5 Tips for Building your Career in Canada

I recently asked the Newcomer Collective community to share more about your immigration journey via this survey.  Now I’m here to share some thoughts on the TWO AREAS that a whopping 63% of you voted were the most challenging to deal with after moving abroad…

  1. Building your career in Canada
  2. Social life / meeting new people

No matter which country you move from or how much you prepare, we *all* struggle with these huge to-do’s. I mean… They suck.

The 1st has you feeling like you’re back to square one, forever fighting the “No Canadian Work Experience” battle, and no idea how to find a job you actually enjoy… 🤦‍♀️

The 2nd has you feeling… well… lonely 🤷‍♀️ You had good friends back home. You knew exactly who to turn to for support. Now, you feel like you’ll never fit in or find “your people”…

So without further or do, I’m jumping into CHALLENGE #1!

Here are some of my best lessons and tips for building a career in Canada as a newcomer:

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1.  Organize and prioritize

One of the harshest and most unexpected lessons that I learned pretty quickly after landing in Canada was that I wouldn’t be able to perfectly replicate my career that I had back in the UK. (You can listen to my full career story in this podcast episode.) You’ve moved to a brand-new country and, unfortunately, career setbacks are an inevitable part of the process. Accept it and start taking steps to rebuild it! Write out a list of everything you’d like in your “perfect” career and prioritize them. What would you be willing to temporarily let go of? For me, it was working in the city…

2.  It really is “who you know”

You’ve probably heard it before so brace yourself… In Canada, it is all about *networking*. An incredibly small percentage of jobs are actually posted online here. The rest are hired out by word of mouth and referrals alone.

— LinkedIn is your new best friend. Connect with people who work for your target companies, meaningfully engage with their posts, avoid generic “copy & paste” greeting messages, and post regularly about your industry whilst tagging all relevant people and companies. Reach out to connections with genuine interest and ask them for a phone call to discuss their career so far and share any advice.

— Now that in-person events are back, look up live networking events and grab your tickets!

— And don’t forget about the power of volunteering as a way to get your foot in the door, build your “Canadian” resume, and gain referrals.

3. Attract employers to you

With the work you’ll do in Step 2 on LinkedIn, you’ll already be starting to build your “personal brand” here in Canada. People will start to recognize your name online, and associate it with a certain industry or expertise. Why not take a huge leap out of your comfort zone and go one step further? Think about how else you can stand out in your desired career field… Is there a speaking opportunity you can volunteer for? Could you start a podcast or a blog like me? Is there a local club, group, or society that you could start? Maybe you could create a portfolio of your work and offer services for free to a select few? There are a ton of possibilities. Ask yourself how can you actively SHOWCASE what you have to offer.

Interested in booking a 1:1 strategy call with me to chat through some ideas? Send me an email: info@thenewcomercollective.com

4.  Canadian job application process

Even though “who you know” is important, you still need to make sure that you’re selling the best possible version of yourself when you do apply for jobs.

When I 1st arrived, I would send out the same generic resume and slightly tweaked cover letter to every job I was interested in… and then wonder why I never heard back.

Take some time to research the Canadian standards for a Resume, Cover Letter, and References. There are SO many resources online, including free webinars from organizations like Devant and Canada InfoNet.

It is ALL about tailoring each and every application… Pull out keywords that you see repeatedly throughout the job description and make sure you feature them throughout your documents. Explain WHY you want to work for this particular employer and show your passion for the role. Ensure that you’re showing RESULTS that you’ve achieved for past employers, not just listing the tasks you completed each day. Then, don’t forget to follow up by email and/or on LinkedIn after a few days!

5.  Be patient and don’t lose faith in yourself

Despite it feeling like your international experience is useless, don’t lose sight of your VALUE!!
The simple fact that you’ve moved to a new country shows *so* many desirable traits that employers are looking for. As soon as you get a job, your employer will instantly see how experienced and passionate you are. Once you’re in, more doors will open. You’ll get there…

Check out this sneak peek from the “Careers” section of the New to Canada Academy!

I’m joined by Career Strategist & Recruiter, Michelle, as we discuss the step-by-step hiring process in Canada, networking, personal branding, resume & LinkedIn tips, and beyond…

Learn more