Johann Wagner is completing a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Science at ANU. Earlier this year, he was successful in obtaining a junior economist internship with the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
What advice would you give to current students embarking on an internship or job search?
Don't give up, be patient, and keep on searching. From my experience, you've got to keep on applying for opportunities that you are interested in and passionate about – don't just apply because it might look good on your resume. It might take you a few days or even half a year until you hear back from someone, so be resilient and push on.
I also encourage you to connect with your favourite lecturers, researchers and alumni. I've received so much valuable knowledge about career pathways and research ideas from such individuals. It's a great way to get yourself out there, meet new people and expand your network.
Lastly, listen to their advice; don't mimic it, because it's likely it won't effectively work for you. Use their stories to build your own pathway to finding your own opportunities.
What advice can you share with students who are in the first year of their degree and wishing to work in the APS in the future?
Find professionals on LinkedIn who are working in the APS in an interesting field and reach out to them. You will be surprised how many reply. People enjoy seeing passion and commitment. The more effort and interest you show, the more people will tend to give you, so start finding these grateful human gems and shout them coffee!
You should also recognise that you always have to start somewhere. For me, it was through volunteering. Nominate yourself for some sort of student leadership opportunity, perhaps through your local sports club, college, or ANU student society.
Most importantly, read the CBE Careers newsletter as well as the CBE Student Experience team’s Monday emails. They feature so much beneficial and actionable information that is often overlooked by many students. CBE Careers also offers excellent workshops and one-on-one career advice. The team provide tours and presentations on different departments within the APS, usually about their graduate programs, where you can meet and talk with graduates to see if APS is something for you.
What key tips would you give students who have an upcoming interview?
- Be sure to research the organisation that will be interviewing you.
- Demonstrate that you will be easy to work with and will fit well within the team’s structure through your open body language and genuine responses.
- At the end of the interview, always ask questions as this can show one of the most important sides of you – your curiosity to learn.