Hello! We know that this post is a few months overdue and we apologize for that. It’s just that things have gotten really really busy and fast-paced the last few months and it was hard to find time to sit down and write.
However, after finishing up some morning chores on this Saturday morning, we find ourselves with a bit of time to spare to hopefully finish this post for everyone.
In our last post, we gave you guys an introduction to finding work as an immigrant in Canada. Basically, we took a leap of faith and moved from PEI to British Columbia for work and in this post, we’ll talk more in detail about how we were able to successfully land jobs here in Canada.
Below are five important things that you should keep in mind when finding work as an immigrant in Canada.
If you do a quick search on the internet, you will probably find too many resume formats out there for Canada. It was honestly a bit overwhelming, so we just trusted the resume format provided to us by the good folks over at the Multicultural Helping House in their orientation session during the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS).
When writing your resume, the most important thing you should do is to make sure that you are tailoring it for the position you are applying for. As much as possible, use the exact same words that the job posting used. This is because there are some companies that use software to go through resumes and the software will pick up keywords that will probably already be on the job posting. Don’t just write one resume and use the same one for every job application. Take the time to make each resume unique to every job you are applying to. It will be better to send one good application every 10 minutes than three generic ones.
The main difference I’ve seen between Canadian and Philippine resumes is that the Canadian job market tries to make it a point that things like gender, age, ethnicity, and appearance do not factor in one’s application. Remember. You are not supposed to put those details on your resume and an employer is also not supposed to ask you these questions during the interview (more on interviews in a future post). Of course, it doesn’t mean that hiring discrimination doesn’t happen here… like anywhere in the world, it does happen. But, your skills and experiences will be more of the focus here and that your personal details should not influence a hiring decision.
We could’ve lumped cover letter and resume together, but it is our belief that the cover letter actually plays a bigger role than the resume… especially when finding work as an immigrant in Canada. Again, we used the format that Multicultural Helping House sent after the PDOS, but like what we mentioned in the resume section, please remember that it is very, very important to make the cover letter your own. Relate it to the job and don’t be afraid to talk about what experiences you’ve had in your professional and personal life that make you a good candidate. Remember, the goal of sending out a cover letter and resume is to get the interview, not the job. Chances are, all the resumes will probably look alike and might even have the same qualifications and it will be up to your cover letter to win the heart of the hiring manager/employer.
Just think about it like one of those menus in fancy restaurants. Your resume is the name of the food, while your cover letter is the description of that food.
The name of the dish will catch your interest, but it’s the description of that dish that will convince you to order it.
Friends and Family
If you’re lucky enough to have family and/or friends with you in Canada, then don’t be afraid to ask. We understand that sometimes we want to show people that we are doing alright by ourselves, but in this case, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Chances are, these people were once immigrants too and that they do know how difficult finding work as an immigrant in Canada is. Just ask, you’ll never know. For us, N was able to land an interview through a family connection.
Apply, apply, apply
You will probably have quite the amount of time in your hands while looking for a job. So, if you stumble upon a job that you think you can do. Apply. If you see a job that you think you might be able to do. Apply. If there’s a job that you think you can do with a little bit of training. Apply. As long as you think that there’s even a small chance of you getting the job, apply. Apply. Apply.
At this point, there’s nothing to lose, right? Just make sure that you’re sending out quality resumes and cover letters.
Think Out of the Box
Now this one’s tricky. Basically, what we want to say here is to not just look at your professional and technical experiences and knowledge when looking for a job. Your personal skills and interests might also help you in the job hunt. Remember, Canada is very different from the Philippines and there are industries and opportunities here that do not exist in the Philippines (and vice-versa of course). A perfect example to use here in the context of the city of Vancouver would be the gaming (video, not casino) and the beer industry. These two industries are thriving in the city and you will find many small to medium-sized companies in that field. You could be an accountant with a passion for video games or beer, so use that to create a really good cover letter and with a technically sound resume, then you might just be what the company is looking for. This is exactly how V was able to get an interview and eventually a job offer.
In this day and age of the internet, there may still be merit in personal appearances and submission of resumes. We’ve also noticed that some establishments here in Canada don’t post their openings online. Instead, they just have signs outside their shops showing job openings or just inviting people to apply. If you’re really targeting a specific company or job, then there’s nothing wrong with giving your application that personal touch and delivering it yourself.
The tips above might not be comprehensive, but there’s really a lot of material already online about this topic and we really didn’t want to just repeat what has already been said. If you’ve noticed, we didn’t really talk about one of the more…. (for lack of a better term) controversial topics when it comes to finding work as an immigrant in Canada… “Canadian Work Experience”. We’ve decided to create a separate post on this and it will be our next one (hopefully it won’t be two months again before that post shows up) 😛