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Quentin - Graduate profile

Quentin

Year joined

2012

Current Position:

Innovation and Portfolio Performance Section, Overseas Property Office

Other positions in DFAT:

Sanctions and Transnational Crime Section, International Legal Division

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

Prior to joining DFAT I lived in Perth, Sydney as well as in several cities in Germany and the Netherlands managing my own sales and marketing business.

What qualifications do you have?

Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia

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

Written, numerical and analytical skills from university are very useful at DFAT. There is a large amount of written as well as analytical type work. Interpersonal and communication skills are also very helpful in networking and working together with colleagues and managers.

Do you speak another language?

German

Why did you apply to DFAT?

I found DFAT to be a great place to combine my Commerce degree with my experience working overseas. I was attracted to the very good training available and the opportunity to work with some excellent people. The progression and travel opportunities as well as the variety of work were also very appealing.

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

The most challenging part of the recruitment process was the initial online application.

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

It is important to be able to write concisely as well as being able to demonstrate a wide range of different skills and experiences on your application. Make sure you fully research the roles and gain information about the Department. The Annual Report available from the DFAT website gives a very useful overview of the Department’s operations.

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

I have really enjoyed the work I have been doing so far. I have had a wide variety of different tasks and been able to learn from many different people in the Department. There are more opportunities to do interesting work early in your career than I anticipated. Furthermore the training has been great and rotating around different work areas every 3-6 months gives an opportunity to get a good understanding of the diverse challenges the Department faces.

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

The training has been outstanding. We have had numerous courses and briefings from senior members of DFAT, senior public servants and academics. The training has included courses about the history of Australian foreign policy, national interests and security, modern diplomacy, consular work and much more. Certainly the quality and quantity of training involved has exceeded my expectations and the Department is also supporting Corporate Graduates in pursuing post-graduate study.

As a Commerce graduate why would you recommend DFAT over other career options?

The training and breadth of experience that DFAT offers differentiates it from other career options. The variety of the work is also very appealing as well as the opportunities to live and work overseas. The Department offers a lot of support to new employees and the 2 year graduate program is second to none.

How do you enjoy living in Canberra?

Canberra has so far proved a very easy place to live. Nothing is far away, there is next to no traffic and it is incredibly convenient. On top of that there are a surprising number of things to do here and some great places to visit nearby. Both the ski fields and the beach are within a couple of hours drive. Canberra is a very picturesque with the nearby hills and mountains giving it a quite different feel to other Australian cities.

Have you any other insights for potential applicants?

There are also a lot of opportunities to learn new languages and improve any existing language abilities. There are weekly lunchtime discussion groups in numerous languages at different levels as well as week-long language immersion programs. On top of that the Department offers intensive language training for a number of overseas postings.