A side note on “Canadian Experience”
You may have heard of the infamous “Canadian experience” which puts internationally-trained professionals in a Catch-22 situation: they can’t get a job in their profession because they don’t have “Canadian experience”, and they can’t get “Canadian experience” because no one will give them a job.
Actually, there is no in-depth understanding of the concept… when you dig deeper and ask questions about it to immigrants, Canadian-born employees, and even senior-level people, they give different explanations. For some, Canadian experience equates to actual work experience in Canada and/or having Canadian credentials, and for others, it’s more about the knowledge of the culture, customs, and nuances in Canada. Some people say it’s both!
While it can be hard to grasp the real meaning, when you’re a newly-landed immigrant, the best you could do is to find a mentor, do some volunteering, and conduct information interviews with people who have been in Canada for a long time. The people you meet through these activities will give you their insights and advice.
There might be some “blind spots” that you could work on. Proactively ask others for their feedback on how you communicate, especially if your style (i.e., wording, expressions, body language) is appropriate for the Canadian job market. Also ask them what you could do to understand the environment and profession better, and reflect on those conversations. There’s always something you can learn from others!
In 2019, we did a webinar about Debunking the Canadian Experience Myth which has received good reviews. There’s also a very informative video where Dr. Lionel Laroche discusses how to understand Canadian employers to improve your job search efforts.
This topic has been debated and discussed for several years. The government as well as many employers understand the situation have developed various initiatives to support the recruitment and retention of immigrants to Canada, such as internships, mentoring, job fairs focused on diversity, etc. Therefore, not everything is lost! Please keep high hopes that there is a good job for you!