Most newcomers in Canada arrive with suitable qualifications and work experience. Despite these, immigrants usually struggle to find jobs. Here are some of the tips that can help you land your very first job in Canada.
There are cases that your profession requires certification in the Canadian province where you live. So, what will you be doing while you are still in the process of getting that certificate to practice?
You can apply to entry-level jobs – roles where your skills can be useful. Or maybe look for a career in your industry that is one or two levels down compared to your latest work position from your home country.
Do your research
Find out if your profession is regulated in the Canadian province that you are planning to move to. If it is, you may do research on what the process is so you can prepare.
List the job responsibilities in your work
Doing this will help you when writing your resume and cover letter for your future applications. Never assume that the hiring manager knows everything you do at work from A to Z.
Let’s say you are working as a radiologic technologist, you start your list of responsibilities with “adjusting and maintaining imaging equipment such as [insert the equipment names].” Yes, you have to be very specific when writing your duties.
Accept that every interview doesn’t always lead to job offers
When you send your resume and cover letter, your goal is to be one of the interview candidates. And when you do the interview, your goal is to show the hiring manager that you are the right person for the position.
However, not all the time you become successful, even if the interview seems perfect. What if one of the interviewed candidates was an internal applicant ─ someone who has already been working with the company? Then they probably have more edge than you because they already know the ins and outs!
Another reason could be that you are overqualified for the position you’re applying for. Or maybe you lack a specific experience the hiring manager is looking for. Whatever it is, don’t get discouraged on your job hunt. Get interviews as many as you can, and you will find that job that is really suitable for you and your skills.
Make yourself visible online to hiring managers
Recruiters and hiring managers usually hang out on LinkedIn. It is a social media platform for professionals, and they look for potential candidates on it.
My husband and I have received a couple of direct messages from recruiters inviting us to apply to an open position. Also, I received an email about their interest in getting my freelance writing service and told me they found me on LinkedIn. There are opportunities waiting in there. And if you want companies to see you online, your best option is LinkedIn.
Connect with your local employment support
There are local services offered to community members who are currently unemployed. Let’s take The Career Foundation as an example.
The Career Foundation has multiple locations within the Greater Toronto Area. Besides newcomers, they also help the youth, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and unemployed and underemployed individuals.
One-on-one career counseling and career information sessions are some of the services they provide. And everything is FREE! You can even sign up for their membership so you can use their desktop computers and any resources you need when finding a job, submitting an application, or when practicing for an interview.
Find volunteer opportunities
I have worked as an intern in one of the non-profit organizations in the region where I used to live. And in that organization, they have a handful of volunteers!
One day, a position opened up, and they decided to choose one from the volunteers! Isn’t that amazing? This doesn’t happen every day, but if you love what you’re doing and make yourself shine in everything you do, opportunities will come to you!
Build your network
Connect with the people in your local church. Join community events to meet local businesses. Go out and be friends with your local neighborhood. There are also religious associations that you can find and join to expand your network. An example would be Bicol Canada Community Association, a group for Filipino community who grew up or lived in the Bicol Region of The Philippines and now living for good in Canada.
Develop your interview skills
It feels fantastic when you get invited for an interview. That basically means, out of hundreds (or thousands?) of applicants, you are one of the top candidates for the position. And since you are a newcomer, it will be pretty nerve-racking for your first interview! Below are the things that you can do before you go to that hot-seat:
- Review your work history
- Read the job posting multiple times
- Research about the company and the position you are applying for
- Write down interview questions and practice answering them beforehand
- Prepare to sell yourself – show them why you are the perfect person for the job!
Align your international experience in your resume
You will find job postings that ask for X years of experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are looking for Canadian experience. Any type of work you had from your home country, as long as the necessary skills are in there, is something you can definitely write them down on your resume!
Obtain a Canadian work experience
Okay, so how will you get Canadian experience if you haven’t had a job yet since arriving in Canada? What are you going to write down on your resume for this case?
Remember the volunteering opportunities I mentioned above? If you have an ongoing one, that’s considered as Canadian work experience!
How about a job that isn’t aligned with your career? Let’s say you are having a survival job while waiting to get into the industry you really want. Well, you can also add that up to your resume’s work experience section. Highlight all the soft skills that you have been implementing on your minimum-wage job. Or maybe you are contributing more than what you are required to in your current job ─ list that down as well. You’ll never know what kind of employee the recruiters are looking for!