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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

About Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Government & Public Service
  • Law
  • Recruitment & HR

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Story

Working at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is more than just a job. It is a career that can provide you with the opportunity to do the kind of work that adds up to something meaningful. Whether we are promoting international trade and investment, helping in crises overseas, assisting Australian travellers, reducing poverty and supporting growth, we all share a common goal of advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally.


DFAT recognises the importance of valuing diversity and promoting inclusion. We especially value the unique qualities, attributes, skills and experiences our employees bring to the workplace. The department supports a range of employee networks to help employees connect with others, share life experiences and perspectives, and advocate to the department on a range of diversity issues. These networks include the DFAT Families Network, Indigenous Employees Network, DFAT Disability Network, LGBTI Network, CALD Network and WGEN (Workplace Gender Equality) Network.

Continuous Learning Opportunities

Our learning and development programs are provided through our Diplomatic Academy - a leading-edge hub for all staff working to advance Australia's interests internationally. The Diplomatic Academy's learning programs are organised around faculties covering all areas of the department's business – foreign and strategic policy; development; economic diplomacy; trade and investment; consular and passport services; legal, language and corporate services.

The Recruitment Process

DFAT's graduate selection process comprises three stages.

Stage One

Application and Online Testing

To apply for the graduate program with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) you need to submit an online application through our current opportunities page.

Your application will need to provide: your personal details, respond to two questions (no more than 250 words per question), a 100-word outline of who you are, including your interests outside of work and study, details of two referees, your key academic and professional achievements, extra-curricular interests and work experience.

Please note that this process captures all the information needed for your application. Separate resumes will not be accepted.

You will then be invited to complete online testing if you meet the eligibility requirements of the programs. At this early stage, online testing will be the same as the 2020 process, which was conducted through GradSift.

The selection committee will review applications and shortlist them for progression to the next stage of the assessment process.

Stage Two

Video Assessment Candidates who progress to this stage of the process will be required to complete a video assessment. This will be either a presentation or interview format and will test your communication and presentation skills as well as your ability to think on your feet.

Stage Three

Assessment Centre The final stage of the process, the assessment centre. Candidates will be given a choice to attend this assessment in person in Canberra (taking into account advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and relevant state and territory governments), or online through a virtual platform

The assessment centre will include the following tasks:

Written exercise (to be completed online prior to the assessment centre)

  • Group exercise
  • Panel interview

Before attending the assessment centre you will be required to: Complete an online behavioural profile test. The test is not determinative, but contributes to the selection committee's assessment of a candidate's 'fit' for the job; and Complete online departmental security clearance paperwork, including providing supporting documentation.

At this early stage of planning assessment centres are expected to be held in June 2021. Please note these dates may change.


Referee reports enable the selection committee to verify the information obtained in your application and during assessment activities. Referee reports will be collected online via email. Please make sure referee email details are up to date.


At this stage, we will look to make offers by July 2021.


Due to the size of the process and the number of applications received, we are not able to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

Remuneration & Career prospects

Our graduate roles are ongoing entry-level positions, with graduates commencing at an APS3.2 with a salary of $68,467 (plus 15.4% superannuation). Graduates will progress to an APS Level 4 after they have successfully completed the first year of the program.

The Program

During the two year program, graduates will undertake a tailored training package delivered through the Diplomatic Academy. They will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the Government's foreign, trade and aid policy priorities. Graduates will complete four work placements, giving them first-hand experience of the department's diverse range of priorities, including:

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

The policy graduate training program includes a block of courses crafted to build on and give graduates the opportunity to fill gaps in their academic studies. There are workshops to develop graduates' presentation and negotiation skills, as well as courses in human rights, diplomacy, international development, financial management, public diplomacy and consular services.

Graduates also have an opportunity to train with peers from other countries and travel interstate to make calls on peak industry bodies and government officials.

Overseas Postings

On completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to apply for a position overseas, although it can be a few years before graduates take up overseas positions. For many DFAT staff, overseas service is a rewarding and exciting part of their career. However, there is more to working at DFAT than overseas postings. The majority of your career will be spent in Canberra working with and focusing on international issues affecting Australia. We encourage candidates to consider this carefully and make an informed decision before applying.

Jobs & Opportunities

Locations With Jobs & Opportunities
  • Canberra, ACT
Hiring candidates with qualifications in
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