What's your name and job title?
My name is Jessica Butler, and my current job title is ‘Media Officer.’
What did you study?
I studied a dual degree with a Bachelor of Business with a major in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology.
When did you graduate?
I graduated from university in 2018.
Do you identify with a particular tribe or people?
My family has roots in NSW; we identify with the Wiradjuri people.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and completed all my education there – as well as my introduction to the workforce.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I had actually applied for the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) ‘Indigenous Cadetship’ program in 2015 after my first year of university. This program allowed me to continue my studies and work flexibly while gaining on the job work experience related to my degree. I was successful and completed the cadetship in 2018 and then applied for the ATO’s 2020 Graduate Program as a Marketing and Communications candidate – in which I was also successful. I completed two rotations – one in external marketing and communications and one in our media team which I was fortunate enough to be placed in permanently.
Did you face any obstacles as an indigenous student/graduate? Has your Indigenous heritage been a factor in your job search and subsequent career? If so, how?
I don’t think I faced any obstacles during these processes, I think it’s actually something that enhanced my experience. Without my indigenous heritage, I would not have had the opportunity to partake in the indigenous cadetship program, which I believe gave me a good foundation for my career.
How did you choose your specialisation (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
When I began my degree, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to specialise in – I weighed up between Marketing and Human Resources, both of which complemented my major in psychology. Once I had taken my introductory course for marketing, however, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I felt like it came naturally to me.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
For the graduate program, it was a lengthy process, applications began in March, and I was notified of the outcome around September/October. The interview was part of a half-day assessment centre which involved three parts – a presentation, an interview and a group task. I had time to prepare a presentation in the week leading up to my assessment centre, and the interview was very standard for an entry-level program.
What does your employer do?
The ATO is the Australian Government’s principle revenue collection agency and administers Australia’s tax system and significant aspects of Australia’s superannuation systems. The ATO has a range of business lines that you could be a part of with varying work depending on your specialisation. In the media team, we leverage our expertise to lead the development of media strategies and products to manage media issues and opportunities.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I provide media support across various portfolios including economic stimulus measures, superannuation, tax crime and tax time. This involves drafting media releases, handling media enquiries, and liaising with journalists and internal stakeholders.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
In my current role, it’s important that I stay up to date with the media landscape and any issues/commentary related to the ATO. I start every day by reading our media report and checking our monitoring software. I regularly resolve media enquiries by liaising with the relevant subject experts and coordinating responses to be attributed to an ATO spokesperson. I also take on ad hoc tasks such as reporting and evaluation, drafting talking points for ministerial submissions and ATO executives, and preparing media summaries for senate estimates briefings.
I recently worked on a media release that was published to the ATO website: 14 years overseas, fake tax agent gets caught coming home.
We regularly publish media releases on notable prosecutions to shine a light on the work the ATO is doing to maintain the integrity of the tax and super systems.
What are the career prospects with your job?
The ATO has endless amounts of opportunities for career progression and professional growth – which doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a promotion. With so many business lines and such diverse work, even moving across to a new area at level could provide an opportunity for professional development, allowing you to build on skills already acquired and develop new ones.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I really wanted to be a nurse originally! I think if I ever needed a career change, I would probably go back to university and study nursing in a postgraduate course.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
My favourite thing about my current role is that I always feel that I’ve achieved something every single day and I’m also consistently given new growth opportunities. Things can change in a moment for this team, so I’m often presented with pieces of work, tasks or topics that I haven’t dealt with before, and I just get to run with it!
In terms of the ATO as a whole – you’d be surprised at how much diversity there is in the work available – there are so many opportunities in this organisation. Even just in the marketing and communications space, we have various teams with each delivering different types of work.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
I wouldn’t call it a limitation, however, working in the media space, you do need to be prepared for things to change quickly and without warning. The biggest challenge I faced was getting my head around the media landscape and understanding how to pick up what’s important and what’s not – which is a big learning curve when you start in a team like this.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to Indigenous students nearing graduation? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your role, or even be career-focused.