Great Resources for Your Summer Job Search in Government

Great Resources for Your Summer Job Search in Government

By: Abbas Virji
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As winter slowly fades away and we transition into spring, what better time to start  your hunt for a summer job, especially if you are looking for work in government. If you missed ‘What Can I Do In Government?’ yesterday, you may want to check out the online resources for looking for job openings, specifically in government. If you have some misconceptions about working in government, take a look at this piece previously posted on the OLC blog which highlights myths about working in government, and also gives some useful tips.

Government of Canada

The federal government may be the largest employer of students during the summer months, so this may be a good place to start. This is especially important if you’d like to still explore a variety of jobs, as there may be a large selection of options. Additionally, jobs in the federal government – even on a limited summer term – can be beneficial for you with regards to creating a larger network, and gaining skills. Here are some online resources to help get you started:

Working in Canada

‘Working in Canada’ is a very useful site that allows you to search for a specific title in a variety of cities, and also provides you with information about average wages, educational program requirements and so forth for a multitude of different career choices. You can also subscribe to the email alert system which will notify you when a job is available with your preferred criteria.  This site also shows you how many jobs are available on the system at any given time, and allows you to narrow down criteria to a specific range. Please note that not all jobs listed on this site are government-related, so make sure to check the employer name when searching!

Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)

FSWEP offers full-time students relevant work experience. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can apply to the jobs listed on this site. There are usually a fair amount of applicants, though that’s not to say you shouldn’t apply, but rather that you may want to apply early! Students in FSWEP are expected to return to full-time studies after their term, but there may be a possibility of an extension depending on the quality of work, supervisor satisfaction, and other criteria.


Odyssey is a program that is run by Canadian Heritage where “from the beginning of September to the end of May, you will help young people who want to learn English, and you'll discover Francophone Canadian culture, all while earning a salary.” Students continuing studies may also be able to receive credits for the work they do. This could be a great opportunity for an aspiring teacher, and would definitely be a great experience visiting a part of Canada you may otherwise not have the chance to.

Government of BC

While the many jobs available in the federal government are certainly appealing, some jobs can require relocating a fair amount of distance from home. If you’d rather not travel too far from home (but don’t mind being a bit far), check out two great resources where you can find jobs within the province of British Columbia:

BC Public Service

The BC Public Service lists a number of provincial jobs, and also allows you to search by fields that interest you (as well as allowing you to search by location). Similar to ‘Working in Canada’, you can also sign up for job alerts via email when a position that you have interest in opens up. Some of the positions that are posted may require a  bit more experience than you would have as an undergraduate student, but do keep an open mind and see if something opens that interests you.


WorkBC is a bit different than the BC Public Service site in the sense that not all of the jobs listed here are government-related. However, it’s a great resource for finding job search tips, industry profiles, and other associated career tools. You can also explore statistics, like future job outlook and other important pieces of information. Lastly, you can search with specific fields in the search box in a specific location that you have in mind.

Municipal Government

Perhaps you’re looking to work at the local government level. Depending on your connection with your hometown city, working for your local municipal government could be worthwhile.


CivicJobs is a great resource for municipal jobs. In addition to giving you a large selection of available opportunities, the site also has a large amount of detail in each posting that allows you to gather the information you might need before applying. CivicJobs also provides you with a list of common acronyms used in government job postings, which can significantly reduce confusion and aid in your ongoing job search.

Canada Municipal Jobs

Finally, we have Canada Municipal Jobs, which is also a great source for finding work in municipal government. Similar to CivicJobs, it’s an aggregator of job openings throughout a range of cities, except it’s a bit easier to navigate. For example, when a job posting is close to its application deadline, the text on the side becomes red, which can help you out if you’d rather apply early! There is also a dedicated section within the dropdown menu for ‘student,’ so that could help your job search immensely.

Closing Thoughts

Even if you’re not planning on applying for a summer job, these sites are great resources for career exploration, specifically in the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. While there are definitely more resources available for government jobs than listed here, the websites listed offer a good range of information combined with ease-of-use that should make job searching a lot easier for you. Good luck with your next opportunity!

*Lead image: creative-commons licensed photo by thevancats

Posted on January 31, 2014