Finding a job in Canada as a newcomer can come with obstacles, but persistence and a strategic approach can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Canada’s GDP has grown over the last few years, and many individuals are leaving the workforce, meaning the economy has a need for skilled workers across a variety of industries.
Government-funded organizations and pre-arrival services can help newcomers get work permits, find job-specific training and get foreign qualifications accredited in Canada.
Whether you’re considering moving to Canada or have recently moved, finding employment to progress your career and generate income is a major priority.
Applicants may face a few obstacles, such as low demand for certain jobs or limited Canadian work experience. However, with the right strategy, finding a job in Canada can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling career. Keep reading to learn how to find a job in Canada.
Canadian Job Demands
Much of Canada’s workforce is made up of immigrants, which is no surprise when looking at recent economic shifts. The baby boomer generation is gradually retiring as Canada’s GDP continues to grow. In 2022, Canada’s overall unemployment rate1 was 5.3%, and the unemployment rate for immigrants2 was 7.5%, as of 2021.
Job demand is expected to grow, with many full-time jobs available in services and goods-producing jobs. Canada is also in need of educated and skilled workers to take on unfulfilled jobs in STEM fields and healthcare. Other industries with high hiring demands include:
- Oil and gas
- Real estate
There’s a lot to know before committing to a job in Canada. The coastal cities of British Columbia offer a much different lifestyle than Ontario’s metropolitan areas or the prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Aside from scenery and lifestyle, each area in Canada offers its own kind of job market.
If you have a specialized skill set, research where those skills fit best. Tech workers are in high demand in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, while oil and gas workers are needed across Alberta.
Funded by the Government of Canada, pre-arrival services help newcomers prepare to work in Canada. Organizations, such as the Active Engagement and Integration Project6 (AEIP), offer global online services for general employment and can help you write your resume and get your credentials recognized in Canada.
Other government-funded immigrant-serving organizations are specific to provinces and cities. They can help you look for a job, polish your resume or register for job-specific language training. These services are delivered both online and in person to make them easily accessible to everyone.
Industry-specific organizations also provide support to help newcomers find roles in their preferred industry. For example, BCAA Integrating Newcomers helps newcomers with construction backgrounds to find job leads and get accreditation advice.
Mentors and Immigrant-Serving Organizations
Consider finding a professional mentor in your industry to get advice and coaching on finding a job in Canada. Mentors can help you tailor your skills and experience to the local job market and find well-aligned job opportunities. As industry leaders, these mentors will have good connections to other hiring employers or work opportunities.
Some government-funded organizations help newcomers find mentors, but you can also find mentors by chatting on local job forums or hiring a career coach.
Check Your Accreditations
Even if you’ve completed extensive education, certain professions require your foreign qualifications to be accredited in Canada. This often applies to professions, such as healthcare, social work and teaching. Plan ahead, as getting accredited can take some time.
Bridging programs are available and designed for internationally trained professionals. These programs include the courses, assessments, practical experience and exam preparation needed to get the necessary accreditations for your field. Bridging programs may be delivered as a combination of virtual or in-person training or experience and are usually offered by local colleges and universities.
Polish Your CV and Cover Letter
It’s worth updating your CV and cover letter whenever you’re applying for a new job, especially if you’re applying for jobs in a new country and culture. Ensure your resume conforms to Canadian standards and includes important details, such as your contact information, professional website or portfolio, skills and competencies, academic achievements and work history.
Polishing your resume is only the first step. Rather than sending off a generic CV to every employer and job posting, update your CV to align with each role you apply to. Aligning your CV shows employers you’re interested in their specific job and match their unique qualification requirements.
Strong references help employers learn more about you and your background. Ask your previous employers or peers to provide references pertaining to your job-related skills, competencies and history. If time differences or other complications make it difficult for employers to schedule a phone call, ask your references for a letter of reference to keep on hand.
Volunteering is a great way to gain Canadian work experience and develop valuable references. Consider volunteering within your career field or in community centers or other non-profit organizations.
Job Search Sites
Job search websites, such as Monster,10 Indeed,11 and Glassdoor,12 are a common starting point when seeking employment. These sites allow you to browse jobs according to specific criteria and apply with your CV and other details saved on your account. Businesses and municipal and provincial governments offer their own job search sites for internal opportunities, which you can usually find by accessing the careers section of the website.
LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for job seekers, and recruiters and employment agencies often use LinkedIn to find qualified job candidates. Your LinkedIn profile should include most of the details listed on your CV, but you can also use it to reach out to and attract other professionals in your industry.
Networking and Social Media
Although job search sites and career pages are helpful resources, many job opportunities come through networking connections. To develop connections with people in your industry, check out job fairs, workshops and other networking events. You might meet your next employer or someone who can direct you to a hiring employer.
Social media is also a great networking tool. Use it to follow up with professionals you’ve met at networking events or to reach out to professionals or employers that you’re interested in learning more about.
Interviews and Follow Up
Job interviews and follow-ups are your opportunity to show that you’re an ideal candidate. While finding a job in a new country can be intimidating, it’s crucial to show that you’re confident in your personal brand and qualifications. Practice talking about your professional history and achievements with mentors or friends to help boost your confidence during real interviews.
After the interview, follow up with recruiters or employers with a thank you and an invitation to meet again. This shows your enthusiasm for the role and reinforces the impression you established during the interview.
Depending on what kind of work you’re planning to do in Canada, you may need a work permit.13 If you do, determine whether you need an open work permit or an employer-specific work permit,14 and complete an eligibility check15 to see which programs you can apply for.
Generally, you’ll need to have a job offer from an eligible Canadian employer before you can apply for a work permit. If you’re already living in Canada, you may qualify for a special work permit.
Once you’ve applied for your chosen program, an immigration officer will consider your application. Processing times can take anywhere from a few weeks to up to a year, depending on applicant volume.
Research Newcomer Experiences
Finding a job and working in Canada may come with a culture shock. You’ll have to get acquainted with different workplace expectations, get to know new co-workers and possibly deal with language barriers.
Look for social media pages, online magazines16 or podcasts that discuss the experience of finding a job and living in Canada. Researching these stories can provide you with valuable advice related to your job search while making the experience feel less isolating.
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