Cal - Graduate profile

Year joined


Current Position:

Desk Officer, Financial Services Section, Australian Passports Office

Other positions in DFAT:

Procurement and Contracts Governance Section, Financial Performance Section, Post and Locally Engaged Staff Management Issues Section

Where did you live and what were you doing before joining DFAT?

I am from Sydney and was previously working in Corporate Banking as an Analyst for NAB. I had completed the Graduate program at NAB the year before, and prior to that I was working for AFL NSW/ACT in junior development.

What qualifications do you have?

Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney

How have you used your qualifications/experience during your time in DFAT?

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I have used my qualifications and the knowledge I gained here at DFAT. My first rotations have all been involved in budgeting, finance, accounting and HR so I have often applied my education in a practical way.  However I have found that it has been my experiences working and travelling that have proved most useful at DFAT as most of the challenges I face involve networking, working with other people and time management.  

Do you speak another language?

Basic German.

Why did you apply to DFAT?

I was interested in the work that the Department does and also the opportunity to work and travel that is unrivalled by any other private or public sector job.

What was the most challenging aspect of the recruitment/selection process?

I found the interview was most challenging, as the panel were all very switched on and the questions they posed were quite testing.

Do you have any tips for applicants on how to approach the application process?

My first tip would be to not start the online application the night before! For the interview my tip would be to have confidence in your knowledge and skills and apply them to the problem presented to you. The recruiters are looking for fresh ideas presented confidently, so back your ability and of course be friendly and presentable.

Has the reality of working in DFAT differed from your perceptions of what it was going to be like?

Working here has easily surpassed my expectations. The amount and quality of training offered is second to none in the public or private sector and the people you have the opportunity to meet are amazing. I have found the day-to-day work very different to my previous work as working for the government presents its own challenges and constantly getting varying requests from posts around the world keeps things interesting.  

What has been the highlight of your career with DFAT so far?

The week long regional travel program that myself and 4 fellow graduates organised for 3 international diplomats to South Australia was a big highlight. The opportunity to plan and implement a week long program was rewarding, plus the people we were able to meet were all informative and interesting. It was a great opportunity to learn more about our own country and that South Australia is an amazing state, which is something I probably would not have done outside of the Department.  

As an economist/accountant/lawyer etc, why would you recommend DFAT over other career options?

DFAT gives you the opportunity to broaden your skills and use all your various skills in the one place. I have training in accounting and economics and professional experience in finance, so here at DFAT I can use all those skills due to the wide ranging rotations we undertake on the graduate program. Although my first rotations have mainly been involved with finance and accounting, my next rotations could be in the Consular Section, or a Trade section or the International Security Division

How do you enjoy living in Canberra?

Having lived in Sydney all my life, I have really enjoyed the moved down to Canberra. Getting around is a lot easier on your bike, I joined a great AFL team, the people seem to be friendlier, and you are only 2 hours from the snow or 2 hours from the beach, depending on the weather.

Have you any other insights for potential applicants?

Just be confident, open, prepared and trust your knowledge.

Last Updated: 22 February 2013
Head and shoulders shot of Cal