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Many newcomers land in cities in Canada where jobs are abundant. But, job opportunities are not only in Toronto and Vancouver.

To decide where to immigrate and to prepare for the Canadian job market, Maziar Taheri, an Iranian electrical engineer, made two short trips to Toronto before he moved to Canada with his family. During these trips, Taheri met with friends in Ontario to:

  • talk to them about job opportunities in Canada
  • ask how they managed their businesses
  • spend time at their work places
  • gather information about the standard of living in Canada.

He says the trips gave him a realistic view of the job market and saved him a lot time, money, and struggle when he finally immigrated to Canada.

“Some people decide to move to Canada without knowledge of the job market here,” he says, “and when they come, they have to spend a lot more energy – and they also risk spending more money than necessary. It can be a great pain for some of them and it can also reflect on their families. In fact, they could have done something in their countries to better prepare and save time and money. To me, these two short trips helped me get a better start in Canada.”

 

Skills upgrading to prepare for the Canadian job

It took seven months for Taheri to find a professional job he likes. The first two and a half months in Canada he attended two courses for internationally trained professionals through ACCES Employment Services. The first one was Sales and Marketing Connection at Humber College,Toronto. In addition to sales and marketing in Canada, the program included resume writing and interview skills.

The other course Taheri attended was Leadership in Project Management at Ryerson University. This program provided useful information about:

  • management concepts in Canada
  • team building
  • conflict management
  • and leadership styles.

 

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Immediately after he finished the two programs, Taheri started working for a small company in Toronto. Unfortunately, the company was not in good financial standing and couldn’t pay him the salary he deserved. So, two and a half months later Taheri was unemployed, looking for another job.

That was his most difficult time in Canada. “I heard from my friends that looking for a job was a full-time job and I realized that it was true,” he says. “Sometimes I was working 12 hours a day – writing resumes, reading job postings and companies’ websites, going to job fairs and to interviews. But, I had made the decision to come to Canada and start my life here. I was determined to get a good job and I am happy that I found it.”

 

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“I tried to socialize with immigrants, who had started years ago and have succeeded. I tried to learn about their experiences, to hear how they solved their problems, what their approach was and this helped me a lot.”

To cheer up and stay motivated during his job search, Taheri avoided talking to negative people and instead socialized with successful friends and acquaintances with a positive attitude. ”Everywhere we can find people with low spirit and pessimistic views,” he says, “but it doesn’t help to communicate with them – focusing only on problems and difficulties doesn’t help. So I tried to socialize with immigrants, some of them already Canadian citizens, who had started years ago and have succeeded.

I learned about their experiences, how they solved their problems, what their approach was and this helped me a lot. I realized that all of them started with challenges, but they tried to keep a balance, and to make realistic plans to solve things step-by- step. It took them time and energy but, they succeeded and I enjoyed listening to their stories.”

 

Jobs are not only in Toronto and Vancouver

As an electrical engineer with experience in EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) projects, oil and gas, and industrial equipment sales and marketing, Taheri found his current job in Calgary. He now works for one of Canada’s leading engineering companies.Jobs are not only available in Toronto and Vancouver

“When I was planning to move to Canada,” he says, “most of my friends were landing in Toronto, and we also had relatives in Vancouver. So in my mind, I only had two alternatives –Toronto and Vancouver. I decided to land in Toronto because I had close friends there. At that time, I didn’t know much about Calgary.

 

Living in Calgary, Alberta

Little by little, I understood that something interesting was going on there – related to my experience and my education. And, I decided to move to Calgary. Now I am happy to live here. If I knew about Calgary before coming to Canada, I would have moved here directly, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough information.” I realized after moving to Canada that job opportunities are not only in Toronto and Vancouver!

Taheri thinks Calgary has a more relaxed and harmonious society. There is a reason for that. “The weather is not very nice,” he explains. “Winters are very cold and very long. For that reason non-professional people won’t come to Calgary. Very few newcomers would land here – most of the immigrants go to Toronto and Vancouver, which has resulted in the existence of many different societies, appearances and behaviours there.

As for Calgary, mainly professionals who have jobs move here. Those who come have very clear ideas about their career goals. They also earn enough income to meet their financial needs. This makes the society more balanced and steady. Also, there are fewer crimes here. I like Vancouver– it is very beautiful and has good weather, it is nice to visit, but I prefer to live in Calgary.”

Although he found a professional job and stability in less than a year, Taheri thinks skilled immigrants should be patient. They should be prepared for it to take the first two to three years in Canada to gain the same life standards they had back home. Also, he advises newcomers’ spouses to be understanding and all family members to remember why they have left their own countries, relatives and friends. Taheri also recommends new immigrants carefully spend their savings and  avoid taking financial risks in their first years in Canada.

By Lucy Slavianska