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10 Unique Job Search Tips for Newcomers To Canada

Statistic show that the average newcomer to Canada is unemployed for 18 weeks.

That’s a long time to be jobless in a new country. On average, that means you’ve just lost around C$18K in lost salary, based on the average salary in Canada.

The reason this happens is because newcomers to Canada are not educated on the right ways to job search effectively in Canada. They just get the same age-old advice repeated to them over and over again:

  • “Customize your resumé”
  • “Write a cover letter”
  • “Make sure you hit all the right keywords”
  • “Research the company before going for the interview”.

Heard it a million times!

Which means that if you’re doing it, so are all the other candidates applying for the same job.

So it’s time for some fresh material that’s really going to help you stand out from the rest of the competition. And that’s what this post is about.

Here are 10 unique things you can do to find a job in Canada, that other new immigrants to Canada do not do, because there is nobody out there that teaches this stuff.

#1 Record an elevator pitch video on your mobile phone

As a new immigrant, employers will have an unconscious bias against your communication skills, which is a soft skill you’d find as a requirement in almost every job description.

If you have a video elevator pitch, your communication skills and vocabulary will be exposed, and squash any negative biases or assumptions the employer or recruiter may have made about you.

If you have trouble memorizing words then use a teleprompter app like Video Teleprompter Premium.

Create a great 30–45 second elevator pitch, load it up on YouTube, and add it to your LinkedIn profile. Link to it from your emails to hiring managers and recruiters as well.

Research how to do good elevator pitches. Don’t assume you know how.

#2 Anglicize your name

This is a sensitive topic, but worth mentioning as well. The University of Toronto and Ryerson University did a study that found job seekers with non-anglicized names received 20–40 percent less callbacks, compared to their Anglo-named counterparts with the exact same qualifications.

This is less of a problem in large corporate organizations in Canada where diversity and inclusion is more actively practiced.

So you may want to consider going from Rajeevan to Reggie during your job search. It won’t matter to employers that you’re using a pseudo business name.

Or if you have an Anglo middle name, go with that.

#3 Grow you network to 25

As a new immigrant you don’t have a large network. And that’s a problem.

Because according to Business Council of Canada that surveyed 90 large sector Canadian employers, 90% of them source candidates from referrals.

According to author Orville Pierson in his book “Highly Effective Job Search” it takes, on average, 25 network connections to get the job you want.

These 25 people are not recruiters. They are people who have the power and authority to hire you.

So make a list of 10–15 companies you want to target in Canada, and used a LinkedIn filtered search by company and job title, and the premium account to InMail these people directly.

Don’t ask for jobs.

Just stay in touch and offer value to them. If they accept your connection request you don’t need to sacrifice an InMail credit.

If they respond to your InMail, you get your credit back.

Think of the popular marketing concept of “The Rule of 7”. Someone needs to see an ad 7 times before they consider buying your brand.

If you must measure the progress of your job search, let it not be the the number of jobs you apply for online everyday. Let it be about sending 175 (25×7) outreach messages to your network during a sensible course of time.

“Hellos” and “Hope you are doing well” messages don’t count. It must be something that is of value to the recipient.

#4 Write cover letters the right way

Recruiters and managers will tell you they ignore reading cover letters.

That’s because everyone usually sucks at writing cover letters.

According to Job Search expert Liz Ryan from Human Workplace, a cover letter should read like a business pain letter.

The focus should be about what business pain you believe your future manager is feeling right now, and how you’ve solved that pain in the past.

Every job exists because there is a pain or problem that needs fixing.

Here is how to write a cover letter the write way that speaks to the problem that needs fixing.

#5 Post your resumé and cover letter directly to hiring managers

The postal service is alive and well in Canada, and often underestimated.

The benefit of using it is, unlike email, your letters will never be ignored.

Head to Shopper’s Drug Mart, and invest in stamps, envelopes.

Then those 25 contacts you discovered? Post them your resumé and cover letter.

That’s the easy part.

If you want to make good impressions, you have to take the trouble to research about the company and person, and create a customized cover letter to each of them.

I know it takes a lot of effort. Well, how badly do you want that first job in Canada?

#6 Read this book “20 Minute Networking Meeting” by Nathan Perez

Many immigrants don’t have a network in Canada.

But they make so many mistakes when trying to build that network, even though they’ve been network building their whole lives in their home country.

And the reason is because they have never networked with a purpose.

This short book gives you the details on how to network with purpose and achieve the ultimate goal of meeting with professional Canadians in person.

#7 Search YouTube for Dr. Lionel Laroche

You need to understand how Canadian work culture is different from your home country.

You can do it in two ways – go to a boring lecture about it. Or watch it on YouTube and be entertained and educated at the same time.

I assume you prefer option 2.

Communication, leadership, feedback, meetings, punctuality are just some of the areas in which Canada is different to the rest of the world, especially when compared to Asia and the middle east.

Dr. Lionel Laroche specializes in Canadian Work culture and how it relates to immigrants.

Watch his videos and reflect on how it relates back to how you present yourself in the interview.

His talks are both enlightening and entertaining.

#8 Make sure your resumé has these words in it

According to a study done by Career Builder, these are the most popular words to use on a resumé. Make sure you use them in your experience section:

  1. Achieved
  2. Improved
  3. Trained/Mentored
  4. Managed
  5. Created
  6. Resolved
  7. Volunteered
  8. Influenced
  9. Increased/Decreased
  10. Ideas

#9 Read as many job descriptions for your target job title as you can

By default, every new immigrant that I’ve worked with makes the mistake of brain dumping their past experiences on to their resumé.

Remember it’s not about what you did in the past.

It’s about what your future employer needs and how you translate your past experience to those needs.

Read job descriptions for your target job title. As many as you can. And when you’re done, read some more.

Notice trends in requirements and qualifications, industry language in Canadian terms and any gaps you find.

Make sure your resumé speaks to those trends.

Fill those gaps if you have them.

And after doing this research, then decide if you need more education. Don’t waste your time and money pursuing more education just because you want to keep yourself busy and feel productive.

Education is not valued in North America as much as it is in Asia.

If the job description does not mention a Master’s degree or a certification for your target job title, don’t bother getting one if your sole purpose of pursuing it is to improve your chances of getting your first job.

#10 Gain Canadian Experience the RIGHT way

Many will tell you to volunteer your time.

That’s the wrong advice!

If you’re looking for a job in accounting, hiring managers are not going to care that you’ve gotten “volunteer experience” packaging food with meals on wheels or greeting visitor and handing out fliers at some random organization.

If you want to volunteer to give back to the community, good for you. Give your time generously anywhere.

But if your agenda is to get a full-time job, that’s different story altogether.

Gaining Canadian experience the right way is a vast topic on it’s own, which is why I dedicated this entire blog post on how to do that: 5 Easy Tips on How To Get Canadian Experience

There is no success without execution

The 10 tips above work, but it only works to those who execute it.

Are you about to close this blog and continue surfing the internet and forget about it in 5 seconds?

Or are you serious about your career in Canada, and actually going to put it into practice?

I hope you are as serious about your career as I was when I wrote this blog. As a newcomer to Canada myself, I want to see you succeed.

“I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.” – Morpheus, The Matrix

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