How To Get a Job Offer Before Moving To Canada

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Dear Connel & John,

I have seen your posts as well as watching the clips that you have posted online on your website. They have been most beneficial for me as I prepare to relocate to Canada. Thank you for the insights and for sharing your knowledge.

They have been most beneficial for me as I prepare to relocate to Canada. 

Is it possible secure a job offer before moving to Canada? I am seeking to obtain an employer offer before I relocate. Please advise.

Best Regards, Josephine.

Dear Josephine,

Thank you following us and for your appreciation of our posts. Yours is a question we get asked a lot by people who are planning to relocate from different parts of the world by email and in person.

I understand first hand what it’s like to relocate to Canada, as I did so myself in 2015, not too long ago. I had the security of a job for 12 years in Dubai, and as a family man, the thought of being unemployed after my move to Canada scared the hell out of me.

So let’s talk about how you can secure a job offer before landing.

Let me first be very clear – securing a job offer before landing in Canada does not mean you completely bypass the immigration process. There is a misleading clause in the immigration process. It states that if you get a job offer from a Canadian employer, you get 600 points – you’re in!

The reality however is very different. Employers don’t care about the immigration process. All they care about is hiring someone to solve a problem in the least painful way possible. For an employer to hire a foreign professional from overseas, there is too much administrative burdens (including cost) that is pushed on them. They don’t want to be bothered by this, when there is enough local talent available.

In all my years of following this subject closely, I have only come across one individual who managed to get a job from overseas. He was in IT, and he had a very specific skillset that the employer in Canada was just not able to find locally.

So this post is not about encouraging you to skip the formal immigration process. This post is assuming you have applied for PR/Work permit, got it, and are ready to make the move, legally eligible to work in Canada.

The Transfer

A family friend of mine, Matthew, who just moved to Canada a couple of months ago, had a job offer from JP Morgan Canada before he landed. He worked for JP Morgan in Dubai and already applied for his Canadian permanent residency, and announced to his company a year in advance that he was moving.

Fortunately, his company was supportive, and an opening at the Canadian branch became available around the time he was moving. During this time, he reached out to the hiring managers directly and shared his interest in the position and his travel dates, and got the job.

Of course, not everyone can be so lucky, but if you currently work in a company that has a branch in Canada, let your management know about your plans well in advance. You never know.

This is, of course assuming that this announcement will not hurt you in your current job. Not all bosses are supportive.

Connect with your industry

Seek Canadian influencers in your industry and connect with them early on to establish a relationship with them. Canada is a massive country, and Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal and many other cities are thriving business hubs.

There is a community for pretty much any industry you could be a part of. Just Google it out. If you’re a mechanical engineer, for example, just Google “Mechanical Engineer community in Toronto”. Instead of “community”, you can even try “association”.

In this example, the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering comes up. Browse the website and search for any people you find there. And connect with them on LinkedIn and start building a relationship with them.

Find an online mentor

LinkedIn is not the only tool to establish a network.

You can connect with mentors in your industry online as well. I personally used Canada Infonet and connected with a project manager in the banking sector who reviewed my resume, taught me about Canadian culture and gave me job search advice and tips. We still keep in touch over LinkedIn.

We are also mentors on Everwise, where we have phone and Skype conversations with job seekers and new graduates looking for advice in their careers.

Finally, if you have the money, you can also try Purple Squirrel (note this is.io and not to be confused with.ca). The purpose of this site is to give you a 30-minute interview with someone who is working in a company that you have targeted to work for.

Note that these are US based companies only, but if you’re targeting a U.S. based company that has a presence in Canada, this is a beneficial but expensive option.

OK, I have these connections. Now what?

Networking is about establishing long term relationships.

It is not, and I repeat again, it is not about asking people for jobs, phone calls and coffee meetings.

Imagine yourself in the other person’s position, and you meet a stranger for the first time and he or she asks you for a favour.

Would you go out of your way to help? If you’re a kind soul, perhaps you would, but most people ask themselves “Why should I? What’s in it for me? I don’t have time!”

Once you have these connections, help them and offer them value first:

  • Spread their posts on social media.
  • Provide your advice on common industry topics of interest.
  • Share online articles with them and provide your feedback and thoughts.
  • If they are part of a community or association, offer to extend any help you can remotely.
  • Introduce meaningful connection to your network online

A lot of people ask me “Connel, I can’t help my network. What can I possible offer them?”

You are more helpful to your network than you think. The list above is just a start.

The more research you do about your connections, the more ways you will find of being helpful to them.

Once you’ve provided enough of value, then, and only then, can you start making requests of coffee meetings and Skype calls. You’ll find your response rate sky rocket after that.

This sounds like a lot of effort. Can’t I just apply for jobs at online job boards?

I can almost guarantee that this will get you ZERO results. This methodology barely works for people already living in Canada.

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s position. Let’s say she happens to be looking at the resumes received from 10 applicants who are all qualified for the position on paper. 9 of them live in Canada, 1 lives in India. Do you think she would consider the person in India?

It is well known that majority of the job market is hidden, and it’s being filled through referrals and internal hires, like my friend from JP Morgan.

In my professional experience, whenever I hear a hiring manager announce a new job available, the first question they ask the team is “Do you know anyone?”

“Yes, I know Josephine. I’ve been in touch with her for the last 6 months, and she’s really interested in this industry and pretty smart. She’ll be in Canada in 2 weeks. We should definitely call her in for an interview.” – And that’s where you want to be!

So when do I start?


Moving to Canada used to take a couple of years to process, but with the new Express Entry system, it happens a lot quicker. Remember, networking is about establishing long term relationships. You won’t win over any hearts in a month.

I don’t know when you will be moving to Canada Josephine, but if you’re an advanced planner, take online networking as seriously as you can to get that security of a job you’re looking for.

Good Luck!

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One Response

  1. Connel, the article is well written and deserves a read by every prospective immgrant. I personally found ‘Find an online mentor’ part the best, wherein I got to know about CanadaInfoNet’s 10-week mentorship program. Will make use of it.

    Thanks Connel for sharing this.

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