7 Job Search Strategies for Newcomers to Canada

Many highly skilled professionals come to Canada to find a better life for themselves and their families.  Newcomers come from countries where the type of degrees, the quality and name of their educational institution, and their experience are enough to land good jobs.

This does not necessarily apply in the same way in Canada. Canadian employers ask for “Canadian experience,” and many careers are regulated, meaning individuals cannot work and/or use their professional title until they have been thoroughly assessed and given their appropriate licence or designation.

Many job seekers assume and rely exclusively on an online job search strategy.   By considering these tips and taking responsibility for their job search, chances of getting a professional job or at least a good start in their industry while you work out, the credential assessment and recognition process will increase dramatically.

  1. Think of one to three job titles/targets you can do right away – Determine these three that don’t require further training or experience or require minimum training. These may be entry-level positions in your industry/field or even unrelated positions. You could still earn an income and practice valuable skills that will support your career in the future.  If you are a lawyer, consider a legal assistant, a receptionist in a legal firm, an office assistant, or another position in an organization dealing with legal issues.  Talk to an experienced career coach and consider changing careers, but always leveraging on your current skills.
  2. Read job postings carefully – Don’t just read the requirements but also the job description and the responsibilities. Read, when possible, about the organization that is hiring. This will give you a better understanding of the market and the jobs.
  3. Use a highlighter! – Underline the aspects of job postings you don’t understand or feel that your skills and experiences are a weak match. This exercise will help you to figure out whether you are targeting the right jobs or whether you may need to upgrade your skills.  With a different colour, highlight or underline the aspects of job postings where you have strong skills and experience. This will help you to tailor your résumé’s and cover letters, focusing on those skills.
  4. Find a mentor and professional opportunities – Use social media and existing professional groups, associations and networking events to connect with potential mentors who can introduce you to people, guide your steps, review your résumé and provide references. Remember that this is a reciprocal game; don’t ask for more than what you are willing to give back.  Select training and seminars strategically so you can improve your skills while meeting other professionals and potential employers.
  5. Do not delay credential assessment and recognition – If your trade or profession is regulated, the earlier you start the process with the regulatory body, the better.  This website provides links to accredited credential assessment services.  https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=681&top=29
  6. Do not spend too much time not working – Employers in Canada pay more attention to experience and candidates who are active, even if it means working in unrelated jobs. Being currently employed means you are healthy, eager and employable. And it counts toward the Canadian experience!  Consider part-time and contracts and be ready to relocate.
  7. Consider being an entrepreneur – The community where you are settling in may have unmet needs and potential for self-employment, small business and even co-operatives, where you join other professionals to create jobs for yourselves and others and support the local economy: the ultimate job security!

By taking any action on these steps, you are working on improving your job search goals. Focussing on steps you can take gives you control in determining your next steps toward success.

Job Skills has more than 40 online workshops that will assist you in your career exploration and job search situation. Watch for the dates and times to register for our online workshops, as well as lots of excellent links and resources to assist you!

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