Immigrating to Canada? Make these 6 Career Moves Before You Arrive
1. Start networking with Professionals in your field Before you arrive
It’s important to start researching and networking in your desired field before you arrive in Canada. A lot of professionals make the mistake of waiting until they arrive before doing this – but it’s a costly mistake. For one, you will be delaying much of what you need to do get a foot in the door in your chosen career. Secondly, information is king. You need to network to find out what it’s really like to work in your chosen field. Networking will provide you with insights on what you need to do both before you arrive and after.
Aspire-Canada has lots of great career resources and mentors that you can ask for advice. Look through the list of mentors and find a mentor in your field.
So set up a profile on Aspire-Canada and start networking!
2. Get your professional credentials assessed
One of the barriers immigrants face in the Canadian job market is foreign credential recognition. When you apply for jobs employers want to know that you meet the educational requirements necessary for the job. However, a lot of immigrants wait until they arrive in Canada to get their professional credentials assessed by professional regulatory bodies in Canada. The problem with this approach is once again the time delay. It’s important to get approved copies of all university transcripts and other proof of credentials before you arrive. You can then send an email to the governing body in Canada and request an assessment to see if your credentials are considered equal. If not, you may need to register (after you arrive) for additional courses to gain Canadian equivalency.
To get a license, after arriving in Canada you must establish a connection with your professional association (regulatory body) and find out how to start. At most regulatory body’s sites on the Internet you will find a section for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP), which describes in detail the process of licensing of foreign professionals and what documents you should submit to begin the process.
3. Start thinking of ways in which your experience will be beneficial to Canadian Employers and articulate it on your resume
A recent survey done on behalf of the Association of Universities Colleges Canada (AUCC) states that a majority of employers who hire new recruits with international and intercultural skills do so because these employees have improved the competitiveness of their business. These same employers also value experiences in other parts of Canada as an asset in the hiring process. In fact, Seventy-two percent of the employers that hire recruits with international and intercultural experiences believe that these graduates perform better in their job than do others without these experiences. In this age of high-speed connectivity and internationalization, today’s employers are actively seeking out candidates who have a global edge. Being able to articulate your international experience and its impact on your development may be key in separating your from other potential candidates. How can you then use your international experience as an asset? The ability to work on a multi-cultural team is one such example. The ability to solve complex problems and to demonstrate this on your resume will be an asset. So too is making the case that you are highly adaptable –all skills and traits possessed by those with global experience.
4. Start preparing your Resume for the Canadian job market
So while there’s technically no such thing as a “Canadian-style resume” – there are some new and learned cultural norms when it comes on to applying for jobs in the Canadian job market. For one, employers usually spend only about 30 seconds skimming through a resume so keep it short – most experts say two pages maximum. That means you have to tailor it to the job you are applying for – it’s not supposed to be an autobiography. It’s supposed to show how you meet the criteria for the specific job posting. So that leads me to the next point – do a separate resume for each job you are applying for. Yes I know it’s more work, but it has almost become a new norm in the Canadian job search process – so most people are doing it. That means that if you don’t – you won’t stand out. Formatting is critical so make sure yours is well formatted. Use keywords that appear in the job posting and relate them back to your own experience in order to fully demonstrate that you meet the criteria. Also highlight any Canadian equivalencies with your education credentials.
5. Make an effort to improve your English or French if neither one is your first language
Ok so I know this one sounds obvious but let’s face it – communication skills are critical to success in the job market. Solid writing and communication skills are an asset to any employer and will shine through on your resume and cover letter – not to mention your job interview. I see many employers now asking for writing samples for jobs that require lots of writing. Prepare some of these ahead of time and be prepared to share some of your best work. Don’t be caught off guard when these things are asked for and then be unprepared. A writing sample on a Canadian topic or issue is even better – it will show that you’ve done some research and produced work on issues critical to Canada.