Newcomers know from experience the challenges that you will face when you arrive and begin job searching in Canada. But, based on their journeys, you can gain from their wisdom. Here are five things that newcomers wish they knew or did differently related to their job search efforts.
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 specialise in helping newcomers plan for, and achieve, employment success, no matter what city or province they are moving to.
When it comes to job searching in Canada, Ryan works closely with newcomers who are eager to continue their careers in Canada. Ryan shares what some of the most common issues are that they face and how to overcome them.
5 Things to Know and Do When Job Searching in Canada
1. Get to Know Your Industry
Ryan states that the best way to spend your time is to research your industry and the roles within it. When job searching in Canada, it’s vital to know the industry trends and challenges. When you invest time to research the industry, it helps you to plan job search activities and shape your career in Canada. For example, in addition to identifying trends, it’s also helpful to know:
- The credential recognition path
- What professional development options exist (current and future)
- How your skills and education compare to Canadian standards, and
- How relevant licensing bodies, industry or professional associations can help you with job searching in Canada.
When you know this information it will help you to focus your career-building activities and get the best out of your efforts.
2. Benefit from the Value of Networking
The thing to know here is that “networking is as important as job hunting” says Ryan. She adds that blindly sending out resumes when you first arrive in Canada is not all that effective. Newcomers are often surprised at how important networking is, especially when building an early career in Canada.
Ryan suggests helpful tips such as joining newsfeeds or discussion groups on LinkedIn and:
- Connecting with other professionals in your industry
- Attending relevant industry and association events
- Reaching out authentically to learn about others.
Ryan advises against sending connection requests on LinkedIn for the purpose of ‘asking for a job’. Because as she explains Canadians like to get to know you, your track record and even a little of your life story. It’s the same in the business world, and when people know you, they get to know what you know!
3. Build Connections and Canadian Experience
Another thing that Ryan hears is how newcomers wished they had expanded their communities beyond their friends and family when they arrived. So what exactly does this look like? Well, Ryan shares that newcomers often wished they had spent time getting more ‘Canadian experience’ through:
- Volunteering, and
- Acquiring/challenging credentials.
These are all important ways to help your job search in Canada.
They also wished that they took more time to look for the right work that they truly wanted as opposed to taking work that paid ‘survival’ money. If they had, they would have invested better in their long-term success.
4. Improve Your English Skills
Newcomers often tell Ryan that they should have invested more time using free or low-cost online English as a Second Language (ESL) training and tools. “I couldn’t agree more!” says Ryan. Before you arrive in Canada, it’s important to improve your English language skills. Doing so will dramatically increase your confidence and how you authentically connect with communities and professionals. When you’re confident, it will lead to greater success when job searching in Canada.
5. Plan and Balance Your Job Searching Time
Job searching is stressful. Added to that stress, as a newcomer, you’re busy when you first land in Canada. Searching for work, finding accommodation, navigating transit, setting up basics, and adapting to life in Canada are all time-consuming. Ryan’s advice is to plan your time like a pro. She says, “your best approach is to think of this time in your life as strategic project management. For example, assign an hour each day to job search and research, an hour to logistics and getting settled, and an hour connecting with settlement, professional associations, and employment support services. After that, get out, explore your community and meet people. After all, you came to Canada for a new life. It’s important to make sure it’s as balanced as possible!”
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.