Job prospects in the occupation of optometry are good. However, 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 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 through which you can search for optometrist jobs.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors.
- Seek out a mentor in the optometry sector – for example, a retired optometrist – who would give you valuable insights and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join health care related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend industry job fairs and regularly check the employment sections of your local newspapers.
- Some colleges or associations maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site.
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.
To find immigrant services in your area, click here.
As the Canadian job market is competitive, you need to stand out from other optometrist applicants with your right resume and be able to launch your career in the optometric industry in Canada.
Here are some tips on how to make you stand out among the rest:
- Education should be one of the first items that a potential employer sees on your optometrist resume. Make your resume clear and concise and list the graduating major, years of attendance, and basic coursework completed.
- Potential employers highly value clinical, or hands-on, experience, as well as research. Placing any research experience on your resume will show prospective employers that you have inquiry skills that can contribute to new vision examination processes and improved patient care. You should add specific research details to the optometrist resume clarifying the areas examined, such as glaucoma analysis.
- List your employment history on the resume. Experience not related to the optometry field should be placed near the end of the resume; however, anything related to vision examination, such as volunteering in a doctor’s office, is important experience to showcase above the rest of the experience. You should give a short description of your duties to illustrate the work and your skills.
- List your extracurricular activities near the end of the resume. These should reflect your dedication to the visual practice, like memberships with the optical industry. Any voluntary workshops or supplemental classes should be reflected as well, if they were not directly related to college or optometry school.
- Since the practice of optometry is regulated in Canada; include current licenses and certifications on your resume as well.
Having reached this stage of the selection process, you need to ensure that you prepare well for your interview. Your interview is your chance to demonstrate to your potential employer that you have the right personality, qualifications, experience and relevant proven track record for the role.
You will be asked many different questions at your interview. Some will be standard questions you can easily predict – but other questions may be more unexpected. However, the better you prepare, the better your position, and the greater your confidence. So focus your preparation around what you believe to be the key competencies and skills of the job for which you are applying.
Research your prospective employer before the interview. Go to the practice web site for clues on what is important to the practice, the size of the business, the technical sophistication of the practice, specializations and other details. Ask other optometrists in the community about the reputation, strengths and weaknesses of the practice.
If the practice has an office manager, call in advance and ask questions to fill out your profile of the employer. If you are interviewing for a corporate affiliated position, visit one of the company’s locations in your area and talk to the Manager working there.
Some common interview questions you may hear during interviews:
• What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
• How would your colleagues describe you?
• If you could go back and do something different in your academic career, what would you do?
• Do you prefer working with others or working alone?
• What do you really enjoy doing? What type of work would you rather avoid?
• How would you describe your working style?
• Describe your decision making process.
• What techniques used by good people managers do you think are most essential?
• Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an unreasonable patient. How did you handle the situation?
• Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss. How did you handle the situation?
• Why should we hire you? What do you bring to the practice that it needs?
• Tell me about your career plan. What are your objectives over the next five years? Ten years?
Be prepared to ask a number of questions, when you are given an opportunity for this at the end of your interview. Asking informed questions at this point shows you have a genuine interest in the position.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in your target field and geographic location to learn more about that particular sector.
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 an organization’s 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 optometrists and others in your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and industry 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 join some related professional groups where you can learn more about the profession in Canada, make contacts, and access important resources and job listings. 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.