You just landed in Canada as a new immigrant, completed your formalities and are about to begin your job search. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind-
- Be open to jobs at a lower level, than the one back home
As some of the immigrants will tell you, looking for a job means keeping yourself open to opportunities. Most of the time, the skills of the new immigrant back home, may not be immediately recognized here in Canada. You may end up finding a lower level job or sometimes starting as an entrant. This is completely OK. Even an entry level job in your field opens up opportunities that you did not have before.
- Capitalize on the free resources: Get Smart
There are many organizations in Canada that are actively helping new immigrants attune themselves to the Canadian industry, and teach them strategies, skills and offer services that would help them. This can involve resume development, certifications, job search strategies, workplace culture, etc. Some of these organizations are settlement agencies like SOPA, ACCESS and even the Toronto Public Library. Surprisingly, some of the immigrants are ignorant about these agencies, and fail to utilize these FREE services. It can takes months before people realize that they have been writing their resume wrong or targeting the wrong type of jobs.
- Be motivated for a long pursuit
Job search in Canada for a new immigrant, can be a monumental task depending on your background. While IT developers, testers, and other specialized skill-based professionals, find employment quickly, generalists like Project Managers, Supply Chain Managers, Business Analysts, etc. can struggle endlessly.
Job search in Canada requires at least 5 to 6 months of relentless pursuit and patience. People here apply to more than 200–250 companies and land 4–5 interviews. Depending on the time you land, and the hiring budget available with companies, it can take a few weeks before you receive your first call. Its easy to get disheartened as the months go by. The trick is to persevere.
- Network a lot
Networking is the #1 way of successfully landing a job. And is also the #1 thing that most immigrants from Asian/African countries are shy about. Our cultures make us inherently resistant to sporadic networking, and is something everyone needs to work on. Connecting with people on LinkedIn, Trade Fairs, Industry forums, is the best way of understanding the ground realities and knowing where the opportunities lie. (Drops standard quote: more than 80% of jobs are not advertised)
- Bring sufficient money to remain stress free
Some immigrants don’t move with funds to last them the grueling 5–6 months of job search. They end up giving into odd jobs or moving back home. Bring sufficient money with you to help you prepare for the long job search.
- Entry level >>> Survival jobs
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your preferred job may expect you to bring in Canadian experience. One of the best ways of doing this is to start at an entry level. People often get stuck here thinking that entry level jobs demean them or hinder their career paths. However, what most people don’t know is that,
- you don’t have to do it forever. Having built good references, you can move to a different job where your entry level job carries important experience weight. (6–8 months)
- you can grow quickly within the same organization to a higher post than what you were back home. (1–2 years)
I have known people who took the chance, and found themselves quickly moving towards their desired roles within a few months.
- Connect with friends/family and consultants
If you are one of the few people who have friends or family already in Canada, then reach out to them and ask to be referred in their company. (if it’s a fit, of course) Most of the time, a strong referral comes through. The same logic applies if your spouse just got a job, then can refer you in their company. This is real, and it works. You can also connect with recruitment consultants who can help you find the right job, provided your skills are in demand. Companies like Randstad, Robert Half, Procom, are consultancies that can help you.
- Continuing Education
If you ever feel blindsided by your education, you can always pick up courses from a college or university in your field of specialization. This will not just improve your resume, but will also give you the opportunity to network and connect with the industry.
- The final frontier: Reskilling
Sometimes, a smarter way out would be to go back to the drawing board, reassess current skills and explore reskilling options, or at least switch industries without changing the profile.
The good news is that most of the people, agencies are super friendly and everyone wants you to succeed. In the long run, the success stories far outweigh the failures.