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Being successful in gaining a prestigious scholarship or fellowship can add interest to your career, provide you with opportunities to add to your profession and advance your career. Most require detailed applications, and have annual application close dates. The list below shows the wide range of scholarships available:

Australian Leadership Award Scholarships (AusAid)

Australian Leadership Awards: Leadership Development Program

 A ustralian Non-Profit Fulbright Leadership-Scholarship-

The International WaterCentre (IWC) Water Leader Scholarships

Future Leaders – Not for Profit sector

Sampson Leadership Scholarship (Water)

 Social Leadership

Chief Executive Women Scholarships

Arts Leadership

 Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) Tertiary Scholarship 2012

Churchill Fellowship

Australian Laureate Fellowships (Research)

Future Fellowships






………  but I still want out ! How can I apply for a job now?

When people first complain about workplace harassment and bullying, they generally just want it to stop. However when trust in the organisation to resolve this situation disappears, it is not unusual for the employee to think about moving to another job. Even when an investigation or other resolution strategy does sustain a complaint, the employee can be left feeling disillusioned and uncomfortable.

If you are in this situation, the employer will often asks ‘What outcome are you looking for?’  If you feel that the best option for you is to move on – why not consider asking for financial support to engage the services of a job coach.  A good job coach will:

  • help you to come to terms with the ‘grief’ of losing your old job
  • explore with you career options suited to your skills and aspirations
  • coach you to write a great Cover Letter and CV  (and address selection criteria if necessary), and prepare for common interview questions
  • help you to answer challenging interview questions like ‘Why do you want to leave your current job?’ or ‘Give us an example of when you have experienced conflict in a team and how have you managed this?’
  • give guidance on how to provide a referee report when your supervisor (if they are the person causing you distress) is not the best option

Employers can be very receptive to this option – especially when the alternative is paying for ongoing mediation, workers compensation claims, or the costs of a more protracted dispute.

As well as individual job coaching,  I also conduct workplace investigations for employers. For more about these services please click here.

Graduate Recruitment application season is here again. It is pleasing to see the range of strategies that different employers are using to seek out the best talent, who fit with where their organisation is heading. The trend is certainly towards ensuring candidates have researched the employer’s current roles and future challenges.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has just opened its applications (closing 18 April 2011) for a wide range of graduate opportunities (Human Resources, Law , Marketing and Sales, Architecture and Design, Business and Commerce, Accounting, Information Technology, Government).

The ATO application form requires candidates to answer 15 multiple choice questions. The first 12 questions test ability to research and analyse a variety of documents available on the Tax Office website (e.g. Which of the following are listed in the document Compliance program 2010-11 as initiatives and innovations for Small-to-medium enterprises?). The next three questions are about values and code of conduct (You happen to see a colleague hit a parked car while leaving the work car park……? ).

Australia Post’s application process is also open (closing 4 April 2011) and reminds applicants ‘Your application is your “brand”, so make sure you’ve thoroughly checked it for spelling and grammar.’ The application form asks about a candidate’s leadership experience (sports teams, voluntary organisations, etc) and asks the following five questions (with a limit of 100 words per questions).

  • Australia Post’s retail network is one of the biggest in the country, serving over a million people each day. Customers are the lifeblood of our organisation. Tell us about a time when you have met and exceeded the customer’s expectations through the service you have provided?
  •  In an organisation as large and diverse as Australia Post, one great opportunity is to build relationships across several teams. Tell us a time when you were able to encourage others within your workplace to work collaboratively or to support an idea?
  • As a graduate, we’re not only interested in your scores, but in who you are – what you stand for, where you’re going, what you have done in the world and what you would love to do from here. Tell us your career aspirations and areas of interest?
  • It is an exciting time to be at Australia Post as we are currently moving in a new direction with our ‘Future Ready’ strategy. This transformation strategy means that we will have a greater focus on our customers, will be embracing the digital world and more. What skills and attributes do you have which will allow you to successfully contribute to driving Australia Post into this new era?
  •  Tell us why you have ultimately chosen to apply for the Australia Post Graduate Program?

For more ideas on who is advertising for Graduates in Australia try GradConnection, UniGrad, Career One’s Virtual Career Fair, or check out a Career Fair (schedule – most in mid March to early April 2011) in your state.


When you are engaging someone to assist you with the writing of selection criteria, you need to decide if you require a basic or more expert level of support.

The basic level of support includes providing information to a writer, who will then take this information and ensure it is well presented, and in the appropriate format.

If you need more expert assistance, including understanding recruitment processes and selection criteria, you may need to engage the services of a ‘job coach/writer’ with recruitment and human resource experience.  A good job coach will brainstorm with you to find your most complex and relevant examples for the advertised role.

For example, when addressing the criteria/capability ‘personal drive and integrity’, I will ask my clients questions like:

  • When have you enthusiastically attended or organised training in relation to Values, Code of Conduct, Ethics, Respectful (harassment-free and non-discriminatory) Workplaces, Fraud or Conflict of Interest?
  • When have you taken on roles to show your commitment to quality workplaces (e.g. harassment contact officer)?
  • Can you think of a time when you have identified something that needed to be improved in your team, then went and did something about it?
  • Tell me about some times when you have been given a difficult job (lack of staff, tight deadlines, technology problems…..), but stuck at it and achieved a good result?

If the vacancy is a team leadership role, I will be looking for higher-level examples, through questions such as:

  • What have you done to ensure everyone in your team has had the appropriate corporate training? Have you ever introduced a ‘Values’ training session to show your Agency’s commitment to these Values?
  • What do you do in your team meetings to show that you are committed to non-discriminatory workplaces?
  • Have you identified, investigated or worked with corporate service teams to resolve harassment of fraud or code of conduct matters?
  • When have you been selected to undertake a challenging project?

For senior leadership roles, examples that are more significant will be sought through discussing:

  • What have you done to ensure your division/Department has shown leadership in engaging and retaining employees?
  • Where have you identified something that would enhance a new policy initiative and worked across divisions or with other government departments to make this happen?
  • What have you done to build a culture that reinforces appropriate risk-taking, initiative and personal resilience?

Following this brainstorming, it is important to select examples that are most relevant to the advertised role, and to present these concisely within the word limit.

For more tips on addressing selection criteria – please subscribe to this blog (top left corner).

For expert assistance with writing your claims against selection criteria, you can contact me at


The main season for graduate recruitment in Australia is here. I know this because I am starting to get requests for assistance with filling in graduate application forms. Between March and April, many of the large graduate employers are open for graduate applications. Click here to find the closing dates for a number of significant 2011 graduate programs. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade closes on 22nd March, Centrelink on 27th April, and Commonwealth Bank on 7th April. If you want more details about the major graduate employers in Australia, visit Career Fairs or Grad Connection.

To give you some idea of what you will need to address in an application, the following questions are asked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade graduate application form.

Question 1: Qualifications and knowledge Why are you applying for the Graduate Trainee program in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade? What skills and attributes would you be able to contribute to DFAT’s goals and work? You should give examples based on your academic achievements, work experience and/or extracurricular activities.

Question 2: Written and oral communication skills Provide examples of where your written and oral communication and negotiation skills have been most effective in the workplace or elsewhere. What outcomes were achieved?

Question 3: Conceptual and analytical skills  Describe a situation in which you have had to identify and analyse a problem or issue and then recommend a solution. How did you go about the task? What was the outcome? What constraints did you face in developing the solution?

Question 4: Effective working relations  What makes you an effective team member? How do you respond to problems or conflict within a team? Give an example of how you have contributed to a team’s achievements.

Question 5: Flexibility, adaptability and initiative  Give an example of where you have taken on an unfamiliar task or faced a challenge, whether in the workplace, your studies or extra-curricular activities. Describe how you prepared for and took on that task or challenge. What did you find most difficult about the experience?

If you are applying for a graduate role in the Commonwealth Bank, be prepared to answer the following:

 • Select up to two business unit program preferences. Please tell us why we should consider you for your first preference.

• Please tell us why we should consider you for your second preference.

• Please tell us about the extracurricular activities you have been involved in.

• Why have you chosen the Commonwealth Bank group as a potential future employer?

Why do you think the Commonwealth Bank graduate program aligns with your career goals?

• What does good customer service mean to you?

• Did you attend a Career Fair? Please specify at which Careers Fair you spoke with a Commonwealth Bank representative

• Did you attend a Commonwealth Bank campus presentation? Which campus presentation did you attend?

• Are you a member of a university or industrial society? • What was the main factor that influenced you to apply for the, Commonwealth Bank graduate program?

 Some Tips for completing a Graduate Application Form:

• remember that in these programs employers are not just offering a job. They hope you will grow into one of their future leaders.

 • while employers understand that graduates will apply for a number of organisations, they will be expecting that you are genuinely motivated to work for them. Therefore, you need to research the company or government agency and to make sure you match your achievements, interests and skills to how you can add most value to that employer.

 • it will take time to write good responses for the application form. So set aside quality time, draft your responses in Word, and get someone to proof read your answers before you transfer them across to the online application form.

• start by brainstorming all of your experience, knowledge and achievements – in your studies (individual and group assignments), work, voluntary and community activities. Try to use a different example to highlight your claims for each question.

• talk to people that you respect and get their ideas on what they see as your achievements and strengths. I find that most people overlook significant achievements.

 • it is okay to seek professional help with the writing of responses for your application form, you will not be the only person who does this. However you need to feel that the end result truly represents and matches how you will present to an assessment committee.

• be honest, as the application form is just the start of the selection process. If you overstate your claims you will need to live up to this in the interviews and other assessment processes.

• if you are stuck for the right words to use to fully present your case, you can access free online information, borrow books on selection criteria from the University or Council libraries, or purchase books written about addressing selection criteria. Just make sure that you access contemporary information.

 The good news is that new research by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) shows 21 per cent of employers will increase the scale of their graduate programs in 2010.

Good luck with your application.

For more tips on answering graduate questions – please subscribe to this blog (top left corner).

For expert assistance with preparing your application you can contact me at  or ph 0403766812

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