APS6 selection criteria and pitch writing
Compare APS6 to both APS5 and EL1 and write a distinctly APS6 targeted application.
By Jacquie Liversidge
The difference between Australian Public Service Band 6 (APS6), Executive Level 1 (EL1), and Executive Level 2 (EL2) employees in the Australian Public Service, if you’re not already in the government system, can be confusing to understand. These three levels of employment have distinct responsibilities and requirements and are underpinned by the Australian Public Service capability framework.
The ILS differ between EL1 and EL2. Here are similar examples which fall under Leadership and Accountability in each level.
Executive Level 1 (Directors, Chief Officers, Department Heads)
- Provide a significant contribution to innovation and business improvement strategies.
Executive Level 2 (Assistant Director, Managers, Project Leads, Senior Technical Roles)
- Provide leadership in implementing and promoting a climate of change and continuous improvement.
EL2 roles provide the key conduit between the Senior Executive Service (SES) to operational execution, by leading, shaping and guiding the operational execution of department strategy set at the SES level.
While EL1s provide key leadership to the higher APS bands; EL2s lead execution of SES decision making.
While you may not have examples which demonstrate capability at the EL2 level if you have not worked or acted in an EL2 capacity, it is still worth considering the integrated leadership system and thinking about examples which demonstrate EL2 level capabilities if you are making a jump upwards.
Always keep in mind the Integrated Leadership System in the selection of your examples to form your pitch.
The difference between APS6 and EL1:
When applying for an APS6 role, one is required to submit a one-page pitch along with the resume that highlights their suitability for the role.
The application process for APS6 is similar to that of EL1, but the responsibilities and requirements for each role are different. EL1 employees are in a higher level of management and have more responsibilities, whereas APS6 employees have a more specific focus on leading and managing a team.
Another difference between an APS6 application and an EL1 application is the level of experience required. EL1 roles typically require a higher level of experience and expertise compared to an APS6 role. The application process for APS6 is less intense and less demanding than that of EL1.
The difference between APS6 and APS5:
When comparing an APS6 application and an APS5 application, the main difference is the level of responsibilities and experience required for the role. APS6 employees are expected to have more experience and expertise than APS5 employees.
The application process for APS6 may also be more rigorous than that of APS5, requiring a more in-depth pitch and a higher level of qualifications.
What is an APS5:
For example, an Australian Public Service (APS) Band 5 employee is typically considered to be a mid-level employee within the Australian Public Service. They are expected to have a moderate level of knowledge and skills, and take on responsibilities that support the implementation of government policies and programs.
APS5 employees are expected to have a good understanding of their area of expertise, and are able to apply their knowledge to contribute to the development and implementation of policies and programs. They may be responsible for leading and managing small teams, and for providing advice and guidance to other employees. They are also expected to contribute to the achievement of organisational goals, and to be able to work effectively with others to achieve results.
Some of the key responsibilities of an APS5 employee may include:
- Providing advice and guidance to others on the implementation of policies and programs
- Managing and coordinating projects or activities
- Leading small teams or work groups
- Identifying and evaluating opportunities for improvement
- Participating in the development of policies and programs
- Representing the organisation in external engagements
What is an APS6:
Conversely, an APS Band 6 employee is typically considered to be a high-level employee within the Australian Public Service.
They are expected to have a high level of knowledge and skills, and take on responsibilities that support the implementation of government policies and programs.
APS6 employees are responsible for leading and managing teams, and for providing advice and guidance to other employees.
They play a key role in implementing the policies and programs of the government, and are expected to have a high level of knowledge and skills.
Some APS6 role titles and descriptions:
Senior Policy Officer: Responsible for developing, analysing, and implementing policies in line with governmental strategies and objectives.
Senior Project Officer: Leading and managing complex projects, including planning, budgeting, execution, and stakeholder engagement.
Senior Analyst: Conducting research, data analysis, and providing insights to inform decision-making processes.
Team Leader or Supervisor: Managing a team within a department, ensuring alignment with organisational goals, fostering collaboration, and providing mentorship and guidance.
Senior Case Manager: Overseeing complex cases, ensuring compliance with regulations, and managing communications with various stakeholders.
Senior Communications Officer: Leading communication strategies, including media relations, public affairs, and internal communications, in line with organisational goals.
Senior Legal Officer: Providing legal advice, interpretation, and support on complex legal matters to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
Senior Human Resources Officer: Overseeing HR functions like recruitment, training, performance management, and employee relations
Some of the key responsibilities of an APS6 employee may include:
- Leading and managing teams to achieve results
- Cultivating productive working relationships
- Exemplifying personal drive and integrity
- Communicating with influence
- Playing a key role in implementing the policies and programs of the government
- Having a high level of knowledge and skills
- Having a solid level of experience and expertise
- Contributing to the achievement of organizational goals
- Identifying and evaluating opportunities for improvement
- Representing the organization in external engagements.
Overall, APS6 employees are expected to have an advanced level of experience and expertise, and to be able to play an active role in leading to achieve results. They also have a higher level of autonomy, decision-making power and more responsibilities than APS5 employees.
How to select relevant examples:
To begin forming your content for the pitch, you should understand three key things.
- The Integrated Leadership System (ILS) for that level
- The Work Level Standard APS6
- The context and/or purpose of the role
Understanding what these capabilities mean is key to ensuring that the content you form is within the right scope without under or over-shooting your examples.
You can find an example of an APS5 vs APS6 vs EL1 application below.
The Integrated Leadership System (ILS):
The ILS is divided into five main areas of leadership capabilities:
Shapes strategic thinking:
this area covers the ability to think strategically and understand the broader context of the organisation’s goals and objectives.
Translate strategy into operational objectives:
this area covers the ability to develop and implement operational plans that align with the organisation’s strategic goals.
this area covers the ability to achieve results through effective planning, monitoring, and evaluation of performance.
Builds productive working relationships:
this area covers the ability to build and maintain productive relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders.
Develops self and others:
this area covers the ability to develop oneself and others through mentoring, coaching, and providing constructive feedback.
The Work Level Standards:
On the other hand, the Work Level Standards (WLS) is a framework that defines the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are required for employees at different levels of the APS. It covers 9 bands, APS1 to EL2, and it provides guidance for the development and assessment of employees’ capabilities based on their level of responsibilities, decision-making power, and autonomy. It helps to ensure that employees in the APS have the skills and knowledge required to perform their roles effectively and efficiently, and to contribute to the achievement of organisational goals.
A summary of each APS band is below:
- APS1: Entry-level employees who perform routine tasks and provide administrative support.
- APS2: Junior employees who perform basic analysis and provide advice and support to more senior employees.
- APS3: Junior employees who take on more responsibility and are expected to have a good understanding of their area of expertise.
- APS4: Intermediate-level employees who take on more responsibility and are expected to have a solid level of experience and expertise.
- APS5: Mid-level employees who are expected to have a moderate level of knowledge and skills, and take on responsibilities that support the implementation of government policies and programs.
- APS6: High-level employees who are expected to have a high level of knowledge and skills, and take on responsibilities that support the implementation of government policies and programs.
- EL1: Executive Level 1 employees who are responsible for leading and managing teams, shaping strategic thinking, achieving results, cultivating productive working relationships, exemplifying personal drive and integrity, and communicating with influence.
- EL2: Executive Level 2 employees who are an advanced level of management, who takes on added responsibilities and challenges. They are expected to have greater autonomy and decision-making power.
- SES: Senior Executive Service employees who are responsible for leading the strategic direction of their organisation, and are responsible for the overall performance and results of the organisation.
Structuring the pitch/selection criteria:
APS6 introduction example - 10-20% of your pitch
“I apply for the role of APS6 Policy Officer with confidence in my ability to achieve the outcomes of the role. I bring 8 years’ experience across the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Department of Defence. I played a key role in the rapid roll-out of policies to support the ATO’s unprecedented program roll-out in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. My views and value wholly align with the values of Integrity, Respect, and Stewardship of the Department of Sound Government, and I hold a negative vetting 1 as required for the role.”
STAR response example- 80%+ of your pitch
To select examples, think back to major projects or initiatives you have been involved in. If you can demonstrate a positive outcome or change as a direct result of your contribution, then this is especially valuable. While each example should be distinct, it is important to write this section with a focus on readability and flow.
If you need a STAR refresher, check out our link here.
Ability to lead and manage teams to achieve results.
“As a team leader in the Department of Sound Government, I successfully managed a team of 10 employees to achieve a 20% increase in productivity within a 6-month period. I had been sought out to lead this team following a lengthy period of underperformance and in recognition of my ability to build team member autonomy and capability. I achieved this by implementing a new performance management system that focused on clear goals, regular feedback, and individualised development plans. Through effective communication, coaching and mentoring, I was able to ensure that all team members understood their roles and responsibilities, and were motivated to achieve results. I won the participation of staff members initially reluctant to participate in my initiatives by identifying change resistors who had influence among the team, assigning them specific tasks, and transforming them into agents of change. As a result of my efforts, the team not only met, but exceeded its performance targets, and was recognised by the department for its exceptional performance at the annual meeting.”
Conclusion / Call to Action- 5-10% of your pitch
“I offer to the role a track record of improving team capability, strengthening critical stakeholder relationships, and process improvements that add value and better utilise resources.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this application. I can be contacted on the details contained herein for further information or to arrange an interview.”
This purpose of the last paragraph is to reiterate your claim of suitability for the role and include a call to action by indicating that you would like to be contacted for an interview.
We hope this helps guide your thinking around the structure and content of your pitch and selection criteria documents.
As always, happy hunting!