While preparing to move, one of the priority action items on many newcomers’ to-do lists is to find a job for their new life in Canada. Most accelerate their job search efforts only after they physically move and settle in. However, did you know that you don’t have to wait until you land in Canada to begin your job search? You can start looking for jobs even before you arrive!
If you have your permanent resident visa, recruiters and hiring managers will be more than willing to engage in a conversation with you to see if you’re a good fit for a specific role. Having these discussions while you’re still in pre-arrival will provide the necessary momentum for your career to take-off once you actually make the move.
The process of finding a new job can be time-consuming. In this article, we will share a few ways through which you can fast-track your job search efforts in pre-arrival, thus helping you tap into potential opportunities from the get-go once you’re physically in Canada.
Here are 5 ways to speed up your job search as a newcomer, both before and after you arrive in Canada.
1. Add value to your resume while you wait
All occupations in Canada are classified into regulated and non-regulated occupations. Regulated occupations require you to have certification and/or a license to be able to work in that field. Most occupations related to healthcare, engineering, accounting, and law are regulated across Canada, and you will be required to get a certification or license to practice or work.
For certain occupations, you may be able to begin the certification process before you move. To find out if you need a certification or license, enter your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code and province/territory on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website OR visit the Occupation Trends page on the Canadian Job Bank website.
Tip: Be aware that certifications and licenses for certain occupations may differ by province and territory. Therefore, while researching, remember to look up information for the specific province you will be moving to.
Learning a new skill or strengthening existing skills
The job market in Canada can be competitive. So, it is worthwhile to explore various online courses to further strengthen your knowledge and in-demand skills. This will help you to be better prepared for the job market and stand out from the competition. Some online course providers you could refer to are Lynda, Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, Microsoft Technical Certifications, Microsoft Office Certifications, and Hubspot Academy.
Building your portfolio and online presence
Starting a blog is also a good way to showcase your communication skills, industry knowledge, and topics you’re passionate about to potential employers. Blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, and Wix let you start blogging for free.
For those in creative fields such as design or art, having a portfolio is generally a requirement. Building a digital portfolio will go a long way in attracting employer interest. Compiling portfolios, work samples, or starting a self-managed blog are excellent ways to stand out from the crowd. Some popular sites to build digital portfolios are Behance, Dribble, Adobe Portfolio, Crevado, Flickr, Coroflot, and PortfolioBox.
Taking up freelancing work
Another way to add value to your resume is to look for any freelancing or remote work/volunteering opportunities with Canadian employers – this will help you gather Canadian experience even before you move to Canada. Sites like UpWork, Fiverr, Jobboom, Jobillico, and Jobspresso are good places to start looking for these types of work arrangements.
Tip: Remember to update your LinkedIn profile as you complete online courses, obtain certifications, update your blog/portfolio, or complete any side projects.
2. Set up custom job alerts
Have a clear idea of the job positions that fit your experience and skills, and make a list of potential job titles; have it ready for reference as you begin your search online. Most job search websites have a feature to configure alerts and have them delivered to your email or mobile, or both. It’s worth investing this one-time effort in setting up the alerts so that you can save time by avoiding having to run a new search at each instance. With this, you can continue to receive job postings straight in your inbox.
Tip: Pay attention to search parameters while creating a job alert – location, alert frequency, and date posted are a few important ones that shouldn’t be missed.
3. Create a few different versions of your resume and cover letter
Having a Canadian-style resume and cover letter is a must. But don’t just focus on creating one version of it – instead, have a few different versions customized to the roles you intend to apply for. This will ensure you speed up the online application process.
Download our free Canadian resume and cover letter templates to speed up your job search.
4. Be active on LinkedIn and start networking
LinkedIn is a very popular job search tool in Canada – both for recruiters and job seekers. Therefore, keep your profile up-to-date and optimize it for your desired role or position. Also, engage with relevant and trending posts from your industry by liking, commenting, and sharing them. And follow companies you are interested in working at. Doing these activities will ensure you get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers who are looking for individuals with your skill set and experience.
Tip: For more helpful tips and advice to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile, and build your professional network strategically, read Top 10 tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile for job search in Canada.
Networking is a way of life in Canada and is crucial to finding a role in your field of work. To build your network and develop industry connections, LinkedIn is a good starting point. In the pre-COVID era, people usually networked over in-person coffee chats or informational interviews. Coffee chats can help you learn about the local job market and get accustomed to Canadian culture. Today, due to the pandemic, networking has gone virtual. So, as a newcomer looking to build your network, it’s easy and convenient to set up virtual coffee chats with industry professionals in Canada while you’re still in your home country. Just reach out with a compelling introductory message and ask meaningful questions during the meeting!
5. Find a mentor based in Canada
As a newcomer to Canada, finding a mentor (who may be a working professional or an industry leader in Canada) is a good way to learn how to adapt your skills and experience for the local job market and find relevant opportunities. A mentor or a career coach can be very beneficial in propelling your career forward. The process of finding a mentor can take a while, so it’s advisable to start early.
In pre-arrival, LinkedIn is a great tool to find a mentor. The website has a feature to set your profile as someone who’s seeking career advice. Once you do that, you will be able to view profiles of experienced professionals, experts, and industry leaders who are open and willing to provide career advice to others. You can view their profiles and easily connect with them online.
Another website you can explore is Ten Thousand Coffees. It lets you list your profile and browse a database of professionals who are open to networking or mentoring. You can reach out to individuals you’re interested in and connect with a coffee chat or an informational interview. The site is organized into “hubs” so you can find people by skill set, industry, university, college, and even company networks.
As you continue your job search preparation, the Canadian government’s Job Bank website is a good starting point as it provides job listings along with valuable job market trends and analysis. Other websites you can refer to include LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, Workopolis, CareerBuilder, and SimplyHired.
With many organizations moving to a remote work model, if you have a permanent resident visa but haven’t been able to move due to the pandemic, there is an increased likelihood that employers may want to interview you if they identify a good fit. So don’t hesitate to send in your job application and reach out to recruiters.