So how do you get ready to work here? There is no one solution or path to Canadian employment. But there are a few things you need to understand and accomplish now that you’re here.
The first step is researching your particular profession or job industry.
As you are intending to come to Canada, we have prepared a Pre-Arrival Checklist of valuable information that will make arriving in Canada as smooth a process as possible.
If you didn’t find this out before you immigrated, your first question is: is it a licensed or unlicensed profession?
Licensed vs. unlicensed professions
Immigrant professionals in careers that are licensed in Canada (i.e., doctors, engineers, teachers, accountants, nurses, pharmacists, electricians/trades, etc.) have to get relicensed in Canada, which means examinations or further training. A great government tool to find out more about your profession in Canada is www.WorkinginCanada.gc.ca, which will provide you with information on the licensing board that governs your profession in your provincial destination. Your next step is to contact the licensing board in your province (each province will have its own).
The licensing board in question will be able to give you the details on how to get your current credentials evaluated, and then what you will need to accomplish to be licensed in that profession in Canada. You might need to take some additional courses, upgrade your training, take a bridging program or simply pass an examination. Consider that there will be costs involved with all of this as well.
If you are in a field that does not require a licence — i.e., a business manager, human resource manager or even a semi-skilled worker, you don’t have to go through the hassle of relicensure and re-examination with a professional certification body. But you will still face challenges. You may even want to consider getting some additional Canadian schooling or professional development to add to your resumé.
In some cases, you may want to get your educational credentials evaluated (see “Getting my skills recognized?” Credentials Recognition).
You should also research if there is a professional member association linked to your industry that you can join and start making those connections as soon as possible. Use the internet and social media to start making connections with people in your new country.
Next steps toward work
Once you know what type of challenges you’re facing in your particular industry, you need to find some additional support. Immigrant settlement agencies or job search centres are designed for just such purposes. They will have programs to help you Canadianize your resumé, teach you about Canadian expectations for cover letters, interviews and networking.
But that’s just the beginning. You will need an arsenal of success strategies to get the job you want. This may include spending time volunteering to get Canadian experience, networking, finding a mentor and more. Basically, your full-time job now is finding a job. Treat your job search like you would an important business project: set goals, plans and go for it.
Perhaps the most important thing is keeping a positive mindset. The minute you become too cynical and negative, you will project that to potential employers and others who could connect you with said potential employers. Yes, you are experiencing a transition penalty in your career because you immigrated, and it’s frustrating, but the ones who successfully get beyond this are those that can stay determined and optimistic.