Corporate Graduate Careers


Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, November 2012

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade needs your specialist talent, confidence and knowledge.

Do you believe in a career that motivates you to excel and achieve?

A corporate graduate position offers you the opportunity to employ your extensive academic and personal skills to manage DFAT operations, both in Australia and overseas. The graduate program allows you to continue to develop and expand your knowledge in a broad range of areas – from financial and human resource management to ICT, property management and consular and passport services.

The opportunity

Working in a diverse and challenging environment, corporate graduates have the opportunity to advance their careers as corporate experts. They will undertake vast and varied functions including planning for and managing DFAT’s financial, human and property resources. Corporate officers also undertake consular work, including consular crisis response and management, and provide advice to Australian embassies and high commissions on a range of topics. Corporate graduates have the unique opportunity to work in one of Australia’s many diverse overseas posts.

Is this you?

If you answered yes to these questions, you could be the graduate we are looking for.Are you the right graduate?

Are you the right graduate?

Our graduates are resourceful team players who have initiative, advanced communication abilities, and are flexible and open to change. If you have a broad range of experiences, have a keen interest in the work we do, and are ready to learn new skills and face exciting challenges, then you may be the right graduate for us.

We are interested in graduates from a diverse range of backgrounds. Successful applicants will have a strong record of academic achievement, work experience, extra-curricular achievements and community activities.

For the Corporate Graduate Program, the department is seeking graduates with accounting, commerce, ICT, human resource management or similar qualifications.

Professional training

Our graduates undertake a comprehensive two-year professional development program in Canberra, combining work placements with formal training modules and regional travel.  Work placements in key areas of the department’s work are designed to give graduates a broad knowledge and understanding of the Government's foreign and trade policy priorities, the international environment as well as the department's financial and corporate context. 

The Corporate Graduate Program prepares successful candidates for a career managing the department’s corporate policies, programs and strategies.  The program enables graduates to develop and expand their knowledge in a broad range of areas - from complex human resource, property and security issues, to cutting-edge ICT programs, consular issues, and budgets and finance.

Corporate graduates also have the opportunity to study towards a CPA, CA or other financial management qualification.

Work overseas

After completing the training program, graduates commence a placement in Canberra and are eligible to apply for overseas postings. Graduates overseas enjoy diverse and varied responsibilities. Typical roles for corporate graduates overseas include managing the mission’s financial, human and property resources, and providing consular assistance to Australians.

Working overseas is one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of a DFAT employee's career. Graduates have the opportunity to serve in a variety of interesting locations, including difficult and demanding ones.

Unbeatable variety

DFAT is a large organisation with a range of different work areas. Employees with broad skills or seeking diversity are encouraged to change roles and master new areas of work, creating work place variety and personal satisfaction.

“I applied for DFAT hoping for a high level of variety in my work and DFAT has exceeded my expectations. It is a non-conventional path for a Commerce graduate but has allowed me to work on matters I had not even thought about in my previous job. DFAT has allowed me to develop a broad range of skills and constantly challenges me to apply them in a range of contexts.”

Sarah, Corporate Graduate, 2010

Competitive salaries and conditions

The department’s employees enjoy highly competitive pay and conditions including:

The department offers equity and fairness in the workplace and opportunities for professional development.

Indigenous Australians

In support of the Government’s Closing the Gap: Indigenous Economic Partnership Agreement, the department is committed to increasing the recruitment of Indigenous Australians, including through the use of the APS Special Measures provision.

People with a disability

The department is committed to providing equal employment opportunities, access, equity and social inclusion for people with a disability.

Employee profile: Zacharia

Zach holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies), and has almost completed his CPA.

Here’s what Zach has to say about working in the department:

My experience in DFAT to date has been amazing! After joining in February 2010 as a Corporate Graduate, I've had the opportunities to work in Islamabad, Rangoon and now in Hanoi as Third Secretary and Vice-Consul.

Working for DFAT in Canberra trained me in a wide range of responsibilities, including finance, budget, consular and human resources management. Working overseas adds many layers to this type of work, including cultural differences and language barriers. This makes the work a little bit stressful and intimidating, but also extremely rewarding and challenging!

For me, DFAT is the ideal job because it allows you to manage multiple corporate issues in amazing overseas environments, as well as develop a strong set of professional and interpersonal skills. Let's just say, before joining DFAT, I wasn't reviewing local staff salaries and conditions of service in Islamabad, assisting with ministerial visits in Rangoon, providing consular assistance to Australians in gaol across Vietnam or working on Australia's crisis response for the multiple crises in the Middle East, Japan and New Zealand in early 2011.

If you're looking for a large variety of corporate work, professional and personal development, all whilst living overseas, then DFAT is for you.

The graduate recruitment process

Applications usually open in around February each year. Please visit the department’s website at to learn more about the graduate recruitment process and how to apply for the department’s graduate programs.

Policy graduate program

The department also offers a unique graduate program for students interested in pursuing a career as a foreign affairs and trade policy officer, with opportunities to work overseas as a diplomat. For details on the Policy Graduate Program, see our brochures or visit our website at

Indigenous Graduates

The department encourages Indigenous Australians to apply for our graduate programs.  We also recruit Indigenous graduates through the APSC’s Indigenous Pathways Program. Successful applicants join the department’s policy or corporate graduate programs.

Information on the Indigenous Graduate Program is available on our website at:, or from the APSC’s website at

Indigenous Cadetships

The department’s Indigenous Cadetship Program is a sponsorship program that provides Indigenous university students with financial assistance during their studies and practical work experience during their summer breaks.

Information on the Indigenous Cadetship Program is available at:

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