You’ve finally got your PR visa after having successfully uploaded your candidate profile at Express Entry and after having been selected based on your experience, education, language ability and other factors, and now you’ve recently landed in Canada to start your new life. You have even managed to rent an apartment in your new city and now there’s only one question on your mind.
How do I get a job?
The answer – or more accurately, the many answers – to that question actually start before you even land at your Port of Entry in Canada. So, let’s start there and find out how you should go about getting your first job as a new Express Entry arrival.
Before You Arrive – Preparing for Canada’s Job Market
This will not be you in Canada - most Canadians are not ranchers are farmers [Public Domain]
Before you even get on your flight to Canada, you must begin to do an extensive search of Canada’s job market and see how you can match your skills to opportunities in the Canadian labour market. This means several things:
Job Bank is a government of Canada website that matches people looking for jobs with available occupations across Canada. You should open an account at Job Bank and start browsing the site for jobs that match your skills. It’s a basic first step in getting to know the Canadian job market. As well, by having an account you have access to the Resume Builder tool as well as Job Match where you can post your Resume/CV and obtain job offers from employers. (Although you might want to wait until you have your PR visa and are about to come to Canada before you start actively looking for work.) Here’s how to join:
- Go to Job Bank for Job Seekers and click on the link at the bottom of the box that says “Don’t have an account? Sign up now!”
- Read the privacy statement and click on “I agree”.
- Enter the requested Login information and continue.
- A confirmation code will be emailed to the address you give when submitting your personal information. Check your inbox for the email and write down the confirmation code.
- Enter this code into the box (field) where indicated and continue.
- Complete the 5 Security Questions making sure you remember the answers to them (make sure they’re questions that are easy for you to remember but hard for someone else to remember) as you may be asked them in the future when you login to Job Bank.
- Enter your remaining personal information in the appropriate boxes and click on “I agree”.
PLEASE NOTE: Although you normally require a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to open an account at Job Bank, if you have already uploaded a profile via Express Entry and have an account there, you can use your Express Entry credentials to open an account at Job Bank. So once you have started the process of applying through Express Entry, you should open an account at Job Bank to begin to familiarize yourself with Canada’s job market, before coming to Canada and obtaining your SIN.
Since June 6, 2017, registration at Job Bank has been optional. There has been some criticism of Job Bank and Service Canada, which processes LMIAs, for raising the bar and making it harder and more time-consuming for employers to obtain an LMIA for a foreign skilled worker. This has meant that some employers no longer prioritize Job Bank and instead prefer other job search sites like Workopolis for example. Which leads us to the next thing you should do before even arriving in Canada, which is to search private job sites like those listed below:
This website is the Canadian version of a world-wide jobs board based in Austin Texas and founded in 2004. It’s one that’s highly rated and gives you detailed job offers across Canada. You can fine-tune your search to jobs in specific locations as well. Employers can post jobs for free or use the paid option to boost their company’s profile at the site. Any search for jobs should include this site as you will gain insight into what kinds of jobs related to your skills are available in cities and towns across the country.
This site is a home-grown Canadian job bank founded by The Globe & Mail in 1999. Yes, that’s Canada’s “national newspaper” which was the original owner. We say original because guess who snapped up Workopolis? Indeed recently purchased it but the site is still separate from Indeed’s site, and offers companies the ability to fine-tune their job offers by estimating how many applicants they want to sort through to find their ideal candidate. That means tight job descriptions in many cases. It may not provide your first job, but Workopolis is a great site to see what Canadian employers are looking for a little higher up the value chain from that entry-level employment you may be looking for. You can browse by job function or by region of Canada.
Say what? Yes, that’s e l u t and a. This is one cool site. It’s an aggregator that goes searching (or spidering, as they say) other job sites to help you find that perfect offer. Its website is wonderfully simple; two search fields (or boxes): one where you type in job title or functions, the other where you type in a city, province or postal code in Canada. Then you hit the green Search Jobs button and see what comes up. Sound familiar? It seems like Eluta want to be the Google of job search and their reputation is top-notch. But there’s just one problem with that strategy:
Google for Jobs:
Yikes. Google is now using specialized algorithms that employ AI and Machine Learning to integrate this component of their search engines with job boards and have the results of a job search pop up on your screen directly through searching in Google. Rather than using a site like Indeed or Eluta. However, this is still a recent roll out and we’ll see how much market-share Google ends up taking from more established job sites. Another factor is that employers have to modify the HTML code on their websites in order to have their job postings appear through Google for Jobs. It involves adding what’s called job-listing structured data to the jobs page at your company website. Any data scientists/analysts out there looking to come to Canada?
If you go ahead and type “google for jobs” in google.ca you’ll quickly notice that a lot of job sites are at the top of your search results. And they all promise the viewer they have the best jobs on … Google. Search is search and google is the main search platform by far, so clearly there is a symbiotic relationship here. In the case of Glassdoor, it’s not only a jobs board website but is also an employer review site. That means feedback about the people who are hiring, done by employees, which is a nice feature for potential job seekers to get a feel for the company they might be working for.
This truly is a beast of a website with an enormous quantity of resumes posted online but one that is fairly expensive for employers to post a job offer on. That means that you might not get as many smaller businesses posting on Monster as on a site like Indeed, for example. That means you’re more likely to find jobs posted by larger companies for key positions. That’s a good fit if you have an impressive resume and are looking to get hired in more managerial or upper level professional jobs where more experience and education is required. As well jobs are posted by city, so that can be helpful depending where you plan to settle in Canada. Its layout is similar to Eulta’s with a box for job title and one for location.
The next thing you can do before even arriving in Canada, is to work on creating a resume that fits the expectations of employers in Canada. You likely need to redesign the look and the content of your resume to make it more “Canadian”.
- Your resume needs to be short and to-the-point with headings and bullet points.
- It should always be customized for the particular job you are applying for. It may be a case of changing the focus to highlight the skills that you feel will best suit the job you are applying for. Or it could be a more dramatic redesign depending on the job.
- Highlight your education, professional experience, and other qualifications.
- You often have to use keywords depending on the job you are applying for. Overloading a resume with keywords will strike the HR person reviewing it as lacking credibility, but a few well-chosen ones can make a difference to someone who is often quickly skimming through a large number of resumes.
- Decide if it should be a Chronological Resume (listing your experiences in the order in which they occurred) or Functional Resume (listing your experiences according to function - what skills were used in previous jobs and what specific experiences you gained). If you have gaps in your work experience or are a new graduate with little experience the functional resume may be the better choice.
- It is important as well to know what to leave out. You don’t have to include information on:
- Nationality, culture etc.
- Health (unless you require special arrangements)
- Citizenship status.
- As well there are things that you may wish to leave out in order to avoid giving a bad impression such as:
- Problems at your previous job
- Large gaps in employment.
- Print out the resume to see how it looks, and then make any changes that you feel are necessary.
- Make sure when posting your resume online that it’s searchable. For example, on Monster.ca you have 3 levels of privacy:
- Private: the resume cannot be found in a search of Monster’s database and your contact information is not visible.
- Visible and Limited: the resume is searchable by anyone with access to the database, but contact information is not visible. Contact information is only visible by an employer when you apply for a job at their company.
- Visible: Anyone with access to the database can see your resume and your contact information.
There may be cases where you don’t want your current employer to know that you’re applying for another job, but in general almost any new arrival in Canada will want to get their contact information out to as many potential employers as possible.
Once You Arrive – Networking & the Hidden Job Market
When you’ve arrived in Canada, the next step you should take is to unlock what is called the Hidden Job Market. According to some estimates, over 60% of job offers in Canada are not done through public job offers but rather within business and social networks: corporate managers who know someone who knows someone who might be right for the job they need filled, for example. That means that to get the tip of your shoe in the door, you need to start developing networks as soon as you arrive in Canada. Or even beforehand if you already have family or friends in the country.
So, you first have to ask yourself: why are you doing this? Why are you networking? Aside from the obvious answer to get a job, the main focus of networking is to help make the task easier for the person who’s hiring or who may need someone at some point. Ask yourself this:
- Would you rather spend a week going through dozens if not hundreds of resumes hoping to find the right person for a job? OR
- Have that person introduce themselves, prove to you that they are exactly the person you need and solve your need for that job that has to be filled?
However, this means doing a lot of work before you start spreading the word and knocking on doors and emailing and using social media. You have to know:
- What job you’re looking for with all the specific details thought out: a project manager in industrial construction projects with a civil engineering degree and 5 years management experience; or a 3D developer with a tertiary degree in digital design/3D development and 2 years experience looking for an entry level job at a video game developer; or a senior welder with 4 years experience in pipelines looking for work in the energy industry; or a certified chef with 6 years experience looking to work in hotel chain.
- What companies can offer that sort of work, even if they aren’t looking to fill that job at the moment? That means lots of research online and in libraries before you start bothering people.
Once, and only once, you’ve planned out the job you need to find and have researched the companies and other organizations that might offer you that job, you then need to start taking active measures to open doors. These include:
- Be helpful. Always be thinking about ideas and suggestions to problems people in your field of work might be having. And that also means listening carefully when you manage to get people in the field to talk to you. Read industry websites, periodicals, blogs and try emailing the writer of the article/blog if you have any ideas or suggestions.
- Talk to people. Let them know you’re looking for a job. Let them know exactly what job you’re looking for. Include everyone from families to friends to local business owners that you feel might have useful contacts. If you’re also studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution, let your classmates and even your professors know. You can even use a calling card where you list your contact information on one side of the card and the job you’re looking for on the other side.
- You can even offer to write a free column in a magazine/periodical or blog that deals with your area of work interest.
- Go to Social Media sites of companies or organizations in your field. Comment on influencer posts (don’t know what an influencer is? Look it up and check them out on social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn) and start to work your way into the community through social media. Make sure your comments are well thought out and helpful and show you understand and follow trends in your field of work.
- Link your social media comments to your own blog where you comment on your field of interest. Make sure your blog is professional looking and not too fluffy and personal.
What you’re doing is building a profile – both online and offline – of yourself as a potential employee. Managers and HR people do often check social media to get a better idea of who they may be considering for a job. Combine your online resume, your social media posts, your blog, any emails or direct contacts with people in your industry and you now have a well-rounded profile that will help employers see you for who you are: the person they need to fill that job.