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Careers

Graduate program

Applications for 2021 graduate programs are now closed.

Applications for the 2022 graduate program will open in February 2021.

We welcome candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds. Each year we select a mix of fresh graduates and graduates with several years of professional experience under their belt. DFAT places no limits on the age of candidates.

These are ongoing entry level positions, with graduates commencing at an APS3.2 with a salary of $68,467. DFAT also offers a generous relocation package to successful candidates.

During the course of the two year program, you will undertake a tailored learning package delivered through the department’s Diplomatic Academy. You will also complete four work placements, giving you firsthand experience of the department’s diverse range of priorities. After you have successfully completed the program, you will progress to an APS 4 position in Canberra.

The graduate program is based in Canberra. It will prepare you for a rich and rewarding career with the department, whether your interests are in corporate management or in foreign, trade or international development policy.

The foundation of the department’s work and the majority of your career will be in Canberra, working with and focusing on international issues affecting Australia. It may also include service at one of the 120 overseas posts we manage. Graduates are able to apply for positions overseas after their first year with the department but usually spend a number of years in Canberra before being selected for an overseas posting. We encourage candidates to consider this carefully and make an informed decision before applying.

To note: Prior to engagement selected candidates will be required to obtain an Australian national security clearance at Negative Vetting Level 2.

Policy

DFAT is looking for candidates who are curious about the world and interested in taking up a challenge. You will have a strong record of academic achievement with at least a credit average as well as extra-curricular interests. You may have work experience, paid or unpaid, from any background, but you will have a genuine interest in Australia’s foreign, development and trade policy interests, including in the international and domestic policy contexts. We welcome applications from a broad range of academic backgrounds. We also encourage economics graduates and graduates with an interest in international development work to apply.

More information will be available in the relevant position descriptions when applications open.

Policy graduates’ work placements might include work on:

  • bilateral economic and political relations
  • international trade negotiations, investment and economic analysis
  • humanitarian assistance
  • international development and aid program management
  • international security
  • public diplomacy
  • commercial, administrative and international law
  • multilateral and global issues
  • consular and passport services.

Corporate management

DFAT is seeking outstanding graduates who want a diverse career in corporate management and are interested in contributing to the management of DFAT’s corporate enabling services and service delivery.

You will have a strong record of academic achievement with at least a credit average in disciplines relevant to corporate management, such as project management, business, finance, accounting and human resource management. You may have work experience, paid or unpaid, from any background, but you must have a genuine interest in corporate management.

More information will be available in the relevant position descriptions when applications open.

You will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the department’s financial and corporate context, completing placements in areas such as:

  • financial and asset management
  • human resources
  • procurement and contract management
  • overseas property management
  • consular and passport services
  • ICT and cyber security.

Eligibility requirements

You must meet DFAT’s eligibility requirements to apply for the 2022 graduate program. In addition to these requirements:

Policy Program:

  • you must be an Australian Citizen at the time of application, and
  • you must have finished at least a bachelor degree by 31 December 2021, with at least a credit average or higher; and
  • your most recent degree must be no more than five years old on the date you lodge your application.

Corporate Management Program:

  • you must be an Australian Citizen at the time of application, and
  • you must have finished at least a bachelor degree in one of the following disciplines by 31 December 2021, with at least a credit average or higher
    • Project Management
    • Finance
    • Commerce
    • Business
    • Business Administration
    • Accounting
    • Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Management
    • Marketing
    • Human Resources
    • Communications
  • your most recent degree must be no more than five years old on the date you lodge your application.

If your only qualification is from an overseas institution, you will be required to provide Australian documentation recognising your qualification(s). Please refer to the Department of Education and Training website for more information about recognition of overseas qualifications.

If you have at least one tertiary qualification from Australia, you may provide documentation recognising your other international qualifications during later stages of the selection process.

Applying from overseas

A number of successful candidates apply from overseas each year. The majority of the application process is conducted online, however, the very final stage requires an in-person assessment and interview in Australia. For the 2021 graduate programs this will likely be between May and June 2020, but the final dates have not yet been set. If you are overseas and shortlisted for interview, you will need to travel to Australia at your own expense.

If you are successful in securing a recommendation for engagement through the graduate recruitment process, you will be required to undergo a security clearance process. This will include another face-to-face interview in Australia. If you are overseas, you will need to travel to Canberra at your own expense to undertake the security interview. Interviews cannot be conducted by phone or over video messaging services such as Skype.

Questions

If you have questions about the application or selection process for our graduate program, check out our FAQs page or contact our graduate recruitment team, at gradrec@dfat.gov.au

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