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NSW Government

  • > 100,000 employees

Tips to help you apply for the NSW Government Graduate Program

NSW Government

We asked our graduates to share their advice on the graduate application process. Head to our website for a more detailed explanation of the application process.

Get to know us

As Australia’s largest and most popular graduate employer, the NSW Government Graduate Program can offer you endless opportunities. From the varied rotations with the different participating agencies, to the networking opportunities and support network, it can be a lot to take in. It’s important that you know what you want to get out of the Graduate Program and also, get to know us so you can understand what a career in NSW Government could look like. The Graduate Program webpage is packed with information including case studies from current and past graduates, a detailed overview of the Program, a breakdown of the application process and the support services available to students from diversity groups.

NSW Government is built on the public sector values so it’s a good idea to become familiar with them. Reflect on your past experiences and see how you demonstrated each of those values in your work, volunteer, personal or university life. Having these examples reflected in your online application and during the structured interview will show your determination to join NSW Government.

Trust in yourself

One of our biggest letdowns is not trusting ourselves, and working through that is a hardenough challenge! Recognising that and learning to navigate through it will make a big difference when applying to the Graduate Program.

If you are invited to attend an assessment centre, you may need to complete a group activity. The group activity is your chance to be confident, speak up and make your contribution heard. Even if you are summarising the information that has been shared, everyone has different strengths and the assessors will recognise this. Remember that your voice is valuable and will bring your unique perspective to light.


From the online application to the structured interview, the STAR method will be your friend. The STAR method structures your response ensures that it includes the:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

Remember to be specific in your response and rather than saying what you might do in the situation, you tell us what exactly you did. Once you have the structure of your response, see how you can work in the graduate capabilities to demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the role.

Come prepared

When applying to the Graduate Program, make sure you understand the role expectations. The role description covers a heap of information, from the key accountabilities, which provides a high-level summary of the role, and the key capabilities, which is explained in the capability description, to the behavioral indicators that describe the actions at different levels for each capability. Familiarizing yourself with the key capabilities and the role requirements will help you when preparing for each stage of the application process including the targeted and situational questions, group activity, role play and structured interview at the assessment centre.

You might also be interested in the NSW Government virtual internship program, designed to give you a chance build real skills and gain insight into some of the work our graduates do. There are different modules to choose from, depending on your academic achievements and personal preferences. Currently there are modules available in Policy, Digital, Analytics, Legal, with more coming soon! Each module has been created with specific tasks that challenge students to understand the role of a graduate. Remember to incorporate your experience in completing the virtual internship program into your application!

Count on family and friends

Stage one of the application process requires you to answer targeted and situational based questions. The targeted questions allow you to express your motivation for wanting to work as a NSW Government graduate, while enabling you to draw on your past experiences that demonstrate your capabilities. The situational based questions look at how you respond to a series of situations that graduates may encounter in the workplace. In this section, you can demonstrate your problem-solving skills by selecting the most appropriate answer.

Practice with a friend some example interview questions that are based on the capabilities and behavioural indicators found in the role description. It will help you be prepared and more confident at the assessment centre.