Top Tips: Go International with the Canadian Government
Students interested in international careers with governments in Canada can learn about relevant federal, provincial and territorial organizations, their responsibilities and the opportunities offered in foreign affairs, trade, international development, security and defence. The Government of Canada employs over 150,000 people working in diverse fields in over 1,000 locations throughout Canada and the rest of the world. Here are a few quick tips as you head out on your career path:
- Do your homework: Hiring is merit-based, but it helps to know who is doing the hiring – and if you can tap into personal connections, all the better. Check out opportunities for internships and summer opportunities in governments, which often have specialized programs for students.
- Languages matter: For federal opportunities (and opportunities in several provinces) proficiency in French and English is a clear advantage, sometimes a necessity. Some jobs require bilingual skills, while others provide an opportunity to learn them. Other languages are also an advantage but none more than skills in Canada’s two official languages.
- Get to know the hiring process: It’s worth your time to understand the government recruitment process, which is different from the private sector’s recruitment process. Governments focus on skills and experiences and situational questions, and interviews are formatted differently. The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) is the key starting point.
- Provincial governments have international departments too! Provincial governments (especially the Quebec government) play a key role in trade as well as in other international issues, particularly in the larger provinces. Provincial government experience can be just as valuable, and there is often more scope and diversity than in a specialized federal agency or department.
- Learn about other organizations: Everyone knows about foreign affairs and international development jobs, but consider some of the other agencies that work internationally in areas such as trade, security and defence. These departments and agencies offer excellent opportunities and career-related experience.
Related reading on the main MyWorldAbroad site (for registered users):
- Introduction to the Section
- The Government of Canada
- Key Federal Entities Conducting Internationally-oriented Work
- The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC)
- Global Affairs Canada
- Global Affairs Canada - Development (Formerly CIDA)
- Canadian Armed Forces (CF)
- Provincial & Territorial Governments
- Going Political
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