How To Find A Job In Canada (7/10)

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Welcome To Canada! Welcome to my new “How To… Canada” series! In this series, I’ll try to put my knowledge to good use and shed some light on my new country: Canada. You will learn how some immigration tips and tricks, how to improve your proficiency in both official languages, how to find a job, how to settle in Canada etc. I’ll publish a new “How To… Canada” post every Saturday.

As a newcomer in Canada, you will probably need to get a job as soon as you can: settling in a new country is expensive. But going job-hunting can be an intimidating task. Here are a few tips to help you find a job in Canada.

Your first goal should be to be assessed:

  • Have your documents translated: if your work-related documents (such as degrees, certifications etc.) are not in French or English, you will need to have them professionally translated (for Ontario, you can use the Canada International Translation Services).
  • Get your credentials assessed: you may need to have your credentials (certificate, diploma, degree) assessed by an organization. Unfortunately, this is not free… But on the other side, it will demonstrate how your education compares in Canada and will “speak” to your employers. WES (World Educational Services) and the University of Toronto Comparative Education Service offer such services.You can get a list of credential assessment services here.
  • Have a language assessment: if French or English is not your mother tongue, it’s a good idea to get a free assessment. You need to be comfortable enough to express yourself in a foreign language all day long at work! If you feel you could benefit from some classes, Canada has some great language programs for immigrants, and best of all, most of them are free (see Learning French Or English). Note as well that Canada has two official languages: French and English. Depending where you settle, you may have to speak English only, French only (Quebec)… or both (Ottawa)! Read more in Canadianism (s): French & English.

All set? You are now ready to get your first Canadian experience! This can be a bit of a catch 22 for newcomers, since you need a first experience in Canada to get a job, but you need a job to have your first experience… you can however use these tips to overcome this:

  • Use a staffing agency (also called temp agency or placement agency): they can be quite helpful to newcomers for different reasons: first, they are deal with newcomers everyday and will most likely accept the fact that you don’t have experience in Canada. Second, a lot of these agencies will test your language proficiency, computer abilities etc. onsite, so you will know where you stand. And finally, they will deal with your future employer on your behalf, which can makes things easier if you don’t know the Canadian job culture much yet. The downside of these agencies is that even though they offer their service free of charge for job seekers, your average salary tend to be lower than if you would have applied to jobs directly yourself (that is because employers pay the agencies a commission). Besides, most of the agencies offer entry-level positions in very generic fields (call centers, customer service positions). That said, a few agencies focus on specific fields (IT, medical) and if you are qualified, you may find a great position. Start with reputable agencies such as Manpower, Ranstad, Adecco etc. and never ever pay a fee to register (scam!).
  • Be open-minded: if you have a lot of experience working in a specific field in your home country, job-hunting in Canada may look depressing at first. Having all your foreign credentials assessed and recognized takes time and you may even have to take additional classes to work in your field. Thousands of immigrants have the same problem every year and our government is well aware of it. Meanwhile, keep an open-mind and look for a first paid experience in Canada, even if it’s not in your field or in a position lower than your previous one.

So, where would you find job opportunities in Canada? Most Canadian find a job through those three mediums:

  • Newspapers: they usually have a weekly “classified” section with a lot of mostly local job opportunities.
  • Job websites: they can be either general, either focused on a specific field. A few reputable websites include:  Nice Job, Workopolis, Working.com, Job Bank, HCareers (hospitality jobs), Construction Jobs Center (construction), CanadaIT (IT jobs), CTen (engineering and related), Health Care Jobs, Canadian Nurse, Retail
  • Networking: in Canada’s private sector, there is a huge “hidden market”. You will hear about these vacancies that are not advertised through people you know — that is networking. The best way to network is to get to know people in your field and to keep in touch!

By the time you finished this article, you should have gotten your first job interview already! So on D-Day, remember a few things:

  • Personnel screening: some employers may ask if you have a a reliabily status, a security clearance or even request a credit report. Reliability status and security clearance and usually asked when applying for a position in (or related to) the government and you will need to give personal informations for it to be processed. An authorization to access your credit report may be asked if you will be handling money or be placed in a position of financial trust.
  • Bring references: Canadians loves them! Most employers will ask for references, that is the information (name, email address, phone number) of (usually 3) people you worked with. It doesn’t need to be a former manager, it can also be a former co-worker, a fellow student etc. These people will be contacted and asked a few questions about you (are you reliable, what are your assets etc.). Make sure your references know they can be contacted!
  • Prove you have the right to work in Canada: do bring your Permanent Resident card, your SIN card, a copy of your work permit etc. Canadian employers do check if you have a legal right to work in Canada.

Good luck and remember: it takes time to get the position of your dream! As a newcomer, you have a lot of assets and skills but fitting in a new job market requires a bit of patience.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

18 Comments

  1. This is very helpful and educational. I would like to start out by visiting Canada. I loved Quebec when I traveled there as a child. All I can remember about it now is Restaurant Marie Antoinette’s for some odd reason. 🙂

  2. Of all the places I have travelled in the world, Canada has always been the one that I can see myself living in. I totally fell in love with it on my first visit and have been back several times since. One day I really do hope I can move there, and will definitely be seeking your words of wisdom my friend!

    I hope you are well and having a wonderful weekend.

    Warmest wishes ~ Graham xx

  3. @beaverboosh – Well, the thing is, there aren’t that many jobs in time of crisis… Okay, I’m too pessimistic.

    @Brenda – I hope it can help! It sure will be a great experience for your husband, I’m sure you will give him many tips too.

    @Scarlet – Québec is beautiful, but next time, stop in Ontario as well 😉

    @Graham – And Canada is also a fairly easy place to move, especially when you are from Western Europe or the States. It is a culture shock but at least, we speak the language!

    @Eric “Speedcat Hollydale” – Oh, I wish I could do that but I’m not that good at marketing myself. I need some tips from you it seems!

  4. the most important thing when looking for employment is to smile and be genuinely interested in getting a job. you want to give the prospective employer a reason to ‘take a chance’ on you.
    if you get an interview, be sure to tell them you want the job, and that they won’t be disappointed. you’d be surprised how many people go to interviews and neglect to say that.
    nice posting zhu!

  5. Salut Zhu,
    This so great that you run these helpful articles. I hope that in a few years time, someone will write you and tell you that it really made a difference.
    No better advice than the one already lived by someone.
    My hubby said that he would readily move to Montreal and he doesn’t care if there is that Winter ( I do !). But, we are not in our 20’s anymore and I think that her’s just doing wishful thinking.

    You take care.

  6. This is so interesting but the standard of living in Canada is pretty high and for people like us (Asian) we might be at a disadvantage ya.

    Still, I find this to be a very useful post for people seeking employment in Canada, thankyou Zhu 😀

  7. Very comprehensive, Zhu! I’ve had incredibly good results using agencies. All my employment in the last 10 years has been through headhunters, although I did try other avenues such as job websites.

  8. @Seraphine – You’re absolutely right! And I think this attitude comes with experience… it took me a lot of interview before I was truly comfortable.

    @Annie – Anytime, anytime… any news BTW for the big work trip across the Ocean? One of my student is Indian right now, she is trying to teach me Bengali… without much luck 😆

    @barbara – Immigrating is a huge decision… and I guess you already made the move once, so it’s good! I really hope it can help. I didn’t have much info when I arrived here and I missed it.

    @shionge – I don’t know actually, I had always assumed that Singapore had a pretty high standard of living! It is hard… even harder for refugees.

    @Khengsiong – Not that much actually, if you’re legal, just a copy of your PR card is enough. Canada has a lot of immigrants, employers are used to us!

    @Gail at Large – I used agencies for quite a while myself and it helped me a lot of get experience.

  9. Hi thanks for the tips. I’m planning to
    apply for a resident visa to move to Canada next year. I’m gathering all the info I can, yours is really helpfull.

    merci/gracias/thanks

  10. if I study english Literature and french Literature what the job I get please may old 24 and I have to find some thing I study and think you very much

  11. Hi Zhu,

    Thanks for starting this blog…I have applied for Canadian immigration and waiting for the process to be completed. I wonder if you could help me out on a few points.

    1. How expensive is personal internet connections in Canada (i.e. unlimited upload and download connectivity).
    2. What is the minimum cost of a personal computer/laptop in Canadian dollars.
    3. How much does one need to earn monthly to live a decent life in Canada…I hope Canada is not too expensive.

    Looking forward to your reply…thanks in advance. 🙂

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