Indigenous Cadet/Policy Graduate profile - Lara

Year joined


Current position

Indigenous Cadet/Policy Graduate (Feb 2011). I am currently in the East, West and Regional Africa Section, on the final placement of my Indigenous Cadetship. Cadetship placements occur over the summer holidays of each academic year. In February 2011, I will begin the two-year Policy Graduate Program.

Previous positions in DFAT

Indigenous Cadet, South-East Asia Bilateral Branch, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore Section.

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

I'm from Hobart, Tasmania and have just completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in International Relations and Political Science. Before joining DFAT I had a gap year, which I spent in Europe and I also worked for another government department before commencing my degree.

Why did you apply to DFAT?

I applied to DFAT because the career opportunities it provides coincide with my degree. The offer of postings was also another factor that made DFAT stand out from other agencies, as well as the diverse array of areas within the department that align with my interests.

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

The security clearance was the most overwhelming aspect, due to the large amount of information that is required and the long wait to hear if you are cleared.

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

My advice is to be well prepared and be completely honest. Make sure you read up on DFAT and have examples of why you are the best person for the position. Life experience, extracurricular activities and language are helpful in relation to separating you from other applicants. You should also remember that above everything else, DFAT want to know who you are, so be yourself throughout the application process.

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

The reality is much more than I ever imagined. The work is interesting and the opportunities are endless.

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

Since I've been working with the Department, part of my job has been to meet politicians, have meetings in Parliament House and learn about Australia's bilateral relationships with the countries.

Why would you recommend DFAT as a career?

I recommend it as a career to those who are interested in politics, policy and international issues, and are want a challenging and fulfilling career.

How do you enjoy living in Canberra?

I love Canberra. It has fantastic restaurants and shopping, and has a good nightlife. It is also really close to Batemans Bay and Sydney, which is very convenient.

Last Updated: 22 February 2013