I thought I’d say a few words about how I landed my summer job. Working in Ottawa for the summer is a popular choice for Canadian students, especially for those of us who attend school in the eastern part of the country (since, as we all know, Canada’s really big). The federal government encourages students by helping to arrange for us to find three- to four-month full-time positions with federal organizations, often not just related to our fields but actually quite tremendous opportunities, that employers would likely never offer us on the free market. This is how I ended up working for the federal government this summer.
My interview (which was mercifully over the phone, since Montreal is close but not THAT close to Ottawa) was not actually for the position I ended up with. My name had been selected from the FSWEP pool as a candidate for a reference position at the Industry Canada library in downtown Ottawa. When I accepted their offer of an interview, I was fully aware of two major problems, but I was happy enough to have been offered an interview that I didn’t worry too much. The first problem was that the job required me to be bilingual, and the second was that my French is quite weak. When the interview finally took place, they asked me five questions, to which I gave four rather good responses and one embarrassingly bad one; indeed, the interviewers seemed quite impressed with all of my answers except the one in French (though they were certainly nice enough about it).
Now, I’ve hunted for summer jobs enough times to know that my first interview of the season is not usually my best, so I chalked it up as a practice run and expected not to hear from Industry Canada again. To my surprise, a few weeks later I received a call from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, which is a very small part of Industry Canada, and they wanted to know whether I would accept a position at the CIPO Resource Centre in Gatineau, immediately across the bridge from downtown Ottawa. Apparently IC had liked me enough that they’d passed my name on to CIPO, where they were looking for a summer student for a non-bilingual position.
Anyway, it’s been a great experience so far – and it’s hard to believe the summer is almost halfway through!