How to Find and Apply for Government Communications Jobs

by Andrea Cole

Ottawa's parliament buildings with trees in the foreground.
Photo by Sarah Baxter on Unsplash

In 2020, I rediscovered my love of words and language as I began studying editing. I imagined starting my own part-time business and getting involved in educational content creation to match my teaching background. But, along the way, I realized that making a change might look a little different.

As I write this article, I am in the midst of altering my career path, and I am most grateful for the support of my current employer. Being honest and giving myself permission to look for something new was an important first step. Change is bittersweet yet vital.

Whether you are looking for a change or a new opportunity, having an editing background can lend itself to roles such as communications adviser or communications officer. Or a related search might include content, media, research, or marketing. Whatever your focus, I hope my advice is helpful as I share my steps to apply for government communications jobs in Canada.

1. Creating an account and searching for opportunities

2. Completing an application

3. Checking the status of your applications and keeping them active

4. Being patient and staying positive

Creating an account and searching for opportunities

When you click the link below to create a Government of Canada (GC) Jobs account, you’ll see a Privacy Notice Statement:

Then click “Continue” and follow the steps. After that, make sure you are logged in before you start job searching (log-in page:

Next, choose the second menu option to conduct a “Job search.” I found that typing “communication” in the “Job title” field brought up the most opportunities in communications. You can also type content, media, research, or marketing, for example.

You can also leave the job title blank, and filter based on location, type, organization, language requirements, or minimum salary. You can even filter for jobs posted within the last 24 hours, but that may limit your options. I recommend avoiding the minimum salary filter, because it sometimes excludes positions with multiple salary ranges.

It is important to know that you don’t need to be bilingual to get a government job. You can either avoid positions labelled “Bilingual – imperative” or you can filter for “English” as the “Language required.”

Also, keep in mind that a potential employer might be adding candidates to an inventory rather than filling a certain number of positions, so read each job description carefully.

The types of employment you can find are:

· casual employment for 90 days or less

· term employment for three months, six months, or more

· seasonal employment

· employment programs for full-time secondary or post-secondary students

· permanent or indeterminate employment with no end date

Completing an application

When you find a job you like, click “Apply online” or “Apply now” to be directed to the application platform that you will use. I have used the classic online application form in my GC Jobs account and a different platform called VidCruiter.

In the classic platform, you can copy and paste from a text document. Start with your résumé, excluding any special formatting such as bold, tables, colour, or alternate fonts. The system will save your résumé, and you can edit it with each future application.

In VidCruiter, you must type everything in the platform (copying and pasting didn’t work for me). Also, be prepared to upload an ATS-optimized copy (Applicant Tracking System) of your résumé. I recommend the following article to learn more:

In addition to providing a résumé in the proper format, make sure that you

· read the job description and the application questions carefully

· meet all the essential qualifications for the position

· provide specific details about how you meet the qualifications

· have your resume in front of you or in a file for reference

· give yourself extra time in case of technical difficulties

In your GC Jobs account, from the “My jobs menu,” you can continue an application that you started or review an application that you submitted using the “Job applications” link.

Remember that the only way to change a submitted application in your GC Jobs account is to retrieve and resubmit it, but you must resubmit before the application deadline. To change a submitted VidCruiter application, I was instructed to email someone, but this might not be the same for everyone who uses that platform.

Checking the status of your applications and keeping them active

To check the status of a job application, under the “My jobs menu,” go to “Status of job applications.” You want to see that your application has been retained or that you may be contacted for further assessment or consideration. After that, you may receive an email from a potential employer with instructions for next steps. Every employer has a different process.

In addition to employer emails, watch for emails from your GC Jobs account. They aren’t as exciting, but they are just as important, particularly when you apply early for a job; you must keep your application active. You will receive an email with a link to click to retain your application longer. In my case, I had to click the link and log in more than once before I was successful, so please keep this in mind if you receive a similar notice.

Being patient and staying positive

Be patient. Depending on the deadline, it can take up to six months or more to complete an application process. And then, you could wait a year or more before you get a job offer. To stay positive, think of the waiting time as an opportunity. This is your time to improve your skills, grow your network, strengthen your personal health, or enjoy being with friends and family.

You are talented. You are valuable. You will succeed. I believe in you.

Andrea Cole is an experienced teacher, a trained editor, and a 3-time Paralympic swimmer with a coaching background. She loves to create content, work with words, and encourage others along the way.

This article was copy edited by Katherine Morton, MBA, BA, a freelance editor with global clients.

3 thoughts on “How to Find and Apply for Government Communications Jobs

  1. It is extremely difficult–and rare–to be hired from the “outside” directly from a formal posting on the site. Many jobs are unadvertised, or available to those already working in government. I advise those interested to look through the government directory and contact those who seem to be doing the type of work you would like to do, in the department you would like to do it in. Also, if you know anyone already working in the public service, ask that person to search regularly for internal positions posted “unofficially” on internal government platforms. If the hiring manager can’t find someone within the public service, they may be able to bring you in as a casual or term employee. I also would advise trying temp agencies. The trick is to get managers to know you and your skillset.


  2. Excellent suggestions! As with many things in life, it’s who you know. Besides federal government positions, most of your suggestions outline exactly how I got a public school teaching job many years ago (Ontario government); just substitute the word “principal” for “hiring manager.”

    That said, my niece went through the federal government website and eventually got a job with Environment Canada, despite having no connections. She became bored with the job after less than a year, quit, moved to Australia, and eventually landed a job with the Queensland Dept of Health. All of this to say, you never know until you try!


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