By Gautam Viswanathan
A priority for many newcomers to Canada is to find work so as to provide a good life for themselves and their families. That can take time, and many might not know where to begin. Also, tackling everything at once can be overwhelming. So, why not get a headstart? There is plenty you can do before you arrive in Canada, such as reading this very handy guide that will serve as a roadmap for your Canadian journey.
1. Register for pre-arrival services from overseas
Soon-to-arrive immigrants and their families can avail of pre-arrival services funded by the Government of Canada to help them settle into the country. There are organizations that will help you search for jobs, learn about Canadian workplace culture, or even find a mentor to guide you. There is also free assistance on offer across specific professions.
A number of other settlement agencies are available to provide you with a broader perspective of living in Canada, as well as preparing for life in the country.
2. See if your job is in high demand in Canada
While Canada does require skilled workers, some jobs are more in demand than others, as is the case in any country. For instance, there are several opportunities in skilled trades across construction, transportation, manufacturing, and many others.
The best place for you to start your search would be the Job Bank site which provides you with plenty of openings to pick through. You can get deep insights into the labour market in terms of job outlook for the future, reports on individual sectors, and even reports on sectors in demand across Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. The Job Bank also contains skills in demand, based on location and profession.
3. Hone the required skills and polish your language capabilities
Depending on your profession, there are going to be certain skills that are prioritized by employers in Canada. If possible, invest in upskilling. There are free courses online and certifications that one can complete. LinkedIn, too, offers a wide range of courses. Or, you could enroll in a suitable short-term course for internationally-trained professionals offered by Canadian colleges and universities.
Candidates who speak both of Canada’s official languages (English and French) are at an advantage when it comes to finding work. With either being essential in all aspects of daily life, taking a professional language course in your country of residence is an advantage. You can take a free online self-assessment language test to assess your language capabilities. Quebec also provides a free online French course to people migrating to that part of Canada.
4. Grow and expand your professional network
A well-developed network of people who can help you find work is vital in Canada. Your LinkedIn profile says a lot about you – it is a one-stop shop for people to find out who you are as a professional. So, make sure it’s updated with your latest roles and achievements.
Use LinkedIn to connect with people in your field and put you in touch with those better suited to helping you find work. A nifty little trick is to change the location on your profile to your intended destination in Canada a few weeks before you actually fly out. This will provide you with recommendations for people in and around your target location.
Besides networking and job search, LinkedIn can also be a great tool when it comes to searching for a mentor. Also, search for a professional association in your field – there are several organizations that represent specific occupations and communities across Canada and share a wealth of information about the sector with its members.
5. Learn about Canadian work culture
Understanding your colleagues, and attitudes at work is a very important step for you to thrive in Canada over the long term. A combination of both the little things like personal space and eye contact, as well as more significant practices such as the right dress code, teamwork, and punctuality, will go a long way in integrating you into the workplace and Canadian society. Adapting to the Canadian workplace culture is also key to being able to advance one’s career.
6. Prepare your resume and relevant documents
Crucial to landing an interview with a company and securing a job in Canada is the format of your resume and cover letter. Your resume should quantify your major achievements, be in an easily readable font, and be concise and to the point. Similarly, when writing a cover letter, it must address the most important requirements highlighted for a particular job. Some of the most desired “soft skills” or traits in an employee that companies are looking for are often listed under the ‘nice to have’ section of their job description.
Pre-arrival organizations will guide you on how to write a Canadian-format resume that includes keywords relevant to the role you’re seeking. An alternative would be to hit up a professional agency that offers more boutique services for a price.
Make sure you also secure reference letters from your current and former employers, before heading to Canada, as companies will use them to verify your work experience. A reference letter must contain the name, title, and contact details of the person who wrote it for you.
7. Before you arrive in Canada, read up about immigrant life here
Finding a job is definitely a big ask, as is the balancing act of securing a home and getting settled into starting a new life. And when it comes to that, there’s nothing more useful than learning from the lived experiences of other immigrants. Your pre-arrival service provider, mentor, as well as friends and former colleagues who’ve moved to Canada would also be able to help you make informed decisions. The more other aspects of your life are sorted, the better you’ll be able to focus on your job search.
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