Job Hunting in Canada
First of all, you will need a visa if you wish to move to Canada for work. Some will travel to Canada with a Visit Visa and seek work whilst there, whilst others will apply for jobs from their home country and file for a work visa once a job offer has been secured.
The problem expats often stumble upon is the issue that overseas employees in Canada aren't allowed to affect job opportunities for Canadians.
Bear in mind that Canada is officially bilingual with English and French as its two national tongues. Companies in Quebec especially, being a Francophone city, will look to only hire those who are fluent in French. If you are fluent in both English and French, it will always work in your favour when applying for jobs in Canada. Time for some lessons?
|Financial and investment analysts
|Advertising, marketing and PR professionals
|IT systems analysts and consultants
|Software engineers and designers
|University professors and lecturers
Location, location, location
Whether to choose a Canadian town or city first or be led by the jobs market and apply all over the country is entirely down to you and your reasons for wishing to move to Canada. Are you planning to move for career progression above all, or is it as much about the place as the job for you? To help nudge you in the right direction, we can tell you that economic growth is primarily found in Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. Toronto and Montreal are global business and finance hubs, and Vancouver with its huge port is amongst North America’s major gateways for Pan-Pacific commerce and trade.
Search and Apply
There are several ways to job search in Canada and we recommend that you try all of them to maximise your chances in a potentially competitive field. Subscribing to online versions of local and national newspapers is a good start, as is signing up with recruitment websites – both local to your chosen city and national ones too. Refining your CV and making it Canada-friendly before putting it on job search sites is something you can get started on right now – see our handy template for getting yours up to Canadian employer standard here.
And here are some hard and fast Do’s and Don’ts from the expats who’ve been there and done it:
- Get applying for advertised job vacancies from overseas as soon as the idea of moving to Canada comes to mind
- Only apply for jobs within twelve weeks of their intended start date
- Send out prospective letters of application plus CV to every single potential employer and recruitment agency Canadian city you’ve chosen. Use YellowPages.ca for contact details
- Format your CV in the preferred Canadian style and write a short but clear covering letter which clearly indicates your current visa status
- Let employers know in your correspondence whether you are available for skype webcam or face-to-face interviews
- Have copies of residence visas and references printed off and available for interviewers to look at if they ask
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- Expect to secure a job at the same level or higher than you had overseas. You may lack Canadian local knowledge and may need to take a step back in order to advance later
- Demand the same salary or more than you had overseas. The cost of living and income tax rates are lower in Canada than some other western developed nations, so look at your NET INCOME not the gross amount
- Be discouraged if you don’t magically receive a job offer in the first week. It can take resident Canadians up to eight weeks or longer to find a new job. So expect it to take longer from overseas
Thankfully for those looking to find work abroad, networking is no longer something that can only be done in person. This is a great way to get updates on up and coming job opportunities in your preferred cities in Canada, and sector of expertise. Linkedin is the one place to start your networking campaign from home, so start by sending out messages to prospective Canadian employers, and invite them to connect through Linkedin. Treat your first contact as a speculative job application in itself, so give them a reason to accept your invitation and – even better – a reason to message you back. Join groups related to your profession based in Canada on Linkedin, get in on the discussions happening in their forums, and make sure your CV is Canada-friendly.
And since Canada has a positively booming expat community, opportunities for networking with other expats are easy to come by once you’re here if you decide to do things this way around. Expat clubs and associations are great starting point for expats from different communities settled in Canada – lots of these groups will provide excellent resources for job seekers like vacancy listings and invitations to local networking events. Expat social and business community forums on the Internet are also a good place to find out about jobs in Canada, so take a look at sites like InterNations and don’t forget to search for similar local groups on social networks like Facebook.
Are you already an expat living and working in Canada? Let us know how you went about securing your job – we’d love to know your top tips! Drop us a comment below.