Now’s the time for public servants to polish up their career profiles

By Sue Parker

May 30, 2022

It’s easy to overlook prejudice against autistic people, including in recruitment processes.(Prostock-studio/Adone)

The impending changes to federal service contracts signal the importance for public servants to polish and amplify their career profiles sooner rather than later.

As reported last week, public sector contracts are set to be scrutinised by the Albanese government. Consulting and labour-hire firms are on notice that there will be fewer external contracts and less taxpayers’ money for them. Arbitrary staffing caps are also being abolished as Labor seeks to reduce reliance on external contractors, bringing services back into the APS fold.

Competition for these coveted responsibilities and roles will be robust. Many will lead to promotions across Work Level Standard bands and/or cross-department moves.

Hiring panels will no doubt be casting wider nets to capture the best talent across a national pool of 14 federal departments and 97 agencies.

By virtue of this, a significant number of candidates will be unknown to hiring teams. This intensifies the need to address career profiles and reputations.

Profile positioning and management go well beyond resumes and selection criteria submissions. Talent identification and invitations to apply for roles can begin long before job advertisements are placed.

Laying a platform of career awareness and influence prior to, and during actual hiring processes is essential to augment opportunities and positive outcomes.

There are four elements to harness career opportunities: visibility, values, trust and authority.

Proactive actions of the elements include professional and academic networking, LinkedIn, publications, direct outreach and social media. Reactive actions include resumes, executive portfolios, and expressions of interest and selection criteria responses.

All relate to both proactive and reactive activities with generous and appropriate application.


APS leaders and professionals must embrace a visibility marketing mindset in 2022. Whilst it can feel intimidating for many who fear judgement and are more introverted, it is essential as ‘what got you here today won’t necessarily get you where you need to go tomorrow’.

Hesitation to be visible and step out keeps many accomplished APS professionals stuck. But it’s critical to control your personal brand. If apprehensive, you can fall prey to intra-public sector prejudice, plus conscious and unconscious biases.

Visibility on LinkedIn, presentations at associations and networking lay a foundation of inspiration and influence. Online and media visibility may also include sporting, charity and volunteer activities. Add these where possible, and especially where it enhances your field of expertise, personal values and community ethos.


The values of leaders and senior stakeholders has significant influence on decisions, as was strikingly demonstrated in the 2022 federal election.

The heartfelt values and ethics communicated by Labor and the new independents was clear. Aligning and communicating what is important connects and informs.

There is no difference in these tenets across recruitment and career decisions.

Recruitment has layers of direct and indirect persuasion factors. They traverse technical, functions and competence to personality, visions and values. And whilst values are individual and not necessarily ubiquitous, they will both attract and repel.

Communicating genuine values meaningfully brings many opportunities. Further, sharing important values (especially contentious ones) can reduce future workplace stress and culture anguish down the track.

Leaders and teams will generally have greater confidence in recruiting people whose personal values and leadership motivators coalesce.


Ethics and respect are documented as critical in all APS values. Trust is the end product of ethics and respect with social proof thereof demonstrated on digital platforms.

Conduct on social media and LinkedIn can build or destroy trust. Reputation damage results from odious online behaviours and disrespectful engagement.

Given the majority of hiring managers review LinkedIn and digital platforms as part of reference processes, respectful contributions will go a long way to edify your career brand.


Authority positioning is multifaceted. It includes an inspiring and complete professional LinkedIn profile, content and articles on subject matter expertise, testimonials, thought leadership engagement and storytelling. Together and separately, they influence and impact directly and indirectly.

Sharing expertise publicly in articles, media and whitepapers, etc. strengthens professional profiles and adds to wider education. Clever storytelling demonstrates experience and context versus dry clichés.

The past few years have taught us that life and work can change in a nanosecond. And change can elicit apprehension and excitement. Sometimes it’s a combination of both.

Career opportunities abound in 2022 not just from abolishing staffing caps but a vigorous public and private sector focus to recruit best of breed expertise, talent and decent humans.


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