How to get a marketing job in Canada as a newcomer
Marketing is a core function in most businesses in Canada, and marketing professionals are always in demand across industries. Whether you recently qualified as a marketer or have several years of marketing experience from your home country, moving to Canada can introduce you to a wide range of opportunities.
However, landing your first marketing job as a newcomer in Canada can be challenging. You’ll need to learn about the Canadian job market and start your job search before you arrive. In this article, we explore immigration programs marketing professionals can leverage to move to Canada, as well as tips on how to get a marketing job in Canada as a newcomer.
Canadian immigration programs for marketing professionals
As an internationally educated marketer, the Canadian job market offers excellent career opportunities and growth prospects. However, you can only work in Canada if you are a Canadian permanent resident, citizen, or a work permit holder. If you are a marketing professional planning to move to Canada, here are some immigration programs to explore:
The Express Entry system is a popular permanent residence (PR) program in Canada. It is a federal program that allows skilled individuals with the necessary education, experience, and language skills to work and settle in Canada. To apply for PR under Express Entry, you must create an Express Entry profile and provide information about your educational qualifications, work experience, language test scores, age, and more. Your profile’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score will determine your ranking in the candidate pool, and when your CRS score meets or exceeds the draw cut-off, you’ll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR.
As a marketing professional, you may be able to qualify for one of the two Express Entry programs described below:
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program
This Express Entry program aims at individuals with at least one year of continuous, paid foreign work experience in a managerial, professional or technical job (skill type 0, A, or B) in the last 10 years. As an experienced marketer, your previous experience will likely be in a skill type 0 or A job. You may be eligible for the FSW program if you have a high degree of education and a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7 in the reading, writing, listening and speaking sections of an approved English or French language test. Strong proficiency in either English or French will likely also be required for most marketing jobs in Canada.
Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
The Canadian Experience Class program aims at individuals with at least one year of paid Canadian work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 (previously skill type 0 or skill level A or B) job. If you’ve worked as a marketer in Canada on a valid work permit (such as an employer-specific work permit or Post-Graduation Work Permit), you may be eligible for CEC. To qualify, you need a minimum CLB score of 7 in all sections of an approved English or French language test.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)
PNP programs allow provinces and territories to invite newcomers with the skills, experience, and qualifications required to meet local labour market demands. All provinces and territories, except Quebec and Nunavut, have Provincial Nominee Program streams with different eligibility requirements and, in some cases, applicants with experience in specific NOC jobs may be invited to apply for PR.
The Atlantic Immigration Program is a federal immigration program that allows newcomers to settle as permanent residents in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador. To be eligible for AIP, you must have at least one year of work experience (foreign or Canadian) and a full-time permanent job offer from an Atlantic Canada employer. In addition, AIP applicants must meet the minimum education and language proficiency requirements.
Work permit: Moving to Canada temporarily as a marketing professional
Unless you’re a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, you’ll likely need a work permit to work in Canada. There are two types of work permits: open and employer-specific work permits. You must have a Canadian job offer to qualify for an employer-specific work permit and can only work for that particular employer for a predetermined period.
On the other hand, an open work permit allows you to work for any eligible employer in Canada, and you don’t need a job offer to apply. However, you can only qualify for an open work permit under specific situations, such as if you recently graduated from an eligible Canadian study program or if you’re the spouse or common-law partner of a foreign skilled worker or international student in Canada.
If you plan to settle in Canada permanently but don’t qualify for any PR programs, the work permit route can be an ideal option. Your Canadian work experience will make it easier to qualify for the CEC program and get you extra CRS points under the FSW and PNP programs.
Marketing jobs in Canada are categorized under two National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes: NOC 10022 (advertising, marketing, and public relations managers, previously NOC 0124) and NOC 11202 (professional occupations in advertising, marketing, and public relations, previously NOC 1123).
NOC 10022 covers TEER 0 jobs that include manager and director level roles with designations such as marketing manager or director, advertising manager or director, internal communications manager, public relations manager, and sales and marketing manager.
NOC 11202 covers TEER 1 jobs in marketing that typically require a university degree. Some example designations include marketing coordinator, marketing specialist, communications specialist, communications officer, advertising consultant, media coordinator, and public relations consultant.
How much do marketing professionals earn in Canada?
Salaries in the marketing field vary by seniority and job responsibilities. According to the government’s Job Bank, advertising, marketing, and public relations managers (NOC 10022, previously 0124) make between $24.04 and $67.31 per hour in Canada. For other professional occupations in advertising, marketing, and public relations (NOC 11202, previously 1123), hourly wages vary between $17.79 and $51.92.
According to Glassdoor estimates, the average base pay for marketing coordinators in Canada is $52,915 per year. Marketing specialists make an average of $69,547 per year, and marketing managers earn an average of $72,453 per year.
How to find marketing jobs in Canada as a newcomer
Landing your first job in Canada can take time, so ideally, you want to prepare for your job search and start actively applying before you arrive. Here are some tips to help you find your first marketing job in Canada:
Understand the job market
There’s no shortage of job opportunities in marketing and digital marketing in Canada. However, it’s important to understand the dynamics of the local job market in the city you wish to settle in, as well as your preferred industry. For instance, larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver usually have more job openings, but there will likely also be greater competition for jobs. If you’re looking for marketing jobs in the technology sector, you may want to explore opportunities in tech hubs such as Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, and Ottawa. Doing your research in advance can help significantly reduce your job search period.
Build skills Canadian employers are looking for
Even with several years of international marketing experience, you may find gaps in your skill set that can negatively impact your employability in Canada. First, you must understand what skills organizations are looking for in potential employees by researching job postings for employment opportunities you’re interested in and speaking to professionals in the industry.
When you identify skills that you need to build or refine, such as proficiency in software like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Adobe Photoshop, social media marketing tools, or collaboration tools, you can spend time familiarizing yourself with them. Platforms such as Coursera, EdX and Udemy offer certifications in many such tools that you can even showcase on LinkedIn.
Fluency in English or French as well as strong communication skills are usually a requirement for marketing positions, whether or not specifically listed in the job description. Even if you are fluent in these languages, you may still need to learn local Canadian culture and vocabulary in order to be able to be effective in a marketing role in Canada.
Create a marketing portfolio
A portfolio provides potential employers with visual proof of your prior work experience. As a marketer, you can create a digital portfolio featuring your most impressive ad or email campaigns, case studies, or blog content and include a link to it in your resume. An impressive portfolio complements your resume and cover letter, showing samples of the skills and achievements listed on your resume. If your portfolio is public, or if you’ve included it in your LinkedIn profile, it can also attract the attention of recruiters looking to hire marketing professionals.
Craft an impressive Canadian-style marketing resume
The Canadian-style resume may be different from the resumes you used in your home country. Three types of resume formats are commonly used in Canada—reverse chronological, functional, and hybrid. The ideal resume format for your job application will depend on several factors, including how much work experience you have, whether you have gaps in your employment, or if you’re moving to a different industry.
So what should you include in a marketing resume? Start your resume with a professional summary highlighting some of your key achievements, your skills and strengths. The work experience section should include all the relevant jobs you held in the past. Avoid focusing too much on job responsibilities and showcase what you accomplished in each role instead. If you don’t have any paid Canadian work experience, you can also include volunteer work.
The key skills section should list relevant transferable skills you leveraged in previous jobs, learned in university, or picked up through upskilling certifications or training. For instance, if you’re applying for a content marketing role, you should highlight your proficiency with content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or analytics tools like Google Analytics. Review the job description carefully and include relevant keywords in the experience and skills sections to make your resume ATS-friendly.
Include a section that highlights your academic credentials and their Canadian equivalency. Finally, don’t forget to include your contact information, LinkedIn profile, and a link to your digital portfolio or blog.
Build your professional network in Canada
In Canada, networking is crucial not just for your job search but also for advancing your marketing career. Your professional network can be a valuable resource when you’re learning about the Canadian job market, industry trends, or skills employers look for in marketing professionals.
As a newcomer, you need to build your Canadian network from scratch. However, you can start connecting with marketing professionals on LinkedIn and set up coffee chats or informational interviews with them before moving to Canada. Once you build meaningful connections, you can leverage them to learn about job openings and hiring practices in various organizations, get referrals, or feedback on your resume.
Know where to look for marketing jobs
When you’re ready to start actively applying for jobs, it’s important to know where to look for open positions. Online job listing websites like Glassdoor, Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Grabjobs, are great places to start your job search. If you have a list of employers you want to target, keep track of the career pages on their websites to learn about job openings, and follow them on LinkedIn. You may also want to register with employment agencies such as Robert Half or Randstad Canada.
A large percentage of job openings in Canada aren’t publicly advertised and are instead filled through recruiters’ networks. Your professional network plays a crucial role in introducing you to some of these opportunities, and if you’ve built meaningful relationships with people in your network, you may even be able to request referrals for jobs in their organizations.
Enrol in a marketing bridging program
Bridging programs are designed to help newcomers to Canada bridge gaps in their skill set and prepare for the Canadian job market. Provincial governments often subsidize bridging programs, making it easier for newcomers to upgrade their skills and access to sector-specific employment services. In Ontario, for instance, Mennonite New Life Centre offers a six-month Bridge to Employment in Media and Communications program, and ACCES Employment offers a six-week long Digital Marketing Connections bridging program for newcomers.
Work on your language skills
Marketing and sales positions often require fluency in English or French. If your language skills need work, practice your listening and speaking skills at home or with friends. You can also sign up for free English as a second language (ESL) classes for newcomers offered by provincial governments in Canada or register for language classes at your local public library.
Prepare for your interviews
For many newcomers, interviews are the hardest, most stressful part of the hiring process. Although you can’t know what questions the interviewers will ask, preparing for commonly asked interview questions can give you the confidence you need to excel. Learn about the STAR method (Situation Task Action Result) to answer interview questions in a way that showcases the marketing skills and expertise you bring to the table. At the end of the interview, most employers will ask if you have any questions for them, so make sure you have some intelligent, well-researched questions to ask the interviewer.
Make sure you’re well-versed with the contents of your resume and can corroborate how you applied skills using specific examples. Keep your portfolio handy, and be prepared to answer questions about how you executed your work. If you’re applying to senior-level marketing roles, prepare a sample 30-60-90 day marketing plan for the company using publicly available information to really impress.
Marketing interview questions to expect
In marketing interviews, some common questions you may be asked include:
What do you know about our target audience?
What marketing tools are you familiar with?
How do you measure the impact of marketing campaigns?
Which marketing channels did you use in your last role and why?
Imagine a situation where the company is launching a new product/service. How would you promote it?
Imagine you had to promote a certain product or service, but were given no budget: what would you do?
Tell me about a recent marketing trend that you liked. How do you stay up-to-date on trends?
Provide an example of a marketing/advertising campaign that resonated with you and why?
Tell me about a professional achievement that you’re proud of.
What is the recruitment process for marketing jobs in Canada?
As a newcomer, the job search process can often be stressful, and understanding how the recruitment process works can help you feel confident and better prepared. In Canada, most employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to shortlist resumes that best fit the job description. Your resume will only reach a human recruiter or hiring manager if it passes the ATS. You can make your resume ATS-friendly by including keywords from the job description wherever applicable and using a standard Canadian resume template.
Once your resume is shortlisted, many employers conduct a screening interview over a phone or video call to verify your background and assess your interest in the role. This is usually followed by two or three interview rounds, which allow the employer to get a better picture of your technical skills, experience and achievements. Culture fit interviews are common as well, as they help recruiters gauge how well you’ll fit in their team. For some roles, such as content marketing or social media marketing, you may also be asked to create a sample blog or campaign to showcase your skills.
Most Canadian employers conduct comprehensive background checks before hiring a new employee. This may include reaching out to your former employers, verifying your educational credentials and, in some cases, even your credit history. After you’ve cleared this final step, the employer will give you a job offer, and you may have an opportunity to negotiate your salary before accepting it.
Should you move to Canada as a marketing professional?
As a marketer with international qualifications and experience, Canada offers the opportunity to advance your career, be part of a global work environment, and earn more money. Although moving to a new country is never easy, for marketing professionals, the benefits may outweigh the challenges. The job market for marketing is ever-expanding and you may even land a job in Canada before you arrive.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.
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