get picked before you will all have jobs and you number will come up 🙂

Felix the Cat 9:17 pm 09 Mar 10

First off make sure there are no spelling/grammatical/typo mistakes in your application. It surprises me greatly the number of people of all ages that can’t spell even basic words (break and brake are two words often used incorrectly). If I was in a position of going through applications these ones are the first I would toss in the bin, regardless of the experience or qualifications of the writer.

There are usually a couple of adverts in the Saturday edition of The Canberra Times for people/businesses that (for a price) will help you write selection criteria replies for APS jobs. Avoid one called To The Letter, I had a bad experience with them.

6xin 5:18 pm 09 Mar 10

Last year when I got an APS 6 position at the ATO, I was selected out of a group of 116 applicants.

motleychick 3:20 pm 09 Mar 10

motleychick said :

Applying for jobs in the paper or on the gazette can be a waste of time as they are already filled internally, and they are only being advertised because they have to be.

I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate. Sometimes yes, there will be someone acting in job who is then appointed/promoted after the selection process, but there are many advertised jobs where no one is acting, a new position for example.

Wasn’t overexaggerating, should have added to that to contact the officer to see if someone is currently in the position and go from there.

spinact 2:11 pm 09 Mar 10

motleychick said :

You won’t find an employment agency that can place you in a permanent APS position. It is true when they tell you they can only put you in temp or contract positions. The best way to get your foot in the door is to get into a temp position. When your contract is up and you apply for the position, you have more of a chance since you have been in it for 3 months or so.

Temp contracts are a good foot in the door. I’ve filled a few positions with staff who were hired via a temp agencies. Their time in the job enabled them to ace the selection process.

motleychick said :

Applying for jobs in the paper or on the gazette can be a waste of time as they are already filled internally, and they are only being advertised because they have to be.

I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate. Sometimes yes, there will be someone acting in job who is then appointed/promoted after the selection process, but there are many advertised jobs where no one is acting, a new position for example.

motleychick 10:53 am 09 Mar 10

You won’t find an employment agency that can place you in a permanent APS position. It is true when they tell you they can only put you in temp or contract positions. The best way to get your foot in the door is to get into a temp position. When your contract is up and you apply for the position, you have more of a chance since you have been in it for 3 months or so.

Applying for jobs in the paper or on the gazette can be a waste of time as they are already filled internally, and they are only being advertised because they have to be.

Getting a permanent jobi n the APS can be very hard, but it also depends on who you know. If you know someone who is in a high level position than they may be able to help you get in, although most of the time you will still have to go through the interview process.

Enny said :

I’m not sure how old you are, what pay you’re on and if this is relevant for you, but some government graduate programs accept people with tertiary education completed up to 7 years ago – they usually guarantee permanent employment at completion.

Graduate recruitment rounds for APS departments are advertised Australia wide, so applicants are competing with hundreds of others and the process can take up to a year.

Thumper 8:30 am 09 Mar 10

Seriously though, end of last year I held some interviews at the APS6 level and had about 60 applications of which 30 would have been qualified to do the job.

Look at ensuring you tell the interview panel what you have done, how you did it, what benefits it brought to the previous workplace, and how it will benefit the current workplace, etc. In short, sell youself.

Thumper 8:25 am 09 Mar 10

It’s important to know the secret public service hand shake when you go into an interview.

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