Title Card - Searching Federal Government Positions

Searching For Canadian Federal Government Positions

The GC Jobs website is your gateway to a large number of available positions in the Canadian federal government. Every department will post their positions here based on a number of criteria that are relevant to you, the applicant: classification, location, department, closing date, salary, and more. This allows you to search the entire federal government for the perfect positions to fit your needs. They even provide a saved search option for those who want to check back for a certain set of criteria every once in a while. But before you start looking through this very large database of positions, it’s important to get a handle on a few things first.

Here are a few helpful filters that can help you get started:

1) Classification

The government has a special classification system that classifies each individual employee based on the type and complexity of work they are performing. For example, an AS is an administrative services employee, which can have up to eight levels, from AS-01 to AS-08, and a CM is a communications employee with seven possible levels, from CM-01 to CM-07. It is important to at least consider each classification to understand what they are and what they do to determine if they are right for you when applying. That way, you can either include the classifications you want in your job search parameters, or take them into consideration when you see them in open job opportunities. Without understanding what classifications are right for you, you will very quickly find yourself lost in terms and jobs that aren’t relevant to your field or expertise.

2) Locations

The specifics of locations will be more important when you are actually applying to government applications (check back next week for more info) but it is still important to understand that only specific locations will be options when searching for options. There is no option for finding jobs close to your location, only the exact name of the location itself. Initially, I recommend searching by province and see what locations come up that way, and from there you can start to see what locations are relevant to you based on the listings. Careful of spelling! The name must be exact for it to work!

3) GC Organizations

These are often listed by acronym, and can be useful if you are particularly interested in working for a particular department. The trouble with searching for certain organizations is that because there are so many departments, they won’t always have the type of job you are looking for, and may result in finding no jobs in the classifications you want or need. Remember that the filters are absolute, and will only search for exactly what you give them!

4) Minimum Salary

An good tool if you are unsure what complexity of classification you are looking for. For example, AS-01s have a certain range of salaries that are non-negotiable, but so do AS-03s. If you previously worked in another position at a certain salary level and would like to find something comparable or better, this is a good way of finding out what level of classification you might be looking for. Remember to be flexible, as this is not always an accurate indicator of what you should be looking at. The government is not your previous job, so different levels are possible depending on what skills you possess. This should only get you into the ballpark you are looking for, but feel free to look higher if things look too simple for you, or lower if it feels over your head. Before you go down though, make sure you are sure that you don’t have the majority of the job requirements and actually can’t complete the job. You would be surprised at how much you can actually do!

5) Job Types

It is very helpful to recognize that some of the job types listed as filters are not useful to some who are looking to gain their first position in the government. Here are some key differences between types of roles for existing federal employees:

  • Acting / Assignment / Secondment: Employees taking on a job temporarily for a specified period of time before returning to their original role. Actors are usually taking on a job above their current classification level, assignments are at-level within the same department, and secondments are at-level in a different department.
  • Deployment: The transition of an employee from one position to another permanently, usually at-level.

Keeping these in mind, there are two job types listed as internal types that also apply to external positions. Indeterminate positions are permanent, while specified period positions are also called term positions. These are the two basic types of positions within the government, and you must be sure which type you want. For example, you may only be comfortable with permanent positions, although terms are becoming more and more common. Of course, there are also graduate programs and student programs available to those fresh out of school, and you are highly encouraged to use these to your advantage if they apply to you!

It’s important to note that while all of these filters are available to you, using the right number of filters and right level of specificity is important to find a good number of jobs you are looking for. Too specific, and you will very quickly find that you won’t have too many jobs available to you. Too broad, and you may be discouraged by how many jobs don’t fit your profile. Finding the right set of filters is key to getting the right jobs for you!

Good luck, and stay tuned for more next week for tips on applying to the jobs you have found!