By Stephanie Santos
Employment is one of the most important things newcomers want to secure when starting life in a new country. As you prepare to move to Canada, many of you will enter the labour market and may come across the term “Canadian experience.” Although this is considered illegal, employers continue to find ways to discriminate against new immigrants who do not possess Canadian education and/or training. This is not to say that your education and experience from back home won’t help in the job search process. There are ways to address this concept of the Canadian experience and convince your potential employer that you’d be a great fit for their organization.
What do employers mean by Canadian experience?
In most cases, employers want to make sure that you are familiar with the Canadian workplace culture and work environment. Workplaces vary across the world, so what’s normal in some countries may not be the case in Canada. Fret not! There are many workshops available that will explain things like workplace etiquette and expectations, and give you an overview of the Canadian workplace culture. You can even start to learn these things before arriving in Canada by watching our webinars and videos.
Here’s how to tackle it in your job search
- Have your educational credentials assessed and translated: Some employers may not know how to evaluate your degrees and certifications from back home. Therefore providing a credential evaluation will be helpful for them to understand its Canadian equivalency and may speed up the job search process. In addition, keep in mind that if your profession is regulated in Canada you may require firsthand Canadian experience, and will need to register with the appropriate regulatory body.
- Volunteer to get experience in Canada: When you volunteer in Canada, it can be a great opportunity to develop new skills and practice existing ones. Having this experience on your resume will show employers that you are making an effort to learn what it’s like to be in a professional Canadian setting. Moreover, not only will volunteering help you gain experience but will also help you start building your professional network in Canada. As a newcomer, this is very important because you never know who you can meet and connect you to a job.
- Enroll in Canadian education: Bridging programs and certificates are also a great option for newcomers looking to get into their desired field. Similar to volunteering, showcasing that you have some sort of Canadian education may give you an advantage when applying for jobs in this country. Many universities and employment organizations will offer bridging programs for internationally trained professionals. You can also think about enrolling in certificate and professional development courses if you are looking to upgrade your skills.
Note: You don’t have to have completed the specific Canadian education to put it on your resume. For example, if you are enrolled in a year-long certificate program, you can list the year you started and the expected completion date. It would still show employers that you are taking the initiative to gain some sort of Canadian experience.
As you do what you can to overcome the Canadian experience barrier, rest assured that there are many other factors besides local education and/or training that employers take into consideration when hiring a candidate for a job.
This article is sponsored by Next Stop Canada, an online pre-arrival program delivered by the YMCA of Greater Toronto funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Learn more and register at www.nextstopcanada.ca.