Jennifer Bourke, Third Secretary/Press Officer, Dept Foreign Affairs & Trade

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What are the main tasks you do each day?

Anything from liaising with journalists about press queries, arranging and attending events, live tweeting and taking photos at events, and planning campaigns. I take the lead of the department’s social media presence, sourcing content, and providing support and training for our missions across the world.

What traits do you need to be successful?

Resilience, adaptability, the ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines while keeping a cool head. Be able to manage several different tasks at once. Excellent communication skills are very important.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing about being a diplomat is the opportunity to travel and represent your country abroad. I work with an amazing team of people and no two days are ever the same. The work is always different, always challenging, and always fun.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started?

The importance of teamwork, particularly in the communications unit, almost everything we do as a team. It’s really important to be able to get on with your colleagues and your peers and assist, guide and lead them.

Do you have any advice for students?

Having a second language is highly valued.

What’s it like to build a career in your area?

There are always career progression opportunities and training is provided. It’s hoped and expected that you will stay with the department, work your way up and end up in several different postings around the world throughout your career.

What’s next for your career?

I’m looking forward to going to Thailand as the Third Secretary in the embassy in Bangkok. That’s going to be a new, exciting chapter in my life, getting used to a new place, new culture and food.

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