YPN Survival Guide

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Welcome to the Young Professionals Network (YPN) survival guide. Below, content is sorted into several categories and themes we hope will prove helpful to those new to the Federal Public Service.

How to use this guide:

The content herein is provided by young professionals across the federal public service. Although we cannot guarantee it's accuracy, I would encourage you to edit and fix any errors you come across. In the spirit of promoting bilingualism, I would also encourage you to contribute to (insert link here) to update our companion page in French. Please feel free to add any content you think will be helpful (e.g., helpful advice, links to support services, a list of excellent training courses and how to access them, etc.)! And then share this page with your colleagues!

(1) Things I wish I knew on the first day I joined the federal government:

  • You can add inexpensive training courses to your learning plan in order to have your department pay for them (e.g., the Public Health Agency of Canada's annual speed-mentoring event, Mega-Connex)
  • Read the book "The Public Servant's Guide to Government in Canada" by Alex Marland and Jared Wesley.
  • You can sign up for notifications about current government job posting at your level and interest at jobs.gc.ca
  • Do not be discouraged if you don't succeed in a competition, as these processes are incredibly subjective. The way that has always worked for me is by entering competitions at the level I was trying to obtain (e.g., EC-04) to practice and get comfortable with the process. The posters often use the same merit criteria (i.e., job qualifications) and you will find you quickly get used to answering the same screening questions and can complete the process more quickly. Importantly, when you don't succeed it can be valuable to always thank the competition operators for the opportunity and ask for feedback about why, as it will help you figure out what adjustments to make in future applications.
  • In terms of career planning, it can be helpful to look at job posters 1-2 levels ahead of where you are to identify what skills/competencies will be required to advance your career so that you can 'hack' your performance management agreement to by including them within your learning plan and/or work objectives.
  • In terms of creating the social capital you need to make others want to advance your career, the three things that will open the most doors are: French language competency, success in job competitions and continuous learning in relevant competencies to the career path you want to pursue (e.g., writing & research skills for a policy analyst).

(2) Excellent training courses for a new public servant:

  • X

(3) Associations and providers to join if you like continuous learning:

  • CIC [1] - The Canadian International Council is a non-partisan, nationwide forum for informed discussion, analysis and debate on international affairs and Canada's role in a changing world (and holds more than 100 events per year all over Canada).
  • IOG [2] - The Institute on Governance is an independent, not-for-profit public interest institution that advances better governance in the public interest (and also holds several free events throughout the year).
  • IPAC [3]- The Institute of Public Administration of Canada is a professional organization that supports excellence in Canada's public sector.
  • WIDS[4] - Women in Defence and Security aims to promote the advancement of women in careers related to Canadian defence and security.

(4) Reoccurring training opportunities for under $50.00.


(5) French resource list

  • Duolingo continues to expand it's wonderful features, with short, targeted lessons - and now an array of stories & a podcast focused on helping people understand French culture and language. This is a fantastic resource that combines fun with flexibility!
  • Rosetta Stone - Not everyone likes the learning method presented, but it does work for a lot of people, worth a shot if you're willing to spend a small amount of money - or better yet - can get it added to your learning plan and have your Department pay for it!
  • Canada School of the Public Service archived lessons http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/search/LanguageLearningProductsCatalogueAB.html - the format isn't amazing, but these are basically the lessons that your Departmental French teachers will come in and run through. They are fairly easy to do on your own, especially if you are combining them with other strategies, and they will really help you get the government lingo!
  • There are excellent resources created by the SASS (a service offered at the University of Ottawa) as well: https://sass.uottawa.ca/fr/redaction/ressources

(6) How to Survive Traffic / Comment survivre en pleine circulation

  • A few tips to survive traffic in the morning or the evening: https://freedomgeneral.com/blog/how-to-survive-rush-hour-traffic/
  • Quelques astuces pour surmonter la circulation que vous affrontez le matin et le soir : https://www.selection.ca/auto/voyage-voiture/heure-de-pointe-conseils-relaxer/
  1. https://www.thecic.org/en/event-types/
  2. https://www.iog.ca/events/
  3. https://www.ipac.ca/iPAC_EN/About_Us/iPAC_EN/About_Us/About_IPAC.aspx?hkey=60a88f44-c9e4-4346-8976-8ff5e9ba416e
  4. https://www.wids.ca/cms/Our-History-Mandate