How to land a graduate job at the Department of Human Services

Get insider tips on how to land a graduate job at the Department of Human Services, including how to stand out and how to prepare.
Department of Human Services
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What is the best way to get into the graduate program at the Department of Human Services?

To get into the Department of Human Services (DHS) National Graduate Program you need to apply through our annual recruitment process via our website www.humanservices.gov.au. The recruitment process involves a number of steps including an online application form, online assessment, video interview and attendance at an assessment centre.

These tips will help you through the process:

  • Research our business.
  • We are responsible for the development of service delivery policy and provide access to social, health and other payments and services. Be up to date with the major current issues and challenges that our department is facing.
  • Address selection criteria.
  • Practice addressing selection criteria using the STAR method:

S - describe a specific situation
T – what was the task you needed to do
A – what action did you do to achieve it
R – what result did you get.

  • Give us examples. Prepare a suite of work, volunteer and/or study examples that are time and project specific and frame your responses in terms of the actions you took. You should feel comfortable frequently using the word “I” in your responses.

What about timing?

Applications for the 2020 National Graduate Program open in mid-March and close mid-April. Throughout the recruitment process, we keep in contact with our potential candidates via email, phone and our National Graduate Program Facebook page.

What type of grads are you looking for?

Our department is looking for graduates who want to make a positive difference in the lives of Australians. We want the future leaders of the Australian Public Service (APS) to apply. We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace. We value our staff for their unique qualities, ideas and perspectives.

We are looking for graduates with a range of backgrounds, both professionally and from a diversity perspective. We have a Recruitability scheme available to candidates who identify as having disability. We also have our Affirmative Measures recruitment process for candidates who identify as having disability or being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australians.

We offer 2 pathways on our National Graduate Program. Both pathways allow you to apply your academic education and build your skills and experience. You can apply for the Generalist pathway, Professional pathway or both. However, you can only participate in one pathway and cannot change pathways after you start.

The Generalist pathway is for those who have a degree that doesn’t match a professional discipline.

The Professional pathway lets you focus your career in a particular area. We call these disciplines and there are 6 of them. You must have a degree in either:

  • communication
  • data analytics
  • finance
  • human resources
  • law or
  • social work.

Professional pathway applicants should also have a comprehensive understanding of contemporary issues and practices related to your area of expertise or technical discipline.

How can I stand out?

A well-written application will help you stand out in the first instance. Correct spelling and grammar are extremely important. Show us you have an understanding of our business and the graduate program. Make sure your work and study experience is up to date.

You can show us strong problem-solving skills using examples from your study, volunteer work, and essentially any job you have worked in. Try to relate them back to the graduate program and what you anticipate you will be doing during the graduate year.

What are some key attributes of successful candidates?

Successful applicants will demonstrate:

  • proven initiative
  • ethical, adaptive and evidence-based judgement
  • strong problem-solving skills
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • the ability to establish positive working relationships with team members and stakeholders, and
  • support for a workplace culture that values diversity, respect and inclusion.

Any other tips for graduates?

Applying for and making your way through the selection process for a graduate program can be stressful and time-consuming. Make sure you set aside time for relaxation and recreation to maintain your health and well-being. This is just as important during your career when you will experience the usual challenges and changes in pace that work brings.