Finding employment in Canada is certainly the most crucial aspect of settling down and one that can be the most stressing one. A newcomer to Canada is disadvantaged on several fronts, be it the lack of an adequate understanding of the job market, ability to comprehend various cultural nuances and the best way to present oneself. Before we delve any deeper, let us quickly decipher some critical aspects of the employment search here.
The big perspective
Few factors that you should ideally understand even before you plan a major life event like immigration are:
- Demand vs. Supply: This fundamental rule is understood by most but appreciated by those who have spent a few months looking. For example in a market like Toronto, there is a shortage of qualified cyber-security professionals while a bulk of the immigrants trickling in have a finance background. No wonder, you might find local recruiters aggressively scouting for tech talent whereas finance professionals spend most of their time chasing recruiters.
- Your educational background and professional experience: Having a good educational background certainly helps but the Hiring Managers in this part of the geography are not much fixated on such credentials. You have been a stellar performer in you earlier avatar, managing a team of 20 employees and being a zonal head but that may not make your candidature substantially better for any entry level roles. If fact you may be considered more of a flight risk due to your over-qualification for most entry level roles. And getting into roles where you are going to be managing a team is more difficult than you assume. It depends on your industry but if you are going to be managing a cosmopolitan set of employees, chances are that you would not be hired into that position directly. Managers are more comfortable to promote employees from inside the organization who have already demonstrated an ability to work well with others rather than risking newcomers.
- Your networking efforts: By now you would have heard a lot about the importance of networking to get a job in Canada. Networking does not meet going out to meet new people and asking for jobs. There are a few cultural nuances and understanding them certainly improves your chances. Please read more on the Do's and Don'ts of networking in Canada. I also see a lot of candidates asking for referrals in forums like facebook and whatsapp groups. That may work in case you are looking for less competitive roles or have very niche skills highly in demand in Canada. I have the same advice for professionals who are hopeful of landing a job or an interview even before landing in Canada. Why would a Hiring Manager consider such an applicant when there are hundreds of equally qualified professionals available in the local market? Hoping to secure a referral for a corporate finance role by broadcasting in public forums shows your lack of adequate understanding of the job market. Generating a referral is a tedious task and takes a lot of efforts sometimes over months. I do not discourage reaching out to potential mentors even before you land here. But you may want to hold on to that thought of asking for a referral sitting back in India.
Most job applications expect a resume in a Canadian format along with a Cover Letter. This is a topic that merits a lot of focused discussion in a separate article. As of now I can only direct you to another portal to download a sample Cover Letter and a Resume.
How to search for a job
Canada is a developed country with a slow rate of growth for most mature sectors and hence new opportunities are hard to come by. Depending upon your profession, you should be prepared for at least a 3-6 months struggle. Otherwise you might end up taking a role much below your potential succumbing to the pressures to sustain yourself. Toronto is a very expensive city and it becomes difficult to find a place to stay even if you are willing to pay. Coming back to our topic, some quick tips while hunting for employment can be:
- Reach out to recruiters: A lot of large companies employ the services of a recruitment agency to find talent. Especially for non-front end roles or in areas where there is a shortage of talent. There are a lot of such agencies but here are a few of them which have a strong focus on finance: Randstad, Robert Half, Lannick, Vlaad & Co. Find out which recruiter specializes in roles related to your domain and reach out to them through a call or a schedule a personal meet.
- Master LinkedIn: Complete and polish your LinkedIn profile and start reaching out and connecting to people in your domain. Reach out for a coffee chat wherein you can get an opportunity to discuss your career interests and seek mentoring and guidance. It is key to generating referrals.
- Apply on career portals: There are mixed responses to applying for jobs on career portals like Indeed.ca, workopolis, monster etc. Generally if the job you are targeting is extremely competitive, the Hiring Manager have enough referrals to not seriously consider online applications which lack a personal touch. But there is no need to ignore this platform.
- Reach out to employment agencies: There are a lot of employment agencies and with a very famous one being Acces Employment. They have various programs and are quite good in coaching people on how to present oneself and conduct job search. They also have a lot of networking events, which are quite helpful in meeting folks employed at Big five banks and other reputed employers. Read more here: Do you need a bridging program?
- Find your differentiator: You are more valued based on what value add you brought to your previous employers. It may be a good strategy to bring such differentiators out in your application. International employers on your resume also increases the credibility of your candidature. Demonstrate a cultural understanding of the organization that you are targeting and meeting a few employees certainly helps in building it.
Canadian culture is enthused with politeness and courtesy. Prospective employers carefully assess you for a good cultural fit apart from other competencies. It is good to understand the value of a "Thank you" and a "Sorry". People generally refrain from talking about controversial topics. Dress smartly as the culture here focuses a lot more on personal branding. People are extremely friendly and happy to initiate small talk. Talk to people who have spent some time in Canada and discover some wonderful cultural peculiarities.
Don't focus on what others say
There are a lot of self-propagating experts, like me, on various social platforms who tell you what to do. While it is good to listen to all but you are the best judge of your capabilities and personal circumstances. There can be no template to success. You have been smart enough to be invited to settle in another country. Do what it takes to make your dreams come true.
The objective of Experli is to share expert local insights to newcomers in order to support their settling needs. Like finding employment, a place to stay, fulfilling transportation needs etc. You may join us on our LinkedIn or Facebook groups and meet some newcomers like you.