As we flip the calendar to a new year, we take a look back at some of the key takeaways from our webinars in 2018. There are ten big lessons that you can take into the coming year that will serve you well in your job search. We reviewed these lessons in a recent webinar, and also spoke about employment trends that will affect your career success heading into 2019.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 lessons learned this year to fuel your career in Canada:
1. Do Your Research
Before you arrive in Canada, take time to research your employment prospects, the city and province you are destined for, and how your skills compare to those working in the field in Canada. Research may reveal that your skills are in high demand in western Canada, but demand is low in Ontario where you were planning to settle. Know where the employers are that are prime for hiring someone with your skills and experience.
Consider the following questions to inform your decisions regarding your life and career in Canada:
- In which city are my skills and experience most in demand?
- What lifestyle will I enjoy: urban, suburban, or rural?
- What are the common job titles for my skill set? Do these titles differ from my current title?
- What is the typical salary range for someone with my level of experience?
- Are there new skills I will need to acquire to succeed in my field in Canada?
2. Use Free Tools
There are plenty of free tools available online to conduct labour market research. Start with the Job Bank, a government of Canada resource with plenty of information. You can explore by field and job title and find information, such as:
- Employment prospects by province/territory and region
- Salary ranges
- Regulation and licensing
- Education requirements
- Common titles
Statistics Canada releases monthly information on employment trends across Canada. This data will give you an idea of the diminishing and emerging trends. It will also help you understand the trends affecting the Canadian labour market so you can track these issues going forward.
3. Read the Job Description
Hiring managers take great care in crafting job descriptions. When applying to a role, take the time to thoroughly understand the requirements, qualifications, and skills before you submit your application. There is a wealth of information in a job description; review each component carefully and incorporate them into your résumé. This will increase the likelihood that your application will make it through the screening stage and that you will be granted the opportunity to impress the hiring manager during an in-person interview.
4. Understand the Recruitment Process
Once you submit your application, it is helpful to understand the stages of the hiring process so you can set expectations as you await a response, and know exactly whom to contact as you move forward. Human resources (HR) and the hiring manager have different roles in the recruitment process: HR helps the hiring manager determine needs for the role, sources and screens applicants, and supports a final decision; the hiring manager identifies the talent needed, works with HR to draft a job description, conducts interviews and assessments, and serves as the final decision maker.
Making a hiring decision takes time and resources; try to be patient during the hiring process.
5. Use Your Credential Evaluation
Your credential evaluation is a valuable tool on your journey to career success in Canada. It serves as verifiable proof to prospective employers that you are qualified for the role, ensuring there is no doubt of your suitability. Be sure to include the equivalency statement (found on your evaluation report) under the education section of your résumé. When you are called for an in-person interview, share your credential evaluation report with the employer so they can verify your academic qualifications.
6. Make a Plan
As the vision of your future career in Canada becomes clearer, set goals for how you are going to achieve each as you move toward your ultimate goal. Your goals should be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Use the acronym “SMART” to remember these five goal guidelines.
It may take time for you to reach your goal of finding successful employment in your field. Making a plan and sticking to it will give you direction as you navigate this period of transition in your life.
7. Build Your Network
A professional network is an extremely valuable commodity in the Canadian professional environment. Your network of contacts provides social capital and connections to opportunities. A referral from your network is more likely to lead to an interview (and hire) than submitting online applications and cold calling. To build a network, pay close attention to your communication skills, including how you convey your message, your body language, and your interaction with others. As you enter the Canadian professional realm, take note of the habits of those with large social networks, such as:
- Language use
- Non-verbal cues
- Eye contact
- Conversational topics
Taking cues from those who excel at networking will help you build your own professional community. Remember that networking is a give-and-take that consists of sharing your expertise and drawing on others’.
8. Find Your Professional Community
To begin building your network, you must find your professional community in Canada. There are plenty of associations—largely organized by location and profession—that offer networking events, as well as professional development and volunteering opportunities so that you can meet others in your field.
The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) facilitates Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs), a group of professional associations designed to connect newcomers with one another.
9. Explore Life Beyond the Big Three Cities
The majority of newcomers to Canada settle in five major cities: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. There is a big draw to urban centres, which boast greater diversity, existing support networks, a plethora of newcomer supports, and perhaps family or friends in the area. However, there are a range of opportunities in small and medium cities that can offer newcomers rewarding careers and meaningful lives.
When choosing a place to live, analyze what kind of life you seek in Canada. Establishing a vision for your life will help you decide the best place for you.
10. Seek Help
There are a number of free programs and resources available to newcomers to Canada. Programs vary—some are focused on employment exclusively, while others coordinate mentorship relationships, or help to build your communication skills. Visit the Government of Canada’s website to find newcomer services in your area. Getting support can sometimes expedite the time between arriving in Canada and finding your first job, particularly if you begin preparing during the pre-arrival phase.
Projections for 2019
In 2019, the job market will inch closer to estimations of what the future of work will be. We will see the rise of “human skills,” such as creativity, leadership, critical thinking, and analysis and evaluation. As the nature of work shifts, you will see more roles that require individuals to work with and alongside technology. Individuals will up-skill to pivot to in-demand professions that align with their existing skills.
Watch our webinar for more on trends to watch in 2019 and lessons learned in 2018.