How to find a job in Canada and position yourself as an ideal candidateJuly 29, 20219 min read
Whether you’ve just received your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) or have recently moved to Canada, finding employment and getting back in your field of work is always top of mind for many. As you begin your job search in Canada, there are a few things that are must-haves:
- A Social Insurance Number (SIN) – A nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.
- Credential assessment for occupations such as teachers, accountants, medical professionals, engineers, social workers, etc. Credential assessment is a process through which you can get certified, registered, or licensed to practice your occupation in Canada.
- A Canadian-style resume and cover letter. Remember to customize your resume for each job application.
Tip: To learn about the scope of your role in Canada and get deeper insights into specific job markets such as Information Technology (IT), Finance, Sales and Marketing, Project Management, Healthcare, Human Resources (HR), and others, download Arrive’s free guide for the Canadian job market.
Once you’re equipped with these basic tools and resources, you’re ready to start looking for relevant opportunities. Here are a few ways you can get started with your job search in Canada.
8 ways to find a job in Canada
1. Browse job search websites
Most job seekers use job search websites as the starting point while looking for opportunities. In Canada, many locally-popular sites provide more than just job listings. You can get access to employment trends, salary trends, career-planning tools, and industry information. The Canadian government’s Job Bank website is one such exhaustive resource. It is a job-listing aggregator so it pulls listings from multiple job sites which makes it convenient to browse opportunities. You can also check the provincial and territorial websites for more newcomer employment resources.
What are the best job sites in Canada?
Some popular job search websites are: LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, Workopolis, CareerBuilder, and SimplyHired. If you’re looking for freelancing opportunities or remote work, sites like UpWork, Fiverr, Jobboom, Jobillico, and Jobspresso are good options.
2. Network and volunteer
One of the things to know as a job seeker is that Canada has a hidden job market. The hidden job market refers to positions that are filled without the employer advertising for it publicly. It is said that as much as 65-85 per cent of the jobs are not posted online. This is why networking is crucial to finding relevant opportunities – and LinkedIn is an excellent tool to get you started.
Resources to help you learn more about networking in Canada
- Top 10 tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile for job search in Canada
- How to build your network in Canada: The basics
- Where to build your network in Canada
- How to build your network: The coffee interview
You can use websites like Eventbrite and Meetup to locate industry-specific networking events near you. These events are excellent forums to find people from your field of work and strengthen your professional network.
Giving back to the community (or volunteering) is usually well-regarded and valued in Canadian society. It can help you gain Canadian experience and learn the local culture and serves as a good way to meet other people and build your network.
Tip: Volunteering can help you build your network and earn Canadian experience. To discover the importance of volunteering in Canada and learn how to find volunteering opportunities, read The benefits of volunteering as a newcomer in Canada.
3. Enrol with immigrant-serving organizations
In Canada, there are various government-funded organizations such as ACCES Employment and COSTI that help newcomers find employment. Some are province and city-specific, so you can look up the government website to find one closest to you. These organizations help newcomers with a wide range of online and in-person career services such as resume building, interview preparation, language assessment, and finding a job.
4. Attend job fairs
Many immigrant-serving organizations also organize job fairs. Some of these fairs are virtual and span a couple of days, while others are in-person events. Prepare for Canada, and JVS Toronto are organizations that do online job fairs periodically. One of the benefits of enrolling with a government-funded settlement organization is getting alerts for these job fairs. Following the social media channels for these organizations and browsing sites like Eventbrite and Meetup are also good ways to find upcoming job fairs.
5. Reach out to employment agencies and recruiters
There are many employment agencies and specialized recruiters that can help you find a job in your field in Canada. These agencies and recruiters match jobseekers to employer positions. You can search for recruiters from your industry on sites like LinkedIn.
Recruitment agencies in Canada may be nationally and/or internationally licensed. Those with a national license are only authorized to assist job seekers within Canada, while those with an international license can recruit overseas employees wanting to work in Canada.
Who are the top recruitment agencies in Canada?
Employment/recruitment/placement/staffing agencies cannot demand a fee from a jobseeker to help them find work. However, they can charge for additional services such as resume preparation, interview preparation, and job skills training.
Tip: Beware of any employment agencies or recruiters asking you to pay a fee in exchange for a job offer, especially if you haven’t moved to Canada yet. Learn more about employment scams in Canada in the article, Common scams that newcomers to Canada should know about.
6. Browse career sections on company websites
A good way to go about your job search is to make a list of organizations you would like to work at and then check the career sections on their respective websites. Most websites will let you send a job application for open positions directly through their site. Reach out to current or past employees through LinkedIn for a coffee chat to better understand the organizational structure and learn more about your desired role – this will also help you prepare for your interview. These conversations are also a great way to know about future job openings at the organization.
Tip: Check out the list of top 100 employers in Canada and find organizations from your industry.
7. Enrol in bridging programs
Bridging programs are designed for internationally-trained professionals and tradespeople who want to work in their field in Canada. They can help you get a licence or certification and integrate into the Canadian workplace. Some of the bridging programs’ services include courses, education and skills assessment, practical or workplace experience, exam preparation for licenses or certificates, language training, and action and learning plans to help you identify the training you may need.
These programs may be virtual, or in-person or a combination of both. Usually, classroom training or work experience is part of the program. Depending on the bridging program you choose, there may be a fee associated with it. Contact a newcomer settlement agency near you or check local university or college websites to learn more about enrolment processes and eligibility criteria for specific bridging programs.
8. Look for a mentor
Many Canadian professionals and industry leaders provide free advice and coaching to newcomers settling in Canada. This is a good way to learn how to adapt your skills and experience for the local job market and find relevant opportunities. You can look for a mentor through organizations like:
- Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
- Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC)
- Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)
- Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC)
- Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)
How to position yourself as an ideal candidate and get a job offer
The job market in Canada is competitive. Once you’ve identified a job position that’s a good fit for your skills and experience, it’s time to stand out from the crowd and market yourself as the ideal candidate. Positioning yourself as a strong candidate to an employer begins with building your personal brand. Here are a few other aspects to keep in mind as you prepare for a job application.
Be confident and tell your story
Practise responses to basic interview questions and have an elevator pitch so you’ll be more confident during the interview. Elevator pitches are a good way to introduce yourself and make an impression at the start of an interview. They can also serve as an answer to the “tell me about yourself” question. Think of your achievements and use specific examples or stories to demonstrate how you are a good fit for the role.
Job interview resources:
The interview process in Canada may seem nerve-wracking. Prepped is an excellent resource for you to practise your interview skills and confidently prepare for the interview process.
Customize your resume and add a cover letter
A generic resume and cover letter sent to multiple employers may not yield much success in your job search journey. Be sure to customize your resume to each position that you’re applying for by tailoring your work experience, skills, and any additional information to the role. The cover letter is a good way to justify any gaps in your resume or provide any additional info that your resume can’t. Adding a custom, well-written cover letter to your resume can make you stand out from the competition, thus improving your chances of being approached for an interview.
Research the company and the role
Be sure to research the company you are interviewing with – this will help you have more meaningful conversations with the employer and ask relevant questions. Look up the company mission, vision, some of its history, and market standing. Align your responses to the organization’s goals. Candid reviews on sites like Glassdoor can help you get insight into the operations and culture of the company. Get the names and titles of people who will be interviewing you and learn a bit about their background – this information can come in handy while making small talk with interviewers. Network with current or past employees through LinkedIn to learn more about the company and identify their needs – it will help you suggest potential solutions during the interview.
Polish your LinkedIn profile
In Canada, it is common for employers and recruiters to search your name online. Brush up and polish your LinkedIn profile so that it’s up-to-date with your experience and qualifications. Also, ensure your social media or blogs don’t raise any red flags about you or portray you in a negative light.
For virtual interviews: Check your connectivity and surrounding environment
With the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations have their employees working remotely. There is also a growing trend of candidates being interviewed virtually or over the phone. With this new setup, it is essential to showcase soft skills such as self-motivation and communication and demonstrate your comfort level using technology to connect. Be sure to check your phone reception, internet bandwidth and hardware or software requirements to ensure a smooth audio/video call for your interview. Avoid taking such calls from a coffee shop or a place where background noise levels may be high.
Be punctual and dress for the job you want
Whether it’s a virtual or an in-person interview, make sure you’re punctual and dress for the job you want. For in-person interviews, plan your journey beforehand and consider the traffic and weather conditions. With the dress code, you can never go wrong with formals – this applies to in-person as well as virtual interviews.
Follow-up after the interview
After the interview, take the time to send a thank you note to each of your interviewers. While this reflects your enthusiasm for the position, it also ensures the interviewer remembers you while deciding whom to hire.
Finding meaningful employment in Canada can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Preparation, persistence, determination, a positive attitude, and access to the right resources will help you find relevant opportunities.
Shikha Bhuchar Co-Founder, Arrive | Director, RBC Ventures
Shikha Bhuchar is a proactive, purpose-driven leader who is passionate about solving complex customer and community-based challenges.