In PART 1 we described some basic aspects of getting acquainted with the Canadian culture and job market.
In this portion we’ll dig a little deeper on different things you can do to get a job in Canada.
There’s no magic formula, but these actions will definitely help!
General advice on job hunting
- Recognize that looking for a job takes a lot of hard work… looking for a job is a full-time job. It takes time and therefore patience.
- Develop a clear idea of what your dream job is and what you really want to achieve professionally.
- What are your values?
- Who are you called to be?
- Where do you see yourself in 2 to 5 years?
- Formulate a strategic plan towards finding that job: a clear objective, your weekly/daily goals, actions, and milestones.
- Set aside time each day to conduct your job search. Schedule time on your calendar and adhere to it.
- Invest in the tools necessary for your job search, including technology (cell phone, computer with video capability, printer, scanner) and business apparel.
- Have an accountability partner to help you stay motivated and on track.
- Get a mentor. Most newcomer service agencies can match you with a mentor in your field. Someone you meet for coffee can become your mentor too.
- Network proactively daily, both online and offline.
- Identify the people you want to meet in a strategic way
- Have a list of 10-15 companies you want to work for
- On LinkedIn, look for people who are working at those companies
- Contact them and try to arrange an informational interview
- Never ask for a job in your first message or contact point. Attempt about 5-7 contact points, including phone calls and face-to-face meetings, before asking for a job.
- Join and actively participate or volunteer in professional associations.
- Attend events in your city. Check Eventbrite or MeetUp to find relevant events in your city.
- Talk to everyone in a friendly manner when you have a chance: your neighbours, at a store, when lining up to get coffee, during your kids’ school events, etc. You never know who will be the person who can refer you to a great job.
- If you’re studying or have studied in Canada, keep in touch with your classmates.
- Have your elevator pitch ready.
- Be genuine, authentic, transparent, vulnerable, conversational, and fully present when you meet someone.
- Remember to follow up and follow through.
- Always send a written thank you note to anyone who helps you.
Professional branding on LinkedIn
- Have a professional headshot and complete all sections of your LinkedIn profile.
- Develop a solid content strategy and posting schedule.
- Show through your posts that you are an informed leader who knows what’s going on within your specific industry & profession.
- Share articles that will likely be interesting to those in your industry.
- Join LinkedIn groups and engage in discussions in healthy ways.
- Avoid arguing, complaining, being defensive or trying to be right all the time.
- Comment meaningfully on others’ posts, expressing your thoughts and ideas.
- Write long-form articles that stay associated with your profile.
- Ask your former colleagues to endorse you and write recommendations.
Resume, cover letter and job applications
- Update your resume and consider working with a resume writer who knows the Canadian market.
- Highlight accomplishments with measurable results.
- Do not include personal information or a photo on your resume.
- Always customize your cover letter and resume to the job you’re applying to. Use the key words found in the job postings.
- Use all leading job boards plus smaller, regional and industry-specific job boards as well as aggregator sites like Indeed.
- Never rely solely on online applications: contact people at the companies you applied to.
- Try to get on the radar of reputable recruiters in your industry, as you never know when they might have a suitable opportunity.
- Pick up the phone and make direct contact with hiring managers and recruiters.
- Prepare thoroughly for interviews. Read up on the company, study the job posting, learn whatever you can about the people that shall interview you, and refresh your knowledge of any technical terms used in the job and its industry.
- Know your strengths, areas for improvement, and unique value proposition.
- Know your stories: examples of your work performance in STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format.
- Rehearse saying your stories in a concise and assertive manner.
- Follow up after interviews with professional and well-written thank-you notes, showcasing what you can do to help each company reach their goals.
- Getting an offer can be exciting, but that doesn’t mean you have to act right away. No matter how generous the offer seems, ask for time to review it carefully.
- Consider whether a counter offer is appropriate. Talk to more experienced people who can provide objective advice (your mentor, a long-term resident, an employment counselor.)
- When negotiating, list your accomplishments and experience as part of a compelling case that shows you’re worth more than the offer on the table. Don’t be arrogant; just clearly demonstrate how you would contribute value to the organization.
- Even if the answer is ‘no,’ the organization may be open to including bonuses or additional paid vacation if you make a strong case about your value.
- Salary is not the only piece of the compensation package you need to consider. As part of your total job offer, you can weigh these non-monetary benefits: health & dental benefits, flexible schedules, ability to work from home, paid vacation, vehicle expenses, and other perks such as group discounts.
- Get used to rejections. This is harsh to say, but unless you have ultra-specialized skills that only a few people have, being rejected is the norm rather than the exception. The job market is very competitive.
- It’s normal to feel disappointed; nobody likes rejections, but DO NOT take it personally!
- Think this way: the job may not have been for you. Maybe you dodged a horrible manager, poor work-life balance, or a potential roadblock to something better.
- There are many elements outside your control. Maybe the person who got the position was an internal candidate, a former intern, the VP’s nephew, or someone who has been in the pipeline for months. Maybe someone high up decided to cut the budget and not hire anyone. Or they changed the requirements and will re-post the job at a later date.
- Remember that you are valuable! You made it to the interview phase, likely beating out hundreds of applicants! That’s an achievement by itself!
- Look for the formula that worked. What process did you use to land an interview? Was it a cold email to the hiring manager, connections made via networking, an approachable recruiter, or a lead from an acquaintance? If it worked, do it again!
- Keep in touch with the hiring manager and recruiter.
- If the interview went well, connect with them on LinkedIn.
- Send them a note from time to time on LinkedIn or via email, e.g. when you see an article about their company, or they post something interesting.
- Contact them again when other roles open up. They already know you, you’re now in the pipeline.
- Contact the competition. If these guys liked you enough to interview you, competitors should also be attracted to you.
What other ideas have worked for you? Please let us know in the comments!