Navigating the Job Market as a New Immigrant in Canada
Hiring foreign talent not only helps to address labour shortages, but it also helps to fill roles in key sectors of the economy.
Immigrant serving-organizations across the country provide newcomers with employment support and professional networking and mentorship opportunities.
There are various benefits you may want to know about when choosing to pursue employment in Canada. Some of these include:
- Employee Benefits: Legislated employee benefits in provinces and regions across Canada include Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Workplace Insurance Coverage, vison care, and paid time off.
- Permanent Residency: Employment may also put you in an advantageous position when seeking permanent residency in Canada.
So, how should you navigate the Canadian job market?
The first step to finding a job is to research employers and companies that are hiring to identify positions that match your knowledge, skills and experience. You can use online resources such as LinkedIn, Indeed, as well as other social media forums to find open positions that align with your career goals and salary expectations. Conducting research on employer profiles and services they offer relevant to the position is also useful when writing cover letters and attending interviews.
Some resources to consider: Newcomers to Canada - Job Bank
- As part of the Canadian government website, employers can post job openings for newcomers to view. However, also note that this is a venue for employers to place hiring ads for LMIA purposes.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn is the best way to stay up to date on current discussions in your industry, network with professionals in your prospective field, and search for jobs on the site. Having a LinkedIn profile also helps employers research job applicants and conduct background checks.
Indeed - Like LinkedIn, job seekers have free access to post resumes and view a comprehensive list of job opportunities according to date posted, salary expectations, location, company and experience level. Indeed is user friendly with access to articles that advise on interviewing, resume writing, cover letters, as well as setting salary expectations.
Monster - Monster is another job site that allows you to search for jobs and filter your results based on location, salary, and job title. Job seekers can create a profile for employers to get in touch with them.
Networking with friends, family members or professionals who immigrated to Canada can make it easier to understand the application process better, receive a recommendation, and land a job faster. Finding local networking events or job fairs on sites such as Eventbrite is useful because you can meet employers, create contacts and tap into the job market.
Tailor your resume to the Canadian job market
The next step on an immigrant’s employment journey is to create a Canadian style resume that will attract Canadian recruiters. It’s important to adapt your resume to each role by tailoring your skills to match the specific requirements advertised in the job posting. You should generally ensure your resume speaks to at least 60-70% of the bullet sections in a job advertisement. It’s best to keep your resume 1-2 pages in length so it grabs the reader’s attention. You should never include your gender, date of birth, age, ethnicity or marital status. You can include volunteer experience if it relates to the job you are applying for and Canadian references to prove you’re familiar with Canada’s professional standards and languages.
A Canadian resume includes the following elements:
Header: Include your full name, email, and phone number. For creative roles, you can attach links to a professional website or online portfolio.
Skills and competencies: This section allows you to highlight the skills you bring to the position you are applying for.
Professional accomplishments: Add work experience related to the job you are applying for, including the accomplishments you earned in each role.
Academic achievements: Include any academic achievements, with the most recent accomplishments at the top of the list. Convert academic grades to the Canadian equivalent. For example, converting high school grades to GPA.
Tailor your cover letter
When tailoring your cover letter, it’s best to ensure you are not repeating information mentioned in your resume. Your cover letter should mention the name of the hiring manager at the top of the page and should not go beyond one page in length. A cover letter should complement your resume with an introductory paragraph explaining why you are interested in the position. You should also include a short description of why your skills and experience make you a good fit for the job and how your experience aligns with the requirements for the role.
There are many community agencies that help newcomers with writing a resume and cover letter. To find services in your area, go to Services Near me (settlement.org).
Use social media
Many hiring professionals use social media to screen candidates prior to employment. Employers are most likely to check your LinkedIn profile to cross reference your resume with your online presence. However, they can still check other social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Tik Tok. To showcase positive personality traits beyond your resume, ensure your public social media profiles are appropriate for the workplace.
How to update and optimize your LinkedIn profile
Because LinkedIn is considered a secondary resume, employers will most likely check your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you even if you did not apply for a job through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the best way to connect with other professionals in your industry. In order to optimize your LinkedIn profile, you should include a professional high-quality headshot as your profile picture, a summary of who you are and what you do, relevant work experience and education, LinkedIn recommendations from previous employers, as well as your contact information.
Preparing for an interview
Doing well on a job interview can be difficult, especially when adjusting to a new country and work culture. To be prepared for a job interview it’s best to study the job description and frame your skills within the employer’s expectations. If your interview is virtual, check your internet connectivity and confirm that your camera and microphone are in working order. Many questions in Canadian styled interviews are behavioural based where employers expect to hear stories on how you acted in a specific situation. Use LinkedIn or Indeed to research common interview questions to better prepare for answering behavioural-based questions. To stand out from other applicants, it’s best to send an email to the interviewer after the interview is complete thanking them for the opportunity. Applying to jobs can be a taxing process, but do not lose hope if employers do not reach out to you right away.
Resources: How do I create a Canadian-style resume in order to find a job? (settlement.org)
How To Find a Job in Canada in 7 Steps (Plus FAQs) | Indeed.com
How to find a job if you are a new immigrant to Canada | Canada Immigration News (cicnews.com)
Find Jobs in Canada: A Guide for Newcomers | Canadavisa.com