How to Navigate the Public Sector During the Pandemic

Finding employment in a new country can be difficult even during the best of times, and it is especially harder in the midst of a global pandemic.

With the aim of providing tools, resources and guidance to our clients to succeed in this new scenario, we organized a panel discussion on January 27, 2021. At this event, experts from the Public Sector offered some great advice and insights on the following topics:

  • The current job market and how newcomers can prepare for the challenges ahead
  • The importance of digital literacy during job search and beyond
  • Creative ways to network virtually and build connections
  • Adapting to the new normal: remote working

The event was attended by candidates who have qualified for the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program 2020-2021. The panelists were from different departments of the federal and municipal governments and a crown corporation:

  • Rose Kattackal, Director General in Pre-Retirement, Shared Services Canada
  • Soophia Ahmad, Senior Program and Policy Advisor, IRCC
  • Tatiana Tolstsik, Recruitment and Selection Coordinator, House of Commons
  • Zarina Abdushukurova, Talent Management Specialist, HR, City of Ottawa
  • Zeina Gabriel, Special Projects Officer, Shared Services Canada

The discussion started by acknowledging the difficult times we are currently living in. However, as the conversation progressed, there was a lot of optimism for the future.

“While there are many challenges right now, the bright spot is that we are all coming up with newer and more innovative ways of doing our work,” said Rose.

The panelists also spoke about how working remotely has many benefits including the opportunity to find work outside of our own cities.

“Just remember to be more specific about your skills and tailor your job search according to the current needs of the labour market,” Rose added.

The importance of using social media and digital platforms like LinkedIn to expand our professional networks was also discussed. Especially during the lockdown since there are fewer opportunities for in-person meetings or attending networking events.

“An excellent method is to blog or post information in an easy to digest form. Many professionals on public platforms post information or items that inspire interest. These mostly neutral themes can generate an audience and a following. They can improve name recognition and create a positive association,” Tatiana pointed out.

Zarina emphasized that learning new skills and polishing old ones is very crucial during the pandemic and afterwards. She also shared the names of some free and paid online resources and tools –  Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Lynda and Udemi – that could help job seekers stay on top of their skills.

“Not just digital skills but soft skills (like communicating effectively in writing and verbally) are also very important when it comes to networking and building relationships. So it is essential to work on that too.”

Zeina talked about her journey in the Public Service that started as a FIN intern to her current role in the government. She elaborated on why it is important to build relationships, especially during this time of social isolation.

“Not every connection will lead to a job and not every relationship has to be transactional. The important thing is to keep meeting as many people as possible, even if it is virtually at this time.”

The afternoon ended on a positive note – don’t lose hope, stay optimistic – and all the participants felt motivated and energized from the conversation.

“Thank you for putting this engaging and inspiring session together and for the practical insights and perspectives that you have all shared with us today on a number of topics” – Esam, World Skills client. 

“Thank you for the panel discussion. It was very encouraging and informative” – Vera World Skills client. 




  1. I’d like to thank the Panelists for their time, advice and recommandations. After this Panel of discussion, I felt more motivated than ever to persue my challenge. Special Thank you to the envent organizer who made this happened.

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