Of all the challenges of starting a new life in a new country, finding a job in Canada is one of the most critical steps for new immigrants. As many new Canadians will tell you, getting that first job and that first "Canadian" work experience is not always easy. It is particularly hard on those who immigrate to Canada as "skilled workers", but find out the hard way that this does not automatically mean that a job will be waiting for them when they arrive. In this post, I have put together some tips and resources that can help in finding a job in Canada.
First, let's start with some tips. Many new Canadians find the job search and recruitment activities in Canada a bit different than what they are used to. Often times it is small things, but they make a difference in the eyes of a recruiter or a hiring manager. The candidate themselves and their skills and experience don't change. It is simply a matter of how they present themselves in a resume/CV and in-person during an interview. New immigrants to Canada may find this frustrating, as they are confident that they can do a great job and work hard. But unfortunately, to get your foot in the door you must first be able to present yourself professionally and prove to the recruiter and hiring manager that you have the skills and experience necessary to do the job.
So here are some tips:
1) Be Flexible: Your first job may not be exactly what you want. It may not match the job you were doing before coming to Canada. You may even have to accept a more junior role to start. Of course, you should always target your desired job and level. But the point is to be flexible if needed. Write down all the skills you have and think of all the types of roles you could apply them to so you can come up with a wider set of jobs that you can apply to. With time and experience, it will become much easier to move your career towards your goals.
2) Work While You Apply: It is often easier to get a job when you are currently employed, than when you are not. This is not fair, especially to new Canadians who have uprooted their lives and quit good jobs in order to immigrate to Canada. Unfortunately, this is the reality you have to accept. From a hiring manger's point of view, when they see a person applying who has been unemployed for several months (or years), the decision to hire them becomes much more difficult. But you might ask, how can I work while I'm still applying? It makes no sense! The idea is that you should try to do something with your time. Can you work part-time? Or even volunteer somewhere? Try to show employers that you are active and eager to work. A long the gap on your resume might reflect that you are not doing anything with your time and that you lack motivation.
3) Re-Write Your Resume/CV: The typical resume in Canada probably looks a bit different that it does in an immigrants home country. Therefore, just bringing the same resume and sending it in job applications probably won't work. Here are a few pointers:
a) Remove your photo, data of birth, gender, and other personal information such as marital status or how many kids you have. While this type of information is standard in some countries, it is not typically included in a Canadian job application. Your resume should focus on your education, skills, and professional accomplishments. Including personal information immediately gives the impression that an applicant is new in Canada and not yet aware of how to conduct themselves in a professional setting.
b) Focus your resume on specific accomplishments you have made. Descriptions that describe generic functions such as team management, sales, marketing, etc. at a very high level do not give any insight into why an employer should hire you. If you managed a team, talk specifically about some accomplishments such as how you built or grew a team, new methodologies or processes you built and the results achieved, improvements in efficiency or profitability you made, and so on. Similarly for any other type of role. This is your opportunity to show the employer what you can do for them.
c) Highlight your key skills/accomplishments at the top of your resume. This section usually goes at the very top and is a summary of the strongest points that you have to offer. You can include degrees, certifications, major well known employers, specific accomplishments and achievements, and specific skills you have. Doing this can trigger the interest of an employer to look further and read the rest of your resume.
d) Include keywords. Of course, make sure the resume is easily human-readable, and don't stuff too many keywords because that can make your resume look fake. Rather, try to thoughtfully work in all the keywords that you think an employer would be looking for. If you are in IT, include the names of operating systems, programming languages, development environments and frameworks, tools, and anything else you think are relevant. It may be obvious to you, but often resumes are searched by keyword, and the initial recruiters screening resumes may not know details of your role. So if you don't match the keywords, your resume will not even be looked at.
e) Do all of the above while being brief! I typically recommend a two page resume because it's brief but still gives you enough room to include a detailed description of your skills and experience. Whether you decide on one, two, or three pages, the key point here is to convey the message efficiently, because most employers will not spend more than a few minutes looking at your resume when screening applications. Once you are selected for an interview, you will have an opportunity to get into depth as required.
4) Present Yourself Professionally: When meeting with an employer in an interview or even a less formal setting such as a job fair, make sure you present yourself professionally. Dress well and take care of your personal hygiene. Prepare yourself with some specific phrases or summaries about yourself, your skills, and your previous experiences. This will go a long way to make sure you present a focused and coherent message about yourself. Speak confidently and be calm. Make sure you listen intently when being spoken to so you can respond appropriately. Avoid talking about personal matters, politics, religion, or any other controversial issues. Making statements or repeating stereotypes targeting people of a certain gender, race, or background are completely unacceptable in Canada. If you have to make "small talk" to break the ice, talk about the weather - a favorite topic for Canadians!
With a flexible approach, a solid resume, and some preparation for meeting potential employers, you will be ready to start applying for jobs. But where should you start? These days, most job applications are made online, however, don't forget to check for in-person opportunities to apply for work. In particular, retail and restaurant jobs are often posted in the establishments themselves, and resume submission can be made in person. Here are some resources you should consider looking into:
1) The Canada Job Bank: It is recommended for you to create a profile and start applying for jobs on the job bank even before arriving in Canada. You will often find jobs here that are not posted anywhere else. As with all job searches, it is highly competitive and you won't hear anything back from most job posting you apply to. But don't give up and keep trying. You never know where your next job will come from! Visit the Job Bank.
2) Search Jobs on Google: Google's search engine has a new feature for searching for jobs using their super easy search engine. All you have to do is go to Google and search for a term like "jobs in Canada" or "jobs in Toronto". You can even specify a type of job like "jobs for engineers in Canada". You will see a special jobs box show up listing jobs that match your query.
3) Use LinkedIn: You can use LinkedIn's jobs section to search for, find, and apply for jobs. Before you do so, you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and professionally written. Make sure it matches your resume since most employers will check your LinkedIn profile if they are interesting to learn more about you. You can put more details on LinkedIn and include a longer employment history since you are not limited in space. Being active on LinkedIn including commenting, liking, and posting original content can also raise your profile. Combine this with a strategy to build your network thoughtfully. Find the right opportunities and approach, don't just send random invites to people. If you don't have a profile yet, get started today on LinkedIn.
4) Connect with your local settlement agency: There are many settlement agencies in Canada that are dedicated to helping new Canadians settle into their new life in Canada. They can provide support with housing, health, employment, and education. Many also run programs to match newcomers with mentors who can help them navigate the employment landscape, network, and prepare for job interviews. Here are a few to get you started:
Arriving in a new country for the first time and knowing that this will be your new home can be exciting, but also a little bit scary. However, rest assured that millions have immigrated to Canada successfully, and almost all eventually are able to build their own successful and happy life in Canada. Keep the tips in this article in mind, and use the resources provided, and you will be way ahead of most other newcomers to Canada.
If you are thinking about immigration to Canada, and would like to speak to a professional about available immigration programs and whether you would qualify, book an immigration consultation session with us and we'll be happy to help!
A new web site and software tools have been launched under the name MovNorth to help encourage tech workers from the U.S. to move to Canada. The web site matches tech workers abroad to Canadian companies looking to hire highly skilled workers.
Canadian technology companies are increasingly being constrained by a lack of qualified talent in Canada, and are looking abroad to find the required skill sets. Even startups are starting to look into hiring from abroad or from international students studying in Canada and looking to remain after graduation.
The technology industry has been growing rapidly in Canada, and multiple major companies have announced that they will open large offices in Canada. Both startups and large companies are now competing for talent with experience in software development, user experience, digital marketing, sales, and product management.
In addition to the regular immigration programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, and Provincial Nomination Programs, Canada has specific programs aimed directly at attracting highly skilled technology workers. The Start-Up visa program aims to attract innovative entrepreneurs who would like to build their start-ups in Canada. To qualify, an entrepreneur must get support from a designated Venture Capital (VC) or Angel investor fund, or a Start-up incubator program. Canadian companies also have access to a program known as the Global Talent Stream, which enables them to process work permits for highly skilled workers within 2 weeks.
If you are interested in immigrating to Canada and have experience in the technology industry, we can help you select the program that is the best fit for your circumstances and guide you through the entire process.
According to the most recent Statistics Canada report in November, 2018, the unemployment rate in Canada is at a 40-year low of 5.8%. This is regarded as a situation of "full employment", which means that practically anyone seriously seeking a job will find one. Of course, economies work in cycles, and Canada's economy is no exception. Canada regularly experiences both recessions and periods of growth, just like any other economy in the world. The past few years have seen solid growth, leading to the low unemployment numbers.
It is interesting to note that the strong economic news comes at a time when low oil prices and delayed pipeline projects have significantly impacted the Canadian economy, particularly resources rich provinces in western Canada. Low oil prices have slowed hiring and investment and have impacted government budgets. Nonetheless, other sectors have been strong, including housing and IT.
In particular, the city of Toronto has experienced very strong growth in the high tech industry. According to some reports, Toronto is now the fastest growing tech city in North America, even surpassing Silicon Valley in terms of how fast it is growing. Several major technology companies have recently announced expansions or new headquarters in Toronto including Microsoft, Google, Uber, Intel, and Shopify. This is in addition to the hundreds of startups growing quietly in the Toronto-Waterloo high tech corridor.
Canada’s Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) reports that the unemployment rate in the IT sector is at 2.6%, but according to other estimates it is even lower. There is particularly strong demand for certain skill sets, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science where new university graduate starting salaries can range from $80,000 to more than $100,000 per year.
Meanwhile in London, Ontario, "Hiring" signs are popping up on many corners as companies struggle to fill open job postings. A number of manufacturers are offering signing bonuses in order to attract workers. But with an unemployment rate of 5.5%, it has been difficult to find new workers, even for unskilled factory jobs. Other industries in London are also facing difficulty hiring including the tech sector, construction and even restaurants. The story is the same across southwestern Ontario.
Canada has several federal and provincial immigration programs that have been tailored specifically to attract the talent Canada needs to continue growing its economy. In particular, IT workers have some specific programs that allow their applications to be fast-tracked. If you have experience in IT related fields and are interested in coming to Canada, please get in touch with us to learn more!