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Attorney-General's Department (AGD)

  • #9 in Government & public services
  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Karen Zhang

You get to develop a nuanced understanding of issues that you see in the news every day, and realise the complexity that may not always be visible on the surface. It is very rewarding and exciting to problem-solve and respond to these challenges.

What's your job about? 

The Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for policy and programs that develop Australia’s law, security and justice frameworks, as well as promote jobs growth. The Department achieves this through five groups: Australian Government Solicitor, Legal Services and Families, Integrity and International, Industrial Relations and Enabling Services. The opportunities are endless, given there are so many crucial areas that the Department contributes to. As a graduate, I will undertake three rotations across those five groups, with the opportunity to build my skillset in policy development, program delivery, casework and corporate functions.

What background would suit your job? 

The public service ultimately needs to reflect the community it serves in order to deliver effective policy, so diversity in all experiences is highly valued. Working in the policy space is less about what you already know, and more about how well you can adapt to and learn new things. Think less about having the “right” degree, and more about the transferrable skills and qualities that you can bring. If you have an open mind, think critically (and creatively) about solving problems, and are willing to learn, then definitely give policy a try!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

You get to develop a nuanced understanding of issues that you see in the news every day, and realise the complexity that may not always be visible on the surface. It is very rewarding and exciting to problem-solve and respond to these challenges. The workplace culture in my Department is also a highlight – people are really friendly and I feel that my input and wellbeing are valued. As a graduate, you also get assigned a buddy and a mentor to help guide you through your year. So far, it has been a very vibrant, lively and supportive Department to work in!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Take university at your own pace and prioritise your wellbeing. I often chose to do a slightly lighter course load each semester, and also took a semester off. This allowed me to balance doing other things I love, extra-curricular activities, getting some volunteering or work experience, as well as just doing things that generally made me smile and enjoy my university phase more.
  2. Build a good network of friends and support, who bring out the best in you and support you to be a better person in your life. It’s also important to surround yourself with people who don’t just reinforce your own ideas and opinions, but also challenge or broaden your perspective too.
  3. University is not just about acquiring as many impressive degree qualifications as you can. Take opportunities to explore, adventure and try new things. What excites you? What values drive you? Build your self-awareness and confidence in what you want to contribute to the world around you, by getting to know your own skills, values, passions and qualities first.