If you are immigrating to Canada, you will likely have a large list of things to do and explore. As you prepare to settle in your new country of residence, one of the first things people focus on is employment. In this blog post, we will talk about finding your first job in Canada.
As a newcomer, you might not be aware of how the Canadian job market works or how to job search properly. We will explore some of the different strategies that have proven to be successful and helpful in the gainful employment of recent immigrants to Canada.
Before we begin, we want to point out the obvious that while this is general in nature, everything depends on your skills, your experience, the type of job that you're looking at, and what’s in demand in the location that you are looking to work in. While at the same time you may have some issues with your job readiness or your language skills that might limit you. It might be something that you would like to look at early and work on to ensure your maximum chance of success. So again, I'd like to talk about the job search in a general nature and give you some ideas about how you can do that.
Think Outside of the Box
Yes, I know that this is cliché but a lot of times when people come here, they may or may not be at a disadvantage. Depending on the type of network they have, it might be a good idea to start figuring out that network before arriving here. Maybe if you're in a regulated profession, you might want to reach out, not only to the regulatory body but maybe to the industry association. I know different professional bodies will have associations where they will help people with different mentorship or apprenticeship programs for international graduates, so please research as you might find some great resources. This can be a good place to start as you can break into the circle of similar-minded professionals and get their feedback or even network into your first job opportunity.
For mentorship programs, there are organizations out there that provide settlement services funded by the government. To be very transparent, not all these services are something that I would recommend. Some of them are not very effective at what they do, and the services offered may not be helpful for your own individual case. Now, with that said, there are some very good ones out there that run mentorship programs and have linkages with different businesses, so you should investigate these and see how you can leverage these for your benefit.
Take a Course
Secondly, a very popular way of conducting a job search, depending on age and educational ability, is taking a course. I know you are looking for a job so why would you take a course…
A course could be in an industry that wants to be in, or one they may not have credentials for but are interested in. This can allow you to get the credentials you need, while at the same time, a course can be valuable if they have internships or allow you to increase your network. Internships are great because it gives you the ability to do a” Long Interview” where you can truly see how someone works or fits into your company culture. Sometimes you will find someone who does an amazing interview, but then they'll start their work, and you'll think, “Who are you?”
Don’t follow the Herd – Get out and Meet People
Don’t just sit behind a computer and apply for jobs like everyone else on LinkedIn or whatever is posted on the internet. One of the things that you could do is go meet people or attend networking events to get out there. It can be competitive as certain positions are getting hundreds of resumes and you are being judged on just your written details. This allows you to put your face out there so people can know the true package.
There are online options, but what people may not understand is that you can actually apply in person old school and then go back and apply online but you might be able to put yourself ahead of others by showing an interest and motivation by showing up or even speaking with someone that might just engage with you and who might be able to give you that 1 tip or introduction that will lead to a job.
Just because you worked in a role in your home country, doesn't mean that you're going to transition laterally into that role. Here in Canada, you might have to take a step backward to take two steps forwards. Now, while I understand how disheartening that may be for some, it's incumbent upon you to get that experience and move up through the chain. I want you to be strategic in that respect and start thinking about how you're going to move through and start planning your steps. You don't have to go for the VP job right off the bat – you might want to take a manager job and plan for how you can advance further. You already have the skills previously and when it comes to advancing yourself you can leap ahead of others as is the case time and time again for many people.
Lastly, I want to end with a bit of a story. Most people and depending on where you're coming from culturally might find that some jobs are “beneath them” I've seen several people that have come to Canada and done amazingly well, and I've also seen other people that haven't done so well and struggled quite a bit. What it boils down to is what their mindset and outlook are, and I truly believe that this is a huge factor for many people in many areas of their life.
I like to compare them with two fictitious people. Let's call them your accountants. There are two guys that are going after an accounting job that have the same credentials. Everything's the same, except one person ran around to look for his perfect job and is still trying to break into his perfect job to fit his role. The other one took a job that was “beneath him”, and his credentials so to speak but at least he got started. The difference is the guy that took the job now has relevant experience and has shown that he is the guy who gets started and moved forward. He can proudly say for example “I came to Canada, I had settlement funds, I needed to find a job and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be able to get that. I've taken a job to be able to put money on the table for my family.”
I know I would hire that guy as I know when push comes to shove, I have a guy that is going to dive in and get the job done as opposed to being concerned that something is not fitting his job role.
Finding your first job in Canada can be a challenge if you are unprepared so, please start doing some research prior to coming here so you are not scrambling when you arrive. Start networking with people or find ways to set you up for success in that respect. These are things that you're going to want to consider to make sure that your immigration journey in Canada goes smoothly.
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