Searching for jobs
There are many ways of looking for jobs. For example, you can:
- Visit websites of companies or organizations that hire people in your field of work and look for a list of available positions.
- Look through job search websites that have large databases of available jobs. Service Canada’s www.jobbank.gc.ca has a large job database as well as links to websites with other job databases.
- Look at the job advertisements in the classified section of your local newspaper. • Develop a job search plan with the help of a settlement worker at a local immigrant-serving organization.
- Attend a “job fair” taking place in your city or town. A job fair is a forum where employers and people looking for jobs can meet and discuss opportunities.
- Use the services of an “employment agency” that searches for jobs on your behalf (for lists, consult the Yellow Pages or search the Internet). For lists of government employment services and training assistance, go to www.jobsetc.gc.ca, call or visit a Service Canada Centre near you (for telephone numbers and locations, consult the Blue Pages or visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca).
- Ask family, friends and acquaintances if they know about available positions. Keep in mind that many jobs are not advertised. This means that the only way to learn about them is by speaking to people you know. You can also contact employers directly to ask if they are hiring.
Applying for jobs
Once you have identified a position that interests you, you will generally need to apply by sending a résumé (also known as a “curriculum vitae” or a C.V.) and a cover letter. A résumé is a formal list of your qualifications and work experience. A cover letter is a short description of what makes you a strong candidate for that position. You can find information on writing a résumé and cover letter, as well as preparing for an interview, by consulting www.workingincanada.gc.ca and www.jobsetc.gc.ca or by visiting a local immigrant-serving organization.
Based on your résumé and cover letter, the employer will decide whether to invite you for a job interview. A job interview gives the employer a chance to meet you and ask questions to see if you are right for the position. The interviewer may ask questions about how you dealt with specific work situations in the past. To prepare for these questions, think about examples of how you solved problems, achieved results and worked with others in your previous jobs. In addition to asking about your qualifications, an interview is an opportunity for employers to see how you communicate and present yourself (these are known as soft skills).
Keep in mind that the interview is also a chance for you to learn more about the position and to decide whether you are interested in working for that organization. However, you should do some research in advance, so that you can demonstrate knowledge of the organization during your interview.
At any point in the application process, you may be asked to prove that you have the qualifications listed in your résumé. The employer may also request references from people who can discuss your suitability as an employee (such as a former boss, professor or instructor). References can be given in the form of a written letter or in a telephone conversation, so be prepared to provide telephone numbers for people that can give you a reference.
After the process is complete, you will receive a formal job offer if the employer is interested in hiring you. It is common for people to send many résumés and cover letters to different places before being invited for a job interview. It may take many attempts before you get an actual job offer. Keep applying and do not get discouraged.
There are many books and guides available on all aspects of searching and applying for jobs in Canada. Visit a bookstore or library in your city or town and look around the career section to see if there are any books that might be useful to you.
Volunteering, internships and bridging to work programs
Having Canadian work experience is often an advantage when looking for a job in Canada. One way of gaining this experience is by volunteering or accepting an internship in your field of work. Volunteering and internships can help you:
- Gain Canadian work experience to put on your résumé;
- Develop your knowledge of the Canadian workplace;
- Improve your English or French; and
- Meet people and develop a network of contacts that can help you find work opportunities or provide you with references.
Volunteering is also an excellent way to get involved in your new community and help people in need. For more information on volunteering, visit www.volunteer.ca.
In many communities, there are also employment bridging programs for professionals in certain sectors. These programs help newcomers gain Canadian work experience, learn workplace English or French and understand workplace culture. They also help newcomers understand how to get their credentials recognized and get professional licences. Ask about these programs at an immigrant-serving organization or search for them online.
Many established Canadian professionals and business people are eager to provide free advice and coaching to newcomers getting settled in Canada. Such mentorship opportunities can be found through organizations like:
- Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)
- Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment (ERIE)
- Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS)
Source: Welcome to Canada: What you should know
www.cic.gc.ca, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2013.