Preparing to Land Your First Job after Immigrating to Canada

 In Newcomers to Canada

Congratulations on completing the steps to immigrate to Canada! You are now actively thinking about establishing a career in your new country of residence. You may be wondering how to make the best entry into your professional field or if you may need to take a lower-level job at first.

If you are to take one suggestion from reading this post, it’s this: prepare as much work-related information as you can before you relocate. When you move to the city of your choice, you will minimize the stress and start taking specific steps to find the job that is in line with your goals.

Here are some ideas to consider:

1.      Your resume

Rewrite your resume focusing on the most relevant achievements. Include clear headers, text that is easy to skim, and specific results of your work. Highlight your experience (professional or academic) in North America.

2.      Association Memberships and Conferences

Prepare a list of 3-5 leading associations in your industry. Study their materials, courses, conference programs, and professional development options. Plan a budget for an annual membership ($200-$500) and conference attendance ($350-$650).

The best association to choose is the one where you will participate and learn the most. This includes meeting members during events and virtually, reviewing resources, asking questions, volunteering, sharing expertise, or participating in a mentorship. The more time and effort you put into it, the more you get out of your membership.

3.      Continuing Education

Look into short courses or certificate programs – online or on campus. Having a nationally recognized credential on your resume is important. You will be able to learn about Canada’s latest industry trends and standards in a format that fits the needs of adult learners. Research continuing education programs based on the province of your choice. Review requirements, schedules, and fees in advance to plan your time.

4.      Potential Employers

Create a list of 30+ target employers in the province of your choice. Follow them on social media, subscribe to their newsletters and job alerts, and check their career webpages for new listings. Research these employers carefully to understand their business models and goals. Identify key decision-makers on LinkedIn or through company websites and know whom to contact if you want to apply for a job or request an informational interview, a short meeting or a phone call to learn more about the company.

5.      Your Credentials

Prepare any diploma equivalence that may be required in your industry. Create a list of international professionals who can recommend you. Ask 2-5 of them to write you recommendation letters or LinkedIn recommendations.

6.      Career Services

When in Canada, schedule an in-person meeting with a career services professional. Many cities offer these services for free to new immigrants. ALPA is an example of such services in Quebec. They are a great source of ideas about the state of the labor market. You may also consider working with a private career advisor who has knowledge of your industry or can offer a customized package to support you. Plan a budget of $200-$700 for these services.

7.      LinkedIn and Indeed

Have a strong, SEO-optimized LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to be found by recruiters, send messages, and apply for jobs. Upload your resume on Indeed.

8.      Work-life balance

Set daily and weekly goals for the number of hours you can spend looking for work or preparing to be more qualified and employable. To avoid accumulating stress, take regular breaks, explore leisure options in your location, meet people who have similar interests via hobby groups or meet-ups, and proceed with your usual health routine.

9.      Timelines

Give yourself enough time (3-9 months minimum) to find a desirable job. Keep your eyes on your goals and continue working in your chosen direction. Patience and networking are important. Some Canadian employers may take several months to hire a suitable candidate.

10.   Follow up

When you are in Canada and have started applying for jobs, follow up several times to show your interest in the position. You may consider following up up to 5 times at various time intervals.

11.   Language Skills

Improve your language and writing skills as much as possible before moving to Canada. Also, review resources about business email etiquette and practice writing emails with clarity and concision. Pass any required language tests and bring the certificates with you.

12.   Volunteering

Have a list of organizations where you would like to volunteer – in a meaningful way, performing work that is in line with your specialization (and/or your heart) and in an organization where your efforts will be appreciated. Seek to build long-term relationships and strengthen your skillset.

13.   Staffing Agencies

Contact staffing agencies and prepare for your job search as much as possible before you move. Be transparent about your current location and the dates when you will be ready for employment. More and more companies may choose to do phone/video screening before in-person interviews. You may have a few video interviews before you relocate to Canada and meet the company. At all times, focus on the value you can deliver for your potential employer and how you can help solve their problems.

About the author:

Tanya Mykhaylychenko provides resume writing and career strategy services. Connect with her on LinkedIn for networking tips and ideas on career development.

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