Looking for your first job in Canada? 5 tips to make it easier.
If you’re a new Canadian, it’s a good time to look for your first job here in Canada: With many fields experiencing ongoing talent shortages, and more Canadian organizations establishing diversity hiring mandates, employers are increasingly interested in candidates from ‘diverse’ groups.
But job-hunting standards can vary from country to country. So if you’re currently undertaking your first job search in Canada, here are a few tips to make it easier.
1. Identify yourself as a diverse candidate
There is increasing pressure on organizations to demonstrate they have a ‘diverse’ workforce. This means that even companies without diversity hiring mandates are on the lookout for candidates from diverse groups – identifying yourself as a diverse candidate can ensure that your resume/application gets a second look from recruiters.
Including a line or two in your covering email, referencing the fact that you’ve “recently moved to Canada from [your country]” or your education at “[your home country’s] university” is a good way to let employers know that you’re a diverse candidate.
2. Do some research
Many Canadian employers have well-established diversity hiring programs and are actively recruiting employees within specific communities. A little research can help you identify companies who are diversity-friendly. A good place to start? Canada’s Top Diversity Employers list.
3. Use your network
Networking is valuable for all job-seekers; networking with people from your home country who are already well-established in Canada can be especially valuable for new Canadians. They know what it’s like to have to start fresh in a new country, so they’re often passionate about helping you get your foot in the door. Joining an ‘ex-pats’ group is a great way to kick-start your new Canadian network.
4. Make sure your resume/application is ‘North American standard’
As we’ve discussed before, North American resume conventions are a little different from those in other countries. Making sure your resume conforms to North American standards sends a positive message: “I may be new to this job market, but I’ve done my homework and can hit the ground running.”
5. Get a native English speaker to proof your application
One of the biggest concerns potential employers have about new Canadians is their language skills, so a resume/covering email with poor or awkward spelling, grammar or phrasing can be a red flag. Before you start sending out resumes, have a native English (or French, if you’re in Quebec) speaker proofread them.
If you are fluently bilingual (English + other languages), it’s a good idea to highlight this in your cover letter, too: As Canada becomes increasingly diverse, more organizations are actively looking for people who can interact with their stakeholders in a variety of languages outside of English and French.
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