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Administrative assistant helping a manager.

The employment and job requirements for administrative assistants usually require completion of secondary school and a one- or two-year college program. In addition to completing a program for administrative assistants (or another related program) previous clerical experience is also helpful. This role is a non-regulated profession in Canada so you do not need a license. Learn about job requirements, job search strategies, interview techniques and more!

Administrative assistants can become a member of the Association of Administrative Professionals. The association helps its members with skill development and growth to enhance job opportunities and contributions to both the workplace and community.

Before You Move to Canada

There are steps that you can take before you move to Canada that can help you prepare to work in your field and even find a job faster when you arrive:

  • Research the Canadian job market to get a sense of the labour market.
  • Improve your language skills and enroll in language classes while in your home country and continue them after you move to Canada.
  • Contact the local (or nearest) branch of the Association of Administrative Professionals in the city where you’ll settle in Canada and enquire about the employment process in Canada for your profession.
  • Gather and organize your official education, work and identity documents while still in your home country. Find out what documents you need to bring for employment purposes or to continue your education. Verify if any documents need to be translated. You may need to use a professional translation service in Canada.
  • Understand how the profession of administrative professionals is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with the procedures, laws, and legislation that govern the business sector in the province where you will settle.
  • Know the name of your job in Canada and make a list of potential employers.
Learn all about how to find a job in Canada

1. Understanding Administrative Assistant Job Requirements

To help you prepare for your job search, it’s helpful to understand the nature of the job and the specific skills that Canadian employers seek. This will involve some basic research.

Research Administrative Assistant Job Requirements

To start your research, you can view the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. The NOC provides a standard definition of jobs in Canada. This five-digit code is used by various groups, including job seekers such as you.

The NOC for administrative assistants is NOC 13110. You can use this information to learn about the nature of the job duties, example titles and employment requirements. While the job title for NOC 13110 is Administrative Assistant, when searching for jobs in Canada, you will find other titles for the same role. You can use these other titles when you search for jobs in Canada and expand your search efforts.

NOC 13110 Administrative assistants

If you have specialized experience, you may also want to refer to these NOCs:

2. Employment for Administrative Assistants in Canada

Job prospects for administrative assistants vary across Canada. So it’s best to explore provincial job prospects to assess where there the outlook is good.

Province and territory job prospects for administrative assistants
Province and territory job prospects can be: Undetermined, Limited, Fair or Good

You can even explore future job prospects in local regions when you click on the provincial job prospects links.

Job prospects for administrative assistants in local regions in the province of Ontario.

This detailed information is provided by the Government of Canada Job Bank site and it is a great location to research job prospects, wages, skill requirements, and even search for administrative assistant jobs.

Credential Recognition in Canada

Credential recognition is a process to verify and assess your skills, competencies, and credentials in a fair and consistent manner. While administrative assistants belong to a non-regulated profession in Canada, some employers may ask for an educational assessment. Mostly though, employers will assess your skills, knowledge and experience and contact your professional references. So, before you spend money to get your credentials evaluated, find out if the company that you are applying to requires an assessment.

Related Post:

How Do Education Evaluation and Credential Recognition Differ? (Infographic)

Credential Assessment Services  

You may also require an educational assessment if you plan to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills or continue your education in Canada. However, before you pay for an assessment, contact the school that you plan to attend to find out what they require and the credential assessment service that you should use. Some schools may have a preferred service provider.

When you get an educational assessment be sure to highlight your international education and skills. You may be able to receive advanced standing, transfer some of your credits, and benefit from prior learning assessment options. If you are able to gain credit or course exemptions, you can avoid repeating the education you already have, or you may shorten the amount of time required to complete courses. It’s important to build on your existing knowledge and skills and explore your options carefully before you decide that you need to return to school.

Several agencies assess international education credentials to help newcomers to Canada access the education and employment they need including:

To find more credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here.

Best Locations for Administrative Assistant Jobs

Most Canadian cities offer employment opportunities in the administrative sector. However, when looking for jobs, broaden your geographic area to include smaller cities and towns close to the city where you plan to live. For example, if you intend to work in Toronto, you might find a job opportunity in nearby Hamilton, which is less than an hour’s drive from there.

Research and find out where there is demand for your area of the profession in Canada and accordingly decide where you want to settle.

Major Employers

You can visit Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to check for immigrant-friendly corporations and organizations that you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

3. Upgrading Your Skills for Administrative Assistant Jobs

Canadian employers place a high value on soft skills, such as personal attributes that enhance your interactions, job performance, and career prospects. Unlike your hard skills, you can apply your soft skills broadly.

Soft skills, such as communication, coordination, and sociability, are even more important for administrative assistants. That’s why identifying areas in your soft skills that need improvement is crucial. If your hard skills will get you an interview, most probably it is your soft skills that will get you the job and enable you to succeed.

Though not a must, upgrading your education and skills through a bridging program or other courses and workshops may be an important part of your journey to becoming a successful administrative assistant in Canada.

Upgrading Your Language Skills

Adults enjoying language classes
You may be eligible for the free Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program.

Administrative assistants require strong communication skills, document management, note-taking, presentation, proofreading, report compilation and writing, organizational ability, time management, and software expertise. Having strong communication skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages, English or French, is also important for your career success. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you intend to live.

You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable English as a Second Language or French as Second Language classes through local school boards or settlement agencies.

There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. If you are in Toronto, the Toronto District Board of School offers a fourteen-week Enhanced Language Training program focusing on Customer Service & Administration for immigrant women.

And, if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better job opportunities.


Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some even want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D. or MBA. Read more about the benefits of higher education for newcomers.

4. Job Search Techniques for Administrative Assistants

The Canadian job market can be competitive, so you need to prepare and understand the job search process.

You must look for jobs in the region where you will settle. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work. There are many ways that you can search for jobs. These helpful tips are important actions that you can take to propel your job search:

  • Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors.
  • Seek out a mentor who currently works in your field who could share their insights and introduce you to their professional network.
  • Join job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant settlement agencies.
  • Attend industry job fairs and regularly check online job boards.
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Connect with Settlement Agencies

Finding administrative assistant jobs in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help to find jobs, update your resume, write a cover letter and prepare for interviews.

Most settlement agencies offer free job search services before and after you arrive in Canada. Read more about the services that settlement agencies provide and how you can benefit.

Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.

Build Your Professional Network

Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular firm or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing physiotherapists and others in your field.

Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and industry get-togethers for the convenience of meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.

LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, searching by company or jobs, and getting introductions and recommendations. You can also join some related professional groups.

But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.

Learn about the Job Environment by Conducting Informational Interviews

An informational interview with a contact from your network can be a great source of career information. The purpose of this brief 20 – 30-minute meeting is to speak with someone who currently works in the position or industry that you would like to learn more about.

An informational interview can help you to gather valuable and professional insights. And, you gain benefits by speaking with someone who can share their thoughts and first-hand experience. You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather research and learn more about a position, company, or industry.

Write a Strong Resume for Administrative Assistant Jobs

When you write your resume it’s important to tailor it for the specific job that you are applying for. When you can show how your skills and experience match the job requirements, employers will have an easier time discovering your resume. Here are some essential tips to write a winning administrative assistance resume:

Use the Job Description to Tailor Your Resume

Using a generic resume for all administrative jobs is not effective. It’s more effective to carefully review the job description and emphasize how your skills match the job requirements. Use bullet points to describe your related responsibilities and successful outcomes.

Highlight Your Technical Skills

Employers want to know at a glance which technical skills you possess. To do this, you can include a line that says “Experienced with” and then list all applicable software programs and equipment.

Do Your Research

It’s important to showcase the skills that employers are searching for. One way to do that is to review administrative assistant job postings. Identify the skills that employers value and require.

You can use your network as well to find the names of current administrative assistants; you may check their LinkedIn profile or any other presence they may have on professional websites or in directories to know about their skills and previous experience. This way you can compare your capabilities with those of current employees.

As a newcomer, you bring your international experience to the table. This is especially valuable when you apply to companies that have global operations. So be sure to highlight your international experience.

Types of Resumes that are Common in Canada

Interview Techniques and Tips for Administrative Assistants

When interviewing for an administrative assistant job in Canada, be sure to ask specifically what the job entails. Admin jobs range from answering phones, scheduling appointments and setting up virtual meeting rooms to charting budgets, purchasing merchandise and troubleshooting software problems. Your pay, roles and duties as an administrative assistant vary greatly depending on the industry and location.

Be Professional

Communication is your primary role as an administrative assistant. Be it on the phone, in person or through e-mail, you must be well-mannered and articulate. Be sure to present yourself in a professional manner before, during, and after the interview.


While some companies have receptionists, others rely on the administrative assistant to answer phones and greet clients. Because the company’s administrative assistant may be the first point of contact, it’s crucial to dress professionally to show respect to the company and its clients.

Computer Skills

Talk about your spreadsheet, data management and electronic filing system expertise. Or, if you are interviewing with an advertising company, talk about how your social media skills can help with the company’s online presence. If you are interviewing for a school administrative job, discuss the role of email communication with parents, posting online grades and notices, and electronic bill payment.

Questions you might be asked during an administrative assistant job interview suggested answers and advice for acing an interview.

  • Describe a time when you had to manage multiple projects and how you managed your time.
  • Describe some of the software platforms that you use on a regular basis?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a conflict with a team member.

Remember that a job interview is a two-way street. Do as much research about the company as possible prior to the interview and prepare a few questions ahead of time. If your questions are not answered during the interview, ask them at the end of the interview.

5. Administrative Assistant Associations in Canada

The following associations can provide information and offer professional development, education and networking opportunities.


Association of Administrative Professionals

This association has branches in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada.

Immigrant Networks

Professional Immigrant Networks (PINS) are organized associations or networks created by and for immigrant professionals that seek to:

  • Create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities, and
  • Provide their members with opportunities to find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals.

PINS can provide networking events, mentoring, information sessions, professional development, and connections to job opportunities.

Nova Scotia

isans: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia: helps newcomer professionals with their full economic and social integration in the province of Nova Scotia.


Professional Immigrant Networks (TRIEC)

For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!