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Job applications - the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

APS Values and Code of Conduct in Practice provides advice for managers and employees in the APS about the application of the Code of Conduct and the APS Values.

Section 3.5 of the publication discusses honesty in recruitment and promotion in more detail.

I'm applying for a promotion. How do my responsibilities as a public servant affect my application?

Applying for a job is a competitive process, so 'padding out' your CV to make you appear more competitive is an obvious temptation. However, there are good reasons to be careful.

There are a number of behavioural expectations you need to consider when writing an application. The most obvious are spelled out in section 13 of the Public Service Act 1999—the APS Code of Conduct. You must:

  • behave honestly and with integrity in connection with your APS employment
  • not provide false information in response to a request made for official purposes 
  • behave in a way that upholds the APS Values, Employment Principles and the good reputation of your agency and the APS.

So what does it all mean? Well, if you provide false or misleading information while trying to get a job or promotion, you may have breached the Code. And if you are found to have breached the Code, your employer can impose sanctions that mean you could lose not just the job you were applying for, but your employment in the APS.

If you have any questions about this article, please submit them via the form on the Integrity: Your questions answered page.

Some 'do's' and 'don'ts' you might consider when submitting job applications include:


  • Sell your strengths
  • Demonstrate how the skills, qualifications and experience you have are applicable to the job
  • Show how your work history is applicable to the role


  • Claim qualifications you don't have
  • Falsify your work history

Remember, a potential employer can always check the details of your application with referees, so you may have to explain yourself long before the selection is concluded. The panel doesn't need your consent to talk to your previous or current employers about your application.

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018