The Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country.
You have to be registered to practice as a lawyer in a province or territory. You must look for jobs in the region where you will be registered.
Take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work.
There are many ways through which you can search for jobs in the legal sector.
- Join legal job-finding or networking clubs through the immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend career/job fairs for the legal sector.
- Seek out a mentor in the legal sector who would give you valuable insights and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Have a strong and active presence on social media channels like LinkedIn. Join legal groups, where you can contribute content, ask questions, build connections and also study how lawyers are doing in Canada.
Immigrant settlement agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.
Besides your name and contact information, your resume should begin with a brief profile on you and your legal experience. Be sure to highlight any bar admissions you have at the top of your resume. The legal experience section of your legal resume should be separate from your work history section. Writing your resume in this way will highlight your experience and help potential legal employers retain information about your achievements and transferable skills.
After your work history and education sections, make sure to list any associations you are a member of as well as work you’ve done within the legal community.
It is recommended that in your legal resume you use the active voice, as it makes your resume easy to read. The same applies also to your legal experience, representative cases, and legal community involvement sections, where you are advised to use active verbs.
Today’s legal job market is tough, and there is a lot of competition out there.
That means that you have to interview exceedingly well to give yourself even a decent shot at employment.
Think of what questions the employer might ask, and answer them. Then practice your answers continuously, out loud.
Prepare for your interview by knowing your answers to some of the most commonly asked interviewing questions.
- What interests you in this law firm / organization?
- What sets you apart from your peers?
- What are your strengths?
- What goals have you set for yourself?
- In what areas of your profession do you excel?
- Describe a project or situation that best describes your analytical skills.
- Tell me about your most and least successful position.
- What’s important to you in your next position?
And as all firms are not equal, so are interviews. Check to see what does the firm do? What are its specialties? What does it not do? You need to know all these important details. If you do your research, you will avoid major gaffes and will be able to ask intelligent questions that show the employer you have done your homework and are taking the interview seriously. You don’t have to sound like an expert–you just have to sound eager and on the ball.
Don’t forget that all law firms (and companies) are not equal. Some do corporate law, some do litigation. Some are big, some are small. Not to mention how their cultures vary. So try to find out what you can about the firm, and tailor your interview to that. Present yourself in a favorable light but be careful not to unduly embellish your accomplishments. Candidates who stretch the truth do tend to get caught out and you do not want that. Stick with facts. With your right to practice law comes responsibilities, one of which is to hold yourself to a higher standard of ethical behavior. So do it.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in an industry to learn more about that particular industry. You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality.
An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on a company website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
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 lawyers and others in your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and Chamber of Commerce get-togethers for the convenience in 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, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.
You can also mingle with people in the legal sector and 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.