Federal government jobs

Federal government student ambassador Yamini is here to connect you to opportunities with the Government of Canada.
Federal government student ambassador Yamini is here to connect you to opportunities with the Government of Canada.

The Federal Government Student Ambassadors are your on-campus link to employment with the Government of Canada. We can provide you with application support, general information about hiring initiatives and more. See an overview of our services here.

Want to connect?

If you have any questions about working for the Government of Canada, email us at publicservicecareers@uvic.ca.

Learn how to apply to federal jobs

Click on the "Present" button below to explore different federal recruitment programs. To view in full screen (recommended), click on the "Prezi" icon in the bottom right corner. You will then be redirected to the Prezi website.

On mobile? Click here to view the mobile-friendly version of the slideshow.

Recruitment campaigns for undergraduate students

Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)

If you're a full-time post-secondary student, you can apply to this program to be considered for a variety of full-time and part-time jobs! Plus, you don't have to reapply each year—your résumé will remain in the inventory unless you remove it yourself. Submit your résumé here.

Specific FSWEP inventories include:

Ongoing Student Recruitment Inventory

This is the federal government's largest inventory. It is an ongoing recruitment inventory offering full and part time work opportunities in a wide variety of fields including business, science, engineering, administration, IT, finance, and many more. The Ongoing Student Recruitment Inventory is open to receive applications year-round.

Indigenous Student Employment Opportunity (ISEO)

This inventory is open to Indigenous students only and offers full and part time jobs year round in a variety of fields. The ISEO is typically open to receive applications beginning in January of each year.

Employment Opportunity for Students with Disabilities (EOSD)

This inventory is open to students with disabilities only and offers full and part time jobs year round in a variety of fields. The EOSD is typically open to receive applications beginning in January of each year.

Other inventories

The Government of Canada offers a number of other student opportunities through FSWEP such as:

  • Student Border Services Officers
  • Student Guides in France
  • Canadian Armed Forces Reservist Student Employment Opportunity
  • Inshore Rescue Boat Student Program
  • Security Officer Student Employment Opportunity
Look for these opportunities on the federal government jobs site.

Federal co-op jobs

If you're already a UVic co-op student, you can apply for federal government work terms in Victoria and across Canada. Visit the Co-op and Career portal to look for federal job postings.

Working for the federal government can provide you with many new opportunities.

Research Affiliate Program (RAP)

If research plays a role in your degree, you can apply to ongoing student opportunities to conduct innovative research for the federal government related to your field of study. Learn how to apply here.

Recruitment campaigns for grads and soon-to-be-grads

Post-secondary recruitment campaign (PSR)

If you've graduated with a diploma or a degree, or if you are in your final year of study, you can apply to specific federal jobs as part of this annual campaign. You can also submit your application to an inventory to be considered for jobs based on your skill-set. The campaign begins in the fall term, so keep an eye out for info sessions on campus hosted by federal recruiters! You can learn more about the campaign here.

Recruitment of Policy Leaders (for graduate and post-graduate students)

If you have a post-graduate degree (Master's, PhD, etc.), you can apply for mid-to-senior level positions, where you'll work to shape public policy. Learn more here.

Specific specialized recruitment opportunities

Find a range of department and agency-specific recruiting opportunities here.

General recruitment

You can also apply to job opportunities through federal government job boards. Browse general job postings.

What's it like to work for the Government of Canada?

Read stories about students who have completed co-op work terms with a range of federal government agencies and departments.

  • Hana Hourston (Mathematics and EOS) - completed a work term with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Read her story. 
  • Julian Sketchley (English) - completed work terms with Services Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada. Read his story.
  • Lumin McCutcheon (BCOM) - completed a work term with the Department of National Defence. Read her story. 

Yamini Iyer is currently a fourth-year BCOM student here at the University of Victoria. She has recently completed a co-op term with the Department of National Defence within the Management Systems division and has been a federal ambassador for the past year! She has completed her specialization in Entrepreneurship and is currently completing a work term with the provincial government. She loves working with people and her goal is to help all students explore the various opportunities within the government and help them through the application process!

Please email publicservicecareers@uvic.ca to book an appointment with Yamini.


Xavier Neeson is currently in her final year of Political Science at the University of Victoria. She has recently completed two co-op terms with Environment and Climate Change Canada in Gatineau, as well as a work term at UVic's partner school DHBW Heidenheim in Germany. Xavier loves to travel and explore different opportunities, and is passionate about helping others find the right job for them.

Check out the top ten reasons to work for the federal public service to find out what makes the federal government such a great place to work.

Frequently asked questions:

Where do I find federal job postings?

Government of Canada Jobs for general jobs and Federal Student Work Experience Program for student jobs. Also check your Co-op and Career portal for positions posted directly with the University of Victoria.

Do I have to be a co-op student to apply for student opportunities with the federal government?

Some jobs are for co-op opportunities only, others are open to students for general Federal Government Work Experience or specific opportunities for Indigenous Student Employment Opportunities or for Students with Disabilities. There is also the Post-Secondary Recruitment Campaign for after you have graduated.

Do I have to move to Ottawa to work for the federal government?

Not all government jobs are in Ottawa. According to a 2018 Statistics Canada study, approximately 40% of jobs are located in the Ottawa area with the remainder being outside Ottawa. Many positions are available right here in Victoria.

Do I have to be bilingual to work for the federal government?

Some federal jobs will require fluency in English only, French only or both English and French. Language requirements will be outlined clearly on each individual job posting. For more information, visit here.

What if I’ve never worked for the government before? Can I still apply to student opportunities?

You don't have to have worked as a government employee before! Opportunities are open for all areas of employment and skill. No matter if it’s your first co-op or a potential dream job. Why work for the government? See why here.

Do I have to be a full-time student to apply for student opportunities with the federal government?

Depending on the program or position there may be criteria around your status as a student or if you are returning to studies after your work term, if you have questions please ask us.

Do I have to be returning to school after a work term with the federal government to qualify?

Please look specifically at the criteria for the opportunities you are interested in as some do require that you are returning to studies after your work term. There are also general job opportunities that are not student dependent. 

Are all federal student jobs full-time?

Not all positions are full time, please read the postings carefully and ask us if you have questions.

How much do student positions with the federal government pay?

View the rates of pay for federal government students here.

Is the Department of National Defence (DND) the same as the military?

The Department of National Defence is the department that oversees the military. However, there are thousands of opportunities for civilians, and many of them are student work experience jobs. Some of them are located right here in Victoria!

What if I am a University of Victoria alum? Are there any opportunities for me?

There are many opportunities for post-secondary graduates to work for the federal government. You can start by checking out the post-secondary recruitment campaign (PSR), an annual initiative that the federal government runs to recruit college and university graduates across the country. Graduates may also apply to the General Recruitment and Specialized Recruitment opportunities. If you have questions about the PSR or other opportunities in the Federal Public Service please email us.

I am an international student. Can I still apply for student opportunities with the federal government?

International students can apply to and be hired for co-op positions with the federal public service, but preference will be given to Canadian citizens who meet the job requirements.

International students must have valid work and study permits in order to work legally in Canada and be eligible for co-op placements, internships, and all other federal student opportunities.

Where can I find federal government help on campus?

Come see us, the federal government student ambassadors for University of Victoria during office hours. Find us at the Career Services Building Room 007. Email us to book an appointment.

The federal government's lengthy and detailed hiring process can often feel intimidating to students. Here, it is broken down into seven steps, along with advice on how to navigate the process at each stage. 

1. A job is posted

Once a job is posted, you can apply by selecting the Apply Online button located on the individual posting. It is important that you carefully review the posting and understand what is required.

Most federal job postings will include the following:

  • Basic information: department name, job title, group and level, salary, closing date, and who can apply.
  • Essential qualifications: soft and hard skills required to perform the work involved in a position. These may include: experience, education, knowledge, skills, personal suitability and proficiency in either or both English and French.
  • Asset qualifications: soft and hard skills that are not essential to perform the work, but could be in the future. These may include: experience, education, knowledge, skills, personal suitability, behavioral competencies or any other qualification.
  • Operational requirements: elements of the job that are required in order for the current or future needs of the unit or organization to be met (e.g. work done on weekends, travel, shift work).
  • Condition of employment: a condition that you must meet upon appointment and maintain throughout their tenure (e.g. professional or trade certification, valid driver’s license, requirement to wear a uniform).

Other terminology to be familiar with includes:

  • Anticipatory staffing: a process to staff positions that may or will become vacant, rather than positions that are currently vacant.
  • Merit: one of the core values of the Public Service Employment Act. An appointment is made on the basis of merit when a person to be appointed meets the essential qualifications for the work to be performed, as established by the deputy head, including official language proficiency. Any current or future asset qualifications, operational requirements, and organizational needs as identified by the deputy head may also be considered.
  • Organizational needs: a merit-based requirement relating to current or future needs that could enhance the way in which the organization operates or fulfills its mandate. Organizational needs could include the consideration of employment equity designated group members.
  • Second language evaluation (SLE): language tests administered to determine your second official language proficiency. Includes reading, writing and oral interaction tests that assess the candidates' ability to read, write and speak and understand their second official language in a work context.

2. Candidates apply

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the requirements, you will complete your application online, unless you require accommodation due to disability. In this case, contact the hiring department to advise of the type of accommodation you require.

It is important to understand that there is a difference between screening and assessment and the requirements for each:

What is screening?

Screening is the process of reviewing your application to determine if you meet the essential education and essential experience criteria as well as asset education and asset experience. Screening may be performed by a computer program called the federal Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS) and/or by government personnel. To pass the screening process, you need to clearly demonstrate your qualifications in your application and online questionnaire, if applicable.

In order to screen in, you must demonstrate how you meet each qualification by including:

  • What – the title of position through which you gained the essential experience, including group and level if applicable
  • Where – the name of the department or organization where you gained the experience
  • When – dates that show the length of time you spent in the position
  • How - concrete examples demonstrating how you meet the qualifications

To enable screening, your cover letter, CV/résumé, and responses to screening questions (if applicable) need to be complete and thorough.

Pay special attention to the use of “and”, “or” and “such as” when reading a federal job posting. Repeating this wording in your application will help you screen in.

What is assessment?

Assessment is the process of determining whether or not, and to what degree, you meet the essential and asset qualifications. Assessment methods include interviews, written tests, reference checks, and simulations designed to assess candidates against the qualifications for the position.

Hiring departments may conduct assessments of candidates at the application stage. If they do, they will be explicit and state this requirement on the advertisement. For example, “your cover letter will be used to assess your ability to communicate effectively in writing.”

3. Applications are screened

In order to pass the screening process, ensure your CV/résumé and cover letter (if applicable) include: 

  • Basic information:
    • Name
    • Mailing address
    • Email
    • Phone number (identify home and work)
  • Education and certifications
  • Professional development experiences
  • Work experience
  • Language level (which languages you speak)
  • Specific details on the what, where, when, and how of each experience you list

Do not include:

  • Personal information (age, sex, family situation, number of children, health issues, race, religion)
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Photo/headshot
  • Hobbies or interests

4. Candidates are assessed

Once you have met the screening requirements, you will likely be invited to participate in one or more assessment activities. Assessment activities may include reviewing your past performance and accomplishments, reviewing samples of your previous work, inviting you to interview for the job, and/or checking your references. 

Below is a list of other assessment activities and what they entail:

Standardized tests

A full range of standardized tests may be used for assessment, such as:

  • In-Basket Exercises
  • General Intelligence Tests
  • Office Skills Tests
  • General Competency Test
  • Candidate Achievement Record
  • Writing Skills Tests
  • Identification of Candidate Potential Tests

In general, standardized tests assess knowledge, abilities and competencies.

Simulation/situation exercises

The goal of a simulation or sitiation exercise is to simulate the important aspects of a particular job. As part of a simulation or situation exercise, you will be asked to deal with a range of issues and problems where you must respond to requests for service and advice and work with managers as partners.

The duration of the exercise depends on the target outcomes anticipated by the selection board. Simulations/situational exercises are commonly used to assess abilities and competencies.

Written exams

You may be asked to write an exam as part of the application proces. This may be an email, take-home, paper/pencil, or computer-based exam, and it may be open or closed book. Exam formats vary but may include a combination of multiple choice, fill in the blank, open and/or close ended questions, and essay questions.

Role play

If you are asked to participate in a role play activity, it means that you will be asked to pretend to be in a given position while others, often the members of the selection board, play the roles of colleagues or clients. The purpose of this activity is to assess your ability to demonstrate certain abilities/skills or personal suitability.

5. Candidates are identified for selection

After screening in and assessing potential candidates, the hiring department will determine whether or not each candidate has successfully met the essential and other merit criteria.

6. Candidates are notified

If you have participated in one or more assessment activities, you will be notified of the outcome of your assessments and whether or not you meet the essential and other merit criteria. If you are successful, this is when you will receive your job offer!

If you applied to an inventory, you will be advised at this stage if you have met the criteria to be placed into that inventory for future job opportunities.

7. Candidates are appointed

At the end of the process, the hiring manager or human resources personnel will identify the person who will be hired for the postion in question.