Why I Joined the CRA

Why I Joined the CRA

By: Edith Tang | CRA Student Ambassador
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I joined the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a Collections Contact Officer through the Business Co-op program. I heard about the CRA through word-of-mouth from my friends. One of my friends previously did a Co-op term at the CRA and she told me that the CRA has a higher rate of pay compared to other Co-op jobs, so that thought stuck in my mind. When a posting became available for the CRA during the end of the Fall 2012 semester, I had my doubts about whether I should apply. I was considering my part-time work, my school and whether I wanted to commit to a Co-op term. But I thought to myself, “Why not?” This is the perfect time for me to enrich my work experience as an individual, so I did it. When I recieved a notification to do the Situational Test and for an interview, I was hopeful that I would get a placement which would start immediately after the New Year.

My offer didn’t come until three weeks into my Spring 2013 semester and I was not sure whether I wanted to drop my classes and take on this new role. I liked the professors I had and I was excited about my classes. In addition, they offered me an eight -month term instead of the four -month term I applied for and I was uncertain about whether I wanted to dedicate myself to a co-op position for that duration. In the end, I did accept it and I am extremely glad I did. This placement gave me the opportunity to develop and realize skills I never thought I had. Everyone in the Agency is really helpful, professional, cheerful and warm. When I joined, I just felt at home and ready to learn. The Agency is also very supportive of continuing education and everyone there has that mentality. Contrary to public belief, the Agency is very dedicated to helping taxpayers and I feel as if they get a bad reputation for being too harsh. The experience I got from the Canada Revenue Agency will follow me through all my future career choices and I do not regret signing the Letter of Offer back in February 2013.

CRA Co-op: Skills Learnt from a Dollections Contact Officer Position

My time with the CRA was definitely a learning experience and I was able to develop and realize skills I never thought I had. I was able to develop my negotiation skills, as I had to communicate with taxpayers to arrange suitable payments with regards to their ability to pay. I would converse with taxpayers in order to reach mutual terms when developing payments and deadlines. I also developed my organizational skills. When I started my position as a Collections Contact Officer, I was assigned a fixed number of accounts to work on. I managed the progression of the accounts and I kept track of the timeframes. Therefore, I determined the productivity of the accounts. I did not want to bombard myself with a lot of work for one day and I also do not want to be unproductive, so time management was key. Communication skills were also important in this role.

My role in Revenue Collections entailed contacting taxpayers to collect outstanding tax debts and to locate collection sources. When contacting individuals who may not want to speak with me I had to convey determination and confidence in my words, requiring me to be very direct, while remaining polite. In addition to communicating with taxpayers through voice calls, I also communicated in writing. As an officer, I had to determine when the best time to connect is and which is the best method of communication between the taxpayer and I. The above skills I mentioned are just some of the experience I took away from my employment at the Canada Revenue Agency and I am sure these skills are applicable towards any area of work I choose in the future.

In addition to skill building, I was also able to develop professional and personal relationships with the people in my team. Each day at work I knew that my team would support me through any challenges; knowing that this support system exists definitely helped me grow in this role. Everyone in the Agency was helpful, from my teammates to my manager; everyone was willing to offer a helping hand. When you ask a question, they take it to heart and help you find the answer. The people at the Agency are also willing to share with you their experience and give you suggestions about your work. I learned about the different job opportunities that CRA offers to students, such as the Audit Apprenticeship Program and Student Bridging, and I also learned a lot about the CRA as an organization.

Near the end of my Co-op term, I was approached by my team leader with an opportunity to apply for the Student Ambassador Program. I accepted and in the end, I was chosen for the position. This position will entail promoting the CRA as an employer for post-secondary and post-graduate students in a professional environment on campus and at various career events. I will become one of the liaisons between the University and the CRA to determine when the events will happen and which events are suitable for the Agency. I am looking forward to my new role at the Canada Revenue Agency as a Student Ambassador and this opportunity would not have been given to me if I had not accepted my role as a Co-op student. I will begin this new role in September 2013 and I am confident that this will be another great learning experience that I will gain from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Beyond the Article

Posted on October 30, 2013