Like many immigrants to Canada, I dreamed of living in the land of the free. I wished, for me and my family, to lead happy and fulfilling lives in the Great North. The day I received news of my Canadian visa approval; it was exhilarating. It felt like all the tough days were past me. I was going to the glorious land of Canada, leaving behind all my troubles. Little did I know that surviving in this new country, finding a well-paying job, was going to take a monumental effort.
On my arrival in Canada, I found out that prospecting for a job while starting my life was overwhelming. I was unable to cover my living expenses with my savings. It caused a lot of financial stress. I took on a lower-level job until I could cross the barriers posed by the Canadian job market. One of which is the elusive “Canadian Work Experience”.
Canadian employers prefer candidates with “Canadian Work Experience”. That is, candidates who have worked with or for Canadian companies in Canada. This re-assures them that the candidate will be able to communicate well and can be a good fit in their team. Many new immigrants struggle to understand these “Canadian Work Experience” requirements. They find it challenging and frustrating.
What steps can a new immigrant take to better their chances of finding a job in Canada?
Get Foreign Degree Equivalency
Ensure to get your foreign degree and credentials evaluated and assessed for equivalency. Canadian Standards might be different from your home country’s. An assessment of your educational, professional, and occupational credentials will prove you are educationally qualified. You can apply for foreign credential validation before your arrival in Canada.
Join Online Canadian Communities
Start building a network of Canadian Connections before your arrival. There are many online forums and communities for professional and personal interests. Join these online communities and start making meaningful contributions to these forums. Taking advantage of any opportunities to showcase your capabilities will help build your reputation. By participating in professional events or conferences, you can expand your network of connections.
Set-up your “LinkedIn” account
Most large companies in Canada have a presence on LinkedIn.
Create your LinkedIn account and add your educational and professional details. Request your current and past coworkers to endorse your skills. Highlight your lateral skills, the skills which are useful in any industry. Research and follow Canadian companies in the industries of your interest. Ask for introductions to Canadian connections from your network. Express your interest in new positions and specify what value you can bring to the job. Describe your skills, competencies and past experience in detail. This information will be helpful to hiring managers and recruiting
Talk like a Canadian
English and French are the official languages of Canada. Take language lessons to sharpen your communication skills. Watch Canadian TV shows and movies to learn the intricacies of Canadian English. These language skills will act as a great foundation for building your career and life in Canada.
Walk like a Canadian
As the saying goes, When in Rome, be a Roman.
So, in Canada, be a Canadian. Find opportunities to organize and take part in sporting events or cultural festivals. Join a book club at the library, an ice-hockey league or a trekking camp. Explore Canada’s bounty of nature through social activities to build new connections.
Volunteer in person or virtually
Find opportunities to work at non-profit organizations. There are plenty of organizations that need support. Use your skills and competencies to help at these organizations. It can help you practice your job search and interviewing skills. It could help practice and develop new skills while enhancing your confidence. It might introduce you to a new industry or help you get references.
Some volunteering opportunities might need physical work at the organization’s physical location. Some others might need support for administrative tasks online.
Enroll in a short course at a Canadian University
Completing a short course at a Canadian University is a good idea. Especially, if it gives you access to the Campus Employment Office. They provide employment advice and act as channels to the Canadian industries. Canadian employers turn to universities for infusing their workforce with fresh talent.
Certify with a Canadian Regulatory Authority or Licensing Agency
Professional certifications and license from an accredited Canadian authority will add value to your resume. Employers describe the professional certifications in the nice-to-have or preferred qualifications. Research a few job listings from Canadian employers in your industry. Take the necessary classes to educate yourself to pass the qualifying exam.
Be open to part time or short-term-contract jobs
Being adaptable and flexible with terms of employment will open doors for you. Willing to work non-regular hours may give you the chance to find gainful employment. Local businesses need extra help during busy holiday or tourist seasons. Keep a lookout for job listings about 2-3 months ahead of a busy economic season.
Find Corporations from your native country with offices in Canada
It’s a small world. Look into the jobs at Canadian offices of Corporations from your home country. These corporations might have positions that might need your language or cultural knowledge. It’s a win-win, they get your knowledge of your native land and you get a job in Canada.
Build a book of Canadian Clientele
Thanks to the Pandemic, remote work has gone mainstream. Finding virtual work with international teams has become more commonplace. Apply for online jobs and work as a remote worker for Canadian Clients on freelancer job portals. Add this to your resume as experience working for Canadian organizations or businesses.
Sign up with a settlement agency in Canada
There are many settlement agencies that help newly arrived immigrants to settle down. These agencies might offer help in writing a resume that meets Canadian standards. They might also have a list of local businesses and organizations that are looking to hire. They may help you learn about the companies that are key to the local economy and the nature of skills they look for.