What's your job about?
Good question – my job seems to change every day! Of course, there’s business as usual, which means responding to emails, maintaining our online presence on Yammer (our internal social network and collaboration program) and managing our communications accounts.
I am a communications officer in the Executive and Staff Communications team. On a day-to-day basis, my team manages news hub (our internal online publication), offers tips to help with Yammer and supports business areas with their communication needs. I enjoy being able to use my personality and creativity in my work. I combine my academic experience, business area objectives and my creativity to create effective communication products.
What's your background?
I grew up in Canberra, which is rare in the graduate program as most people come from interstate to participate. I started studying a Bachelor of Arts at the Australian National University but knew that my passion was for communications. As soon as I started studying public relations I knew it was for me. I was on the public relations committee at uni, did an internship with Her Canberra and enjoyed all the great opportunities my studies offered me. Her Canberra was great as I enjoyed being able to write in a casual, fun way that allowed a lot of personality. It also taught me about the digital climate and best practice. In my communication role now, I was surprised at the amount of personality and creativity that was encouraged as well.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
One of the great things about the department is how much diversity is valued. Different skill sets and backgrounds provide unique insights into different approaches to problems. My formal communication training has helped me in my role with Executive and Staff Communication as I understand the importance of setting specific targets and evaluating communication success. Managing relationships with different business teams and people is imperative. I believe my public relations study gave me a good indication of how to manage these relationships in the real world. I have learned a great deal from my supervisor, colleagues and director. I believe that people with a keen eye for detail and passion to learn could thrive in this environment with various kinds of academic and life backgrounds.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The highlights of my job are the people I get to work with, the diversity of the work and the creativity I get to use. I enjoy writing stories for news hub. It is great to interview staff, get their insight, and combine that with my experience writing for an online publication. It’s very satisfying to see something you’ve written get published and have people like and comment on it. One of the misconceptions I think people have is that in government there is no room for expression or personality. I know that, having worked in my team, I have had the opportunity to inject my personality into a lot of my work.
What are the limitations of your job?
One of the challenges my team runs into is trying to not be ‘Canberra-centric’ in our communications. As we are a department with a huge national footprint, there are many opportunities to work with people all across the nation. However, this can make communication difficult, as we need to make all-staff communications relevant to different teams and staff working in exceptionally different circumstances.
What are 3 pieces of advice you would give yourself when you were a student?
What's the best thing about the National Graduate Program?
Something that surprised me was how excited business areas, staff and even SES (Senior Executive Service) were to have and support graduates. My managers have gone above and beyond what I thought they would to ensure I had exposure to different areas of the department and the opportunity to upskill. The graduate team supports all the graduates throughout the year and they’re very patient and understanding. In a huge department such as ours, it can be difficult to know who to talk to, but the graduate team staff were always willing to point us in the right direction. Likewise, my SES mentor was a huge help. He was very patient and down to earth and encouraged me to pursue opportunities to help my career. The SES mentor program is what you make of it, and I am extremely grateful to my mentor and the graduate program for organising my mentor’s help.
What advice would you give current university students interested in applying for the National Graduate Program?
You’ll need a lot of documents for your security clearance. As soon as possible start filing away important documents in a filing cabinet to keep track of them. Make the most of the graduate program. A lot of teams and managers are surprisingly open to short-term secondments so make sure to ask.