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Company: Service Canada (HRSDC)

Position: service delivery assistant

Employed: seven months

Where did you go to school? What program did you attend?

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph, majoring in political science. After working for a couple of years, I went back to school and attended the public administration certificate program at Humber College, Toronto.

What drew you to your current field?

I have always had a real passion for government, whether it be political or bureaucratic. While at the University of Guelph and Humber, I was able to really dive into current issues and fuel that desire to work for our government.

How did you find your current position?

After graduating university, I worked for a couple of years in an unrelated field. This provided me with an opportunity to evaluate my goals and eventually led me to the public administration program at Humber College. Humber primarily focuses on a practical application of public administration and includes a co-op placement. Through one of my instructors, I was provided with an opportunity to interview for a position with Service Canada (HRSDC).

What skills have you learned through your work experience?

I think my time-management skills have improved since starting at Service Canada in North York, Ontario. There are so many daily changes, that I realized maximizing my time is very important to adapt to certain situations. My negotiating skills have improved through constant contact with our suppliers. Having knowledge of the government's requirements and ensuring that you are providing the best value is important when negotiating goods and services.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?

I believe that to be successful as a procurement officer, or any position within the Federal government, learning is the key to success. Organizational and personal success relies upon being able to identify challenges, providing solutions and working within a team to improve current practices. Learning facilitates these ideas through widening your knowledge base.

Is there one accomplishment you are particularly proud of?

Upon entering Humber College, I had been out of post-secondary education for two years. Being able to use that time to focus on my career and life goals allowed me to improve my learning experience at Humber. This was recognized by my peers and public administration faculty when I received the David Dodge Award for Public Administration. Meeting Mr Dodge and other successful senior public servants provided the confirmation that I made the right choices by seeking a career in the public service.

What are your future career aspirations?

I think that the Federal government holds so many opportunities for learning and career advancement. Ideally I would like to be in a position to become a manager and really focus on ensuring the people around me are successful in their careers and life goals. Because I have just started working with Service Canada, I am learning so much and am excited to see what the future holds.

What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job?

Sit down and take the time to write your career and personal goals. It wasn't until an instructor at Humber asked us to do this exercise that I really focused on what I wanted in a job and in my personal life. By laying everything out on a piece of paper, you can begin to piece together what you want to do and how to go about doing it. Also, never overlook volunteering. This is an important sector that can provide you with the skills and experience that other jobs cannot, and will help improve your resume. jp

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