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Now that you have your visa and are well on your way to landing in Vancouver, Canada, you’re probably starting to think about what job you want to do once you arrive.  Here are some important steps to getting you ready for living in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Canadianize your CV or resume for Vancouver

Whilst you want to be noticed, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. As painful and as wrong as it feels, you’re going to need to jazz up your CV with a liberal sprinkling of North American (mis)spelling. When someone reads your CV you want them to realise how good you are, not be distracted by the fact that you spell things differently.

Help potential employers understand how good you are

Be prepared to help people understand how clever you are – if you’ve got a non-Canadian degree or qualifications, where possible try to detail ‘Equivalent to XYZ’. That way you won’t put people off with them thinking that you’re under-qualified for a role.

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Research your industry

You’ll soon realise there aren’t many big companies who are headquartered Vancouver, but there are lots of little ones. Whilst I don’t think it’s worth wasting hours of your time applying for jobs when you’re out of the country, it’s worth working out a contact strategy of who you’re going to get in touch with as soon as you arrive.   Google is your best friend for this – work out the main players in the industry you’re looking to get into, and find out what people work for those companies. Then start making contacts through LinkedIn and make some friends.

You’ll often find that if you contact (or as the Canadians like to call it, ‘reach out’, to people, they’ll be flattered that you’re considering them worth talking to. Use these meetings to demonstrate you’ve done your homework and know a bit about the industry and their company, and use them to get the inside scoop; who’s good to work for, and who’s not. And you never know, they might know of someone who can give you a job.

Education

If there’s one thing that Canadians love, it’s education. They love being ‘qualified’ so it’s not unusual for people to have very specific qualifications or have done courses (that you’ll have never heard of before) for jobs.

Annoyingly, these qualifications often crop up in job specifications, they’ll often be very particular about what degree course they want you to have done, or what courses they want you to have taken while you were at University. Sadly, for some jobs, if you don’t fit into their mold of what they’re looking for, they’ll sometimes disregard you, simply because you don’t tick all of their (what I’d regard as often wholly unimportant) pre-requisites.

The point in saying all this is – if you get the chance to do any industry specific courses before you get to Canada, do it! And if you’re in Canada, wondering what you can do to increase your chances of getting a job, chances are doing a course in something will be a big help.

Where to start

The British Columbia Construction Association Pre-Arrival Training Program

The British Columbia construction industry is projected to have upwards of 25,000 construction jobs available due to a lack of skilled labour in the province.  For this reason, the Canadian government has funded this program geared to getting skilled workers into employment that matches their skills.

By taking part in these pre arrival programs for newcomers to Canada you will be setting yourself up for a success in your career, even before you arrive in Canada.

The British Columbia Construction Association’s Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) is a program that helps newcomers to Canada enter the construction workforce in British Columbia.