Five Job Search Tips for Newcomers to Canada

posted on July 18, 2021

By Vancouver Public Library’s Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre @ New to BC | July 12, 2021

Finding meaningful employment is often a top priority for newcomers who have recently arrived in Canada. Though looking for a job can be challenging, there are many strategies, resources and community supports that can help newcomers find the job they want. Read on to discover some valuable tips that can help newcomers with their search for employment, care of Vancouver Public Library’s Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre.

1. Build your network

Approximately 70-80% of jobs aren’t advertised, so you’ll never see them posted online or elsewhere. To land an unadvertised job, you typically need to know the right person—a friend or acquaintance who is in a position to hire you or put in a good word for you. But how do you meet someone who can help you obtain an unadvertised job? The answer is networking.

Networking is the act of building relationships with people, usually with the intent of supporting your career goals. By networking with many people over a long period of time, you increase your chances of making a connection that may lead to the job you want. Even if you arrived in Canada with limited contacts, remember that friends, family, neighbours, classmates and anyone else you know are all part of your network.

There are many ways to further build your network—such as informational interviews, social media, networking events and more. For more information about networking strategies, check out the Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre’s Networking and the Hidden Job Market workshop, held every month for free, on Zoom.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering can be valuable for job seekers. It can help you develop new skills that can give you a competitive edge for employment. Additionally, volunteering can provide you with Canadian experience that you can put on your resume and talk about in a job interview. Moreover, volunteering is a proven strategy for building your professional network. Last, but not least, volunteering is simply a great way to help others in need.

Consider finding a volunteer role related to the kind of job you want. If you are interested in digital marketing, volunteer as a Social Media Coordinator; or if you’re interested in event planning, volunteer as an Event Organizer. To find the right volunteer opportunity for you, try Volunteer Connector or Charity Village, which you can use to search for volunteer opportunities related to your career goals. Also, Permanent Residents age 19+ should consider volunteering with NewToBC’s Library Champions Project to share their love for public libraries with others.

3. Explore alternative career options

There are many reasons why newcomers might consider transitioning to an alternative career path. For example, the labour market is always evolving, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in increased or decreased demand for certain careers. Also, newcomers sometimes find that obtaining a job in their pre-arrival profession requires additional training and accreditation, which might be another reason to consider alternative career options.

The Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre’s Alternative Careers guides can help newcomers discover alternative career options for regulated or high-barrier professions. Additionally, the Transferable Skills guide can help with identifying skills that can be applied in a number of different careers.

Also, check out The New Normal: Looking Ahead to Job Search in a Post-COVID Labour Market on July 15, held in partnership between the Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre and WorkBC. This event will share information about which career paths will be in demand over the coming months and provide tips on transitioning to an alternative career.

4. Produce a strong resume and cover letter

In most cases, a job application consists of a cover letter and resume (or CV). These documents can be tricky to produce, yet they are essential when searching for employment, since they make a case for why you’re a great fit for a particular job. The Resumes and Cover Letters section of Vancouver Public Library’s Career and Job Search Guide lists some free websites, digital resources and books that can help with developing a cover letter or resume that can win over employers. Additionally, LinkedIn Learning (which is free to access from home with a Vancouver Public Library card) has some excellent online courses about resumes and cover letters, including Writing a Resume, Resume Makeover, CV Success Master Class and more.

Don’t forget to customize your resume and cover letter for each position you’re applying for, and to continually update these documents as you gain new experience.

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