By Gabriella Rodrigues
In 2021, Canada exceeded its immigration target by welcoming more than 405,000 new permanent residents. The number is a record; the country has only surpassed 400,000 newcomers in 1913, a year before the First World War broke out. The good news is that IRCC, the department of the Government of Canada responsible for matters related to immigrants, refugees and Canadian citizenship, has raised the target for the next couple of years. Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 aims to welcome over 1,3 million new permanent residents.
“Immigration has helped shape Canada into the country it is today. From farming and fishing to manufacturing, healthcare and the transportation sector, Canada relies on immigrants. We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there. Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy”, explains the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser.
Due to the reasons mentioned by the Minister and the ongoing labour market shortage of skilled workers in different sectors, the country has been investing a large sum of money in order to attract and retain people who are willing to be part of its workforce. It goes without saying that this is great news for those who want to start a new life in a country that is known for having a good job market, caring about human rights and being committed to social justice.
Although this is thrilling, it is important to bear in mind that immigrating requires some effort and caution, since some job offers may be a scam. Therefore, it is crucial to deep dive into the details of the job market of the country you intend to move to, and also check out if the position offered is real. In case the immigrant hires a consultant or lawyer to help in the immigration process, it is necessary to make sure the representative is legally authorized to do this job through the Government of Canada’s website.
In the following interview, Daniel Castro Santos, Latincouver’s Recruitment Coordinator, points out the peculiarities of the Canadian job market, the path to succeed in job interviews, and other precious tips to make this transition smoother.
What can a newcomer expect from the current Canadian job market?
The situation depends on which visa the immigrant has. If the newcomer has an open work permit, it’s easier, since this visa allows having a full-time job. The only challenge within this case is the lack of Canadian experience. However, if the newcomer has a student visa, it works differently. A full-time student (9 credits) can work only 20 hours per week outside the campus, apart from having a job on the campus, if it’s her or his wish. But it’s important to notice that finding a part-time job in the person’s professional field is not an easy task, because most part-time jobs are operational. By operational jobs, I mean roles in cleaning, reception, restaurant, store and other related teams. The good news regarding these jobs is that there are currently many positions available in Canada due to a lack of manpower, a scenario that offers good opportunities to newcomers.
As you mentioned, having Canadian experience is essential when applying for jobs, mainly those that require a degree. How can a newcomer have a Canadian experience?
Since most employers require Canadian experience, the newcomer must be willing to take a step back. In other words, the person should be open to accepting a job that is not connected to their field of work or academic training. It’s one step back that will open many doors in the future.
In addition, many Canadian companies, from different sectors, also hire volunteers, which is also a great option for those who are looking for Canadian experience. Unlike Latin America and other countries, volunteer work is highly valued in Canada. The ideal situation is to get volunteer work that allows you to use your professional experience, so you can enrich your resume and find a job in your field.
Last but not least, when applying for a job, candidates must emphasize previous work experiences in their countries. It’s not uncommon to see recruiters mention that, since it’s an experience in another country, many candidates end up diminishing it, which affects the chance of getting the job.
If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity at Latincouver, you can stay tuned to our social media or send an e-mail over to email@example.com
How can a newcomer search for job positions in Canada?
Here, as in Latin America and other countries, many platforms help candidates in this search. LinkedIn works pretty well here. Another good and unknown one for many newcomers is Indeed. This is also a website with job listings from different sectors and companies. If you are looking for an operational job, like the ones I mentioned, Craigslist has many job opportunities.
Apart from these platforms, it’s also important to build a network, since professional connections may indicate you to a job position. In this sense, volunteer work is always a good option, as you get to know people that can help you in the future.
Another interesting option for newcomers looking for operational jobs is walking around the city with a copy of the resume. Many restaurants and stores place job advertisements in front of their doors, asking candidates to go in and talk to the manager.
When applying for a job in Canada, a candidate must have a resume and a cover letter. Could you explain what both should contain?
Regarding the resume, newcomers should, ideally, hire a consulting company that will guide and help them write it. But, in general lines, the format of the document is similar to the one we are used to. It’s important to not write long texts, organize the information in bullet points, and use keywords when writing your abilities and skills to draw the recruiter’s attention. In case you have a volunteer job and it’s connected to your work field, don’t forget to mention it in your professional experience. This will show that you are enhancing your professional knowledge.
The cover letter is a demand from most recruiters in Canada and it must appear before the resume since it’s an introduction of your background. When writing it, search about the company, its values and the job role you are applying for. It’s indispensable to show how your values are linked to the company’s values and that you have the abilities that they are looking for. To that end, try to mention tasks that you developed using phrases and words that are on the job description and the company’s profile. Also, be careful to not copy-paste the information from your resume. The cover letter is an opportunity to show that your experience is aligned with the company’s values and needs.
In case the candidate is invited to participate in the selective process, how is the preparation? What should this person do throughout the process?
The first thing is researching about the company to understand its services or products and values. While being interviewed, stick to the questions and give straight answers. Regarding the questions, recruiters in Canada always make behavioural questions. If you are applying for a managerial position, for instance, they will probably ask you something related to your leadership skills, as in “tell me about a conflict that you had with someone from your team and how you solved the situation”. The answer must describe the situation, what you did to tackle it and what you learned from it from a positive perspective. Recruiters will build your profile based on these questions and answers and, based on it, decide whether you are a good fit for the role or not.
I strongly suggest getting prepared for these behavioural questions, because it’s not easy to remember past situations, and our brains tend to focus on negative outcomes – and remember, it’s important to emphasize the positive ones. To that end, make research on the most common behavioural questions on Google, answer and study them before the interview, so you can answer all of them in the best possible way.
At the end of the interview, make questions to the recruiter about the company, the job position, or even the recruiter’s experience in that place. To know more about the work environment, benefits and management, I recommend accessing the website Glassdoor. There you will find testimonials from former and current employees that will help you elaborate questions. Lastly, when you finish the interview, send a follow-up e-mail thanking your recruiter for the opportunity and asking more questions, in case you have them.
Is there any other tip you can give to newcomers regarding the Canadian job market?
Another piece of advice for those who have just landed in Canada is trying to find an association connected to your professional field, which is not the same as a union. Most of these associations promote events and advertise job opportunities in the sector. Apart from it, associations are also a good place to build a network, which is always helpful when looking for a job, as I mentioned before.
For students, I recommend looking for the university’s department focused on careers. Professionals from this department usually help students to write the cover letter and the resume and also improve their profile on LinkedIn. Many universities also offer career fairs and hiring events, so their students can connect with local employers.