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Career counselling can help you navigate what you require to build your career in Canada. In fact, it can help you to build your success faster when you access pre-arrival career services. For newcomers, finding a job that best suits your skills, background, and experience can reduce your job search stress.

Linda Ryan is the National Program Manager with BCCA-Integrating Newcomers, a government funded, Canada-wide, pre-arrival career coaching service for high skilled construction professionals immigrating to Canada (*BCCA-IN).

A career and certified performance coach, she and the BCCA-IN team specialize in helping newcomers plan for, and achieve, employment success, no matter what city or province they are moving to.

When it comes to looking for a career, Ryan provides tips about how pre-arrival career counselling can help you build success. 

Prepare for Canada (PFC) spoke to Ryan, who arrived in Canada as a newcomer in 2010. As she explained, settlement services were not as available as they are today. Further, she stated that pre-arrival services didn’t exist, or she was unaware of them. As a result, she struggled to find a job.

If knowledge is power then local knowledge (industry, credentials, networking and employment) is the catalyst for successful Canadian careers. This is the single biggest truth for newcomers to Canada and in the past they/we had to learn it the hard way.

Linda Ryan

In response to the need to help newcomers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada fund free pre-arrival career counselling, employment information, and resources. These services give newcomers knowledge and power to build effective job search strategies even before setting foot on Canadian soil.

PFC: Can you describe your newcomer experience?

Linda Ryan: I had a solid education, a great career in my home country, and a management track record to be proud of. And when I came to Canada, I had to jump many hurdles including:

  • Background checks
  • Medicals
  • Education evaluations, and
  • Experience assessments. 

Although Canada had confirmed that it “wanted me”, arriving in Canada as a skilled immigrant still felt like it wasn’t enough. I had to learn from many mistakes about how to:

  • Network the Canadian way
  • Present my experience and credentials
  • Use local labour market and volunteer opportunities, and
  • Compete with “Canadian experienced” job hunters. 

Easily I could have saved myself 100 hours of self-doubt and self-defeating job-hunting activities. If I was pre-armed with career counselling services I could have asked specific questions to someone in the know. By investing 10 hours before I arrived in Canada, I could have achieved success faster. Because without this knowledge, it was a challenge to enter the job market.

PFC: What is the BCCA-Integrating Newcomers program and who can it help?

Linda Ryan: It’s a unique, pre-arrival Canada-wide service that helps high-skilled newcomers explore and build construction careers in Canada. Whether you’re an engineer, architect, project manager, estimator, technician or tradesperson looking to continue your career in Canada. Or, if you are a business, IT, HR, marketing, procurement or finance professional exploring how to move into a high-demand industry, BCCA-IN can help.

The program has evolved and extends services to clients or partners of clients, whether or not construction is their primary industry focus. The wisdom is that if you support spouses/partners pre-arrival, you also increase the success rate for settlement, integration, and employment.

Integrating Newcomers Program

PFC: What makes career counselling vital to newcomers?

Linda Ryan: Counselling services help newcomers to find career success faster. As well, these services provide a return on investment for the economy and the community that newcomers settle in. 

PFC: What are some of the career counselling services that the program offers?

Linda Ryan: We offer a range of services that include: 

  • One-on-one career counselling
  • Help to prepare a resume, write a cover letter, and use LinkedIn, etc.
  • In-depth skills and education assessment.

Our services focus on the best and most practical career, credentials, and connection activities. As a result, these services help newcomers to find employment faster.

Our team has multi-industry experience that can benefit newcomers. We’re also immigrants who have built successful careers in Canada. So we get it!

PFC: How did your job search experience influence you career choice?

Linda Ryan: Ten years on, I’m so passionate about helping others build their careers. So not only do I provide career counselling, but I dedicate my time to ensure newcomers avoid the mistakes I made! 

PFC: What final advice would you offer to newcomers?

Linda Ryan: If I could depart three pearls of wisdom about how to achieve success in Canada, I’d say:

  1. Talk to those in the know

2. Access free employment and settlement services

3. Do it before you land in Canada. 

There is a world of opportunity in Canada! But, you’ve got to know where to look and how to access it.

Learn More about BCCA-IN

*The BCCA-Integrating Newcomers program is a free, pre-arrival, Canada-wide service, focused on helping high-skilled newcomers explore and build successful construction careers. Services include one-on-one career guidance, tailored resume, cover letter, LinkedIn advice, and an in-depth skills and education assessment to help newcomers focus on the best career, credentials and connections activities. The Integrating Newcomers team not only has multi-industry experience but are also immigrants who have built successful careers in Canada.