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IP Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

4 insider tips to score a graduate job with IP Australia

Vanessa Tobias

Careers Commentator

Are you excited by new and innovative products? Do you like the idea of identifying the latest invention to take the world by storm? Would you like to play an integral role in protecting the inventor, their great ideas and discoveries in the long-term? You should consider the fascinating world of intellectual property.

IP Australia administers Australia’s intellectual property rights system and a career with IP Australia could set you up with the career of your dreams. Established in 1904, their main purpose is to protect inventions through patents, logos and trademarks. They also safeguard the discovery of plant varieties through plant breeder’s rights, as well as design rights to protect the appearance of a product.

Employees at IP Australia are diverse in culture, experience and skills. With an inclusive and balanced work-life culture, they offer ongoing on-the-job training with leadership and talent management to grow your career. The graduate salaries are competitive, as well as generous superannuation and leave provisions and other perks that come with being part of the public sector.

So how do you get a foot in the door with IP Australia? Our graduates who have done just that, are here to share all the info you need, to help you do the same. Here are their top four insider tips to score a graduate job with IP Australia.

1. Didn’t do an engineering or science degree? No problems.

IP Australia offers roles for graduates of various disciplines. Whilst people with engineering and science degrees are considered for patent examination teams, graduates with other qualifications can choose a career in the trademark and design examination teams.

The main areas IP Australia recruit from are chemical, computing, electrical or mechanical engineering, biotech, chemistry, medical devices, pharmaceuticals or physics. However, don’t be discouraged if they weren’t the principles you studied.

IP Australia actively look to fill other professional positions in finance, communication, legal, IT, economics and human resources.  Either way, you’ll receive comprehensive training, no matter what your background or experience is.

“Recruitment processes seem to value the diversity of the employees. In my intake, there are employees ranging from 20-40 with a vast range of experiences/qualifications as well as ethnic backgrounds. Managers/senior examiners are easy with you taking leave.”
– Graduate, Sydney

“In my area (patents) most people are required to have significant tertiary education… people with a relevant diploma and industry experience can also get into my area, however, and there are no qualifications required to become a Trade Mark Examiner.”
– Graduate, Sydney

2. Get interested in intellectual property law

As mentioned above, IP Australia do recruit from diverse backgrounds and experience for different roles. However, an interest in Intellectual Property Law and a passion for technology is integral to any position within the company.

Before applying with IP Australia, take some time to read up and understand Intellectual Property Law in Australia and around the world. Research the value of trademarks, patents, logos and brands, as well as design and plant breeder’s rights. Prepare examples to possible interview questions that include your new found knowledge.

“Get an understanding of intellectual property law and the functions of IP Australia.”
– Graduate, Canberra

“Be passionate about your area of technology. Show willingness to learn about IP law.”
– Graduate, Canberra

“Learn about patents and in particular the cutting edge of legal precedent, e.g. manner of manufacture issues, computer implemented inventions etc.”
– Graduate, Canberra

“Just a basic understanding of IP rights (what is a patent?) and a passion for technology.”
– Graduate, Canberra

3. Remember the STAR method

You’ve probably heard of the STAR method by now, which is a way of responding to behavioural based interview questions in a structured way. It helps you be specific in your answers, limits rambling and reminds you to include your own experience and results to show yourself in a positive light.

The recruitment process with IP Australia is quite comprehensive. You’ll submit an application through their web recruitment system that includes your qualifications, academic transcript, thesis abstract (if you’ve completed a thesis), job history, citizenship status and responses to questions included on the application form.

The process then contains a number of steps, including psychometric testing and phone/video questionnaires and interviews. It can be overwhelming. But remembering the STAR method during this process will keep you on track to show concrete examples that prove you possess the attributes needed to excel inthe job.

“Use [the] STAR method when responding to selection criteria. Make sure you have space and quiet when you're doing the reasoning test online. Look up a list of at least ten standard interview questions so you can nail the interview. Be yourself.”
– Graduate, Canberra

“For the initial application, remember to use the STAR model and give good examples of your skills. For the interview, I would advise to keep a level head when challenged and approach each situation logically. Also keep the STAR model in mind. Be honest about your technical knowledge and show a willingness to learn or refresh your skills in areas that are not at your forefront. To best prepare, I would think about your best skills and have examples prepared that really show these.”
– Midlevel, Canberra

“Have a sound understanding of your competencies and how they compare to APS competencies described in the integrated leadership system as described on the APSC website. Use the STAR model in answering your questions. Don't be nervous, the panel was friendly.’
– Graduate, Canberra

4. Get fond of Canberra

Whilst IP Australia promote a healthy workplace environment and drive a culture that is flexible by default, a job with IP Australia does require you to work in Canberra, at least for in the initial period.

IP Australia also encourages a work-life balance, meaning everyone has access to some sort of flexible work solution. There are work from home options and encouragement to spend time on your passions outside of work. At least you'll get plenty of time to enjoy Canberra while you're living there.

“A phone interview and then an interview in person in Canberra (a video conference can be arranged if unable to travel). You will need some basic problem solving skills for the second interview.”
– Graduate, Canberra

“The office is quite large, with a cafe located on the bottom floor. There is a lot of space in the office with a kitchen and bathrooms on each floor. The location is ten minutes from the Canberra CBD. The dress code is anywhere between full suit and tie to semi-casual.”
– Graduate, Canberra

Are you intrigued by new ideas, innovative products and law? Do you want to learn more about IP Australia including recruitment tips and information on what daily life is like at IP Australia? Our graduates share everything there is to know about the working hours, culture, diversity, career prospects and more on our GradAustralia IP Australia Page.