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3 Qualities Job-Seekers Must Have

Canadian Flag on Parliament Hill
Canadian Flag on Parliament Hill

Welcome to the “How To… Find A Job In Canada” series!

Saying that last year wasn’t great economically speaking is an understatement. Pretty much all countries worldwide suffered from the global economic downturn and Canada was no exception. Yet, a lot of people are still considering moving to Canada, while others are already in the process and are probably worried about whether they will get a job at all.

There is no easy answer when it comes to employment. You know the story… a bit of patience, a bit of skills, a bit of luck.

I’m not a job counselor, and I’m not an expert. But I do know how it works in Canada and I’m hoping to pass along some information that may not be obvious to everyone. A post will be published every Saturday… enjoy!

To end this series, I’d like to highlight three qualities job-seekers should develop to cope with the job-hunting process.

Patience

By definition, most immigrants are quite patient: after all, most of us waited for quite a while before being granted the permanent residence!

But once again, you must show patience when looking for your first job in Canada. It may have looked very easy on paper, but in reality, most people don’t find a position equivalent to the one they left at home for a while.

This can be very frustrating, especially for immigrants who have been selected on the basis of their skills and education. But try to take it one step at the time and realize that everybody have been through the same problems.

You can choose one of several strategies to achieve your goals:

  • If you are financially strapped, stop putting pressure on yourself to find the dream job and settle temporarily for a lower-position. This will allow you to gain some experience in Canada, receive some income and learn about the culture.
  • If you have enough money to survive for a while without working, consider taking a class. For instance, a language class (such as business English) or some training related to your field. Some Canadian education is appreciated on your resume and you may meet people and start networking.
  • Volunteering is also a great option for those who want to network and gain Canadian experience.

Anyhow, you may also look at the general economic situation before starting blaming yourself for failure. Right now, a lot of qualified people with experience are having trouble finding positions. But it will be over soon… or so we are being told!

Willingness to learn

How you did things at home doesn’t matter: what matters is how things are done in Canada. This is the harsh truth. You may indulge in “it was better at home” evenings of complaining with your expat or immigrant friends. But while it may be good to release some frustration, it won’t help you fit in.

Canadians are quite welcoming and the country is multicultural. This does not mean that Canadian always makes it easy for foreigner to enter the job market. There is the “Canadian experience catch 22”. The fact that your degree may not be recognized. That your foreign experience may be seen as irrelevant.

At this point, you may decide to give up. Yet, showing willingness to learn and to adapt really helps. The main mistake to avoid is to be this annoying newcomer who always complains about how things are done in Canada, and how great was “home”, wherever home is. People have very little patience for this kind of attitude.

You can try to find a “mentor”, for example another immigrant who have been there for a while, or an helpful local who will be able to fill you in. You can also observe the way people interact, who gets promoted and why etc. to learn more about work culture in Canada. You can even do some research online, by reading expats forums!

Flexibility

Flexibility is a key word in North America: it . It sums up your ability to change career and tackle new challenges, you ability to adapt to a wide range of situation and to fit in.

North America, by definition, is a flexible society where things change fast. Some provinces or states boom while other crash, and one day the economy is up, one day it’s down. It’s common to change position every few years to improve and to tackle new challenges. People even often have several careers and it’s not rare to start in a totally different field more than once in your life.

The more flexible you become, the easier it will be to fit in. So if you can’t find a job in your field, consider taking classes to update your knowledge, or move to a different field altogether. You may also reach your goals through a different way, such as setting up your own company!

I hope you found the series useful. Have you found a job already? Let me know if my advices helped you!

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