The application process takes a lot of time
Right off the bat, I’ll say - you will need to manage your expectations when applying for government jobs, especially with the Government of Canada. As an outside applicant, job competitions will take at a minimum of a couple of months, and some might over a year to get through.
Play the numbers game when applying for government jobs
Getting into a government job is a numbers game, you will have to apply to A LOT of jobs in order to land one. Apply to every job that you meet the qualifications for, regardless of the location or agency, especially if they are creating a pool. Being in a pool a certain classification and level could allow other managers to pull you for a different role.
Also, keep in mind that while getting into a government job is hard, moving around once you are in is easy. So don’t just wait for your dream job, you can get in on a job you aren’t crazy about and move to something better relatively quickly.
Invest time in creating high quality applications
Just because you are applying to multiple jobs, doesn’t mean you can skimp on the quality of your applications. I treated applying for Government of Canada jobs like a part-time job for a few months and dedicated significant time to the process. Thankfully, if you are applying to similar jobs, you can reuse elements of your applications across multiple competitions. Work hard to create high-quality applications at the start that you can reuse.
Expect the application process to be standardized and formal
The government job application process is very standardized. That means you will get a lot of formal and impersonal-looking emails at the different steps. This type of communication can make you think that there aren’t humans running the process - but there are! If you have any questions throughout, you can send a friendly email to the contact person listed on the job poster (usually either the HR advisor or the hiring manager).
But it’s important to be aware that because things are so standardized, there is a lot less flexibility than in most other types of job competitions, especially in the early steps. For example, unless you need a specific accommodation (which you should 100% ask for if you need one), then they will not reschedule a written test to better suit your schedule. Once you get to the interview stage though, the hiring manager may allow for a certain level of flexibility - so best to ask!